There's more than one way to construct a company legacy. After building a strong one for more than a century, Stockwell Elastomerics has taken a step toward a new identity at the Philadelphia-based maker of silicone goods.
That move came in the form of a new president who, for the first time in the firm's 102-year history—spanning four generations of family leadership—won't have the last name Stockwell.
But when William Stockwell made the announcement that Thomas Rimel Jr. would be the new president, it wasn't a move made in haste, but rather a component of well thought-out plans. It's apparent that Stockwell has been thinking about the future of the company legacy for some time, as often is the case at family-owned firms when no heirs decide they want to carry the torch forward.
William Stockwell, the 2019 Rubber & Plastics News Rubber Industry Executive of the Year, has been part of the family firm since 1978, brought on board by his father, Elbridge F. Stockwell Jr.
When Stockwell Elastomerics turned 100 in October 2019, there was a big celebration. Soon after, William Stockwell turned his attention to the future and how the new legacy of the rubber firm might be forged.
An integral part of the road map centered around keeping the 90-employee firm independent. William Stockwell wasn't looking to cash out by selling to the highest bidder. Instead, he followed the lead of NewAge Industries, another Philadelphia rubber company, and started an ESOP, where workers eventually will own 100 percent of Stockwell Elastomerics.
Other forward-looking moves included investing nearly $4 million on a new building at its Philadelphia campus and hiring more professional engineers and managers to keep the company on a proper trajectory.
And the latest piece, naming Rimel as the next president, obviously came after a great deal of thought. After first focusing on candidates within the silicone converting or molding sectors, a broader search found what Stockwell views as the ideal candidate.
Rimel comes from Dunmore Corp., a supplier of engineered films, foils, fabrics and adhesive products for technical applications, located in Bristol, Pa. Stockwell, who will remain active as chief technical officer, said Rimel brings a blend of operations, business development and executive leadership experience, and shares the company's core values.
As an added bonus, Rimel is local, having lived in the Philadelphia region for more than two decades and earlier earning his master's at La Salle University, roughly 30 minutes from the Stockwell footprint.
Rimel seems to know he has landed in a good situation at a well-run company, rather than a turnaround where drastic moves are necessary. That way he can concentrate on growing the business, along with the new legacy William Stockwell envisioned.