CHICAGO—There's clearly a difference between a company's ledger and its legacy.
But success in one certainly can drive success in the other.
For Hallstar Industrial Solutions, a maker of additives and modifiers for the rubber and plastics industries, creating the correct culture provides an atmosphere where employees can feel appreciated while also working to make the company stronger.
It's this combination that helped Hallstar to be named as one of this year's Best Places to Work in the rubber industry for 2020.
Hallstar Industrial Solutions makes products that help rubber perform under different, and sometimes difficult, conditions. Markets include aerospace, automotive, and wire and cable. The firm is part of Hallstar Co., a Chicago-based holding company that also includes a beauty care division and shared services segment that provides back office support to each of the operating firms.
Hallstar was founded in 1986 when John Paro began what he described as largely a distribution business fashioned from a handful of acquisitions. Over time, the company evolved into a maker of additives and modifiers and left the distribution side. Starting on the industrial side, the company also found applications for products in the personal care segment, including skin and sunscreen products.
"Our products are tried and true and being innovated all the time. And we're blessed with some very, very long-tenured and good people that see a privately held company that is looking to stay around for a long time and continue to grow as a good place to work and develop," Paro said. "The business is always changing for the positive in a way that gives both young people and long-tenured people alike new opportunities to grow and develop. I think that's one of the keys."
As president of the Industrial Solutions segment, Carmen Masciantonio does not see his job as singularly focused on the bottom line.
"I don't know that there are any secrets," he said. "It's treating everybody the way you want to be treated."
Plenty of people have made plenty of money by writing business philosophy books, but for Masciantonio, his approach flows from the Golden Rule.
"We just want to give people all the opportunities they can get and treat them well," he said. "And develop and try to have some fun. Winning helps. It's good to win."
Paro has established a company that allows for flexibility and patience and empowerment.
"We're just trying to get everyone on the same page, treat everyone well and develop everybody and have some fun, too," Masciantonio said.
The Industrial Solutions president said he feels empowered working for a private company that considers more than just the balance sheet when determining success. Hallstar also tries to cut through the clutter "to eliminate as much non-value-added things as possible."
Hallstar, like any company, is going to make mistakes along the way.