DES PLAINES, Ill.—There's an old saying: Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because reputation is what others think you are.
Either way, Steve Anton doesn't have to be too concerned.
One of the many differentiating factors in Rubber & Plastics News naming Anton—president of Rahco Rubber Inc.—the 2016 Rubber Industry Executive of the Year was what others thought of him. Specifically, the three individuals within the industry that took time to voice why Anton was worthy of the award.
For starters, he's a strong leader.
"He instills a sense of confidence based on his experience," said Dennis Askew, Rahco's business development manager who nominated Anton. "Everything from formulating, engineering and design, operations, and customer service. He's captured that experience because they did start out in a very humble, small operation. Money amplifies people, if you're a good person you'll be a better person. Steve is a humble guy, an experienced guy, but it's not doing it because I say so, it's let's do this together the right way and here are the reasons why."
Part of leadership is navigating a company through ups and downs, but right now it certainly seems Rahco is looking up. It's grown to about 100 people and nearly $60 million in sales from its humble roots as a one to five person operation. It now occupies a 65,000-sq.-ft. building, 13 times bigger than the one it started in, Askew said.
But the praise doesn't just come from inside the company. Rep Corp. President Tim Graham said he can tell he has a very loyal group of people working for him and is impressed with the way Anton reaches out for information and avoids making snap decisions.
"He's not afraid to ask the questions or have the conversation. He's very hands on with the decision making of what goes on in the company," said Graham, who also nominated Anton.