TWINSBURG, Ohio—H.B. Chemical started with a desk, secretary and a few products to sell, but now stocks more than 600 products in multiple warehouses through North America.
Hill Browning started the company in 1986 and sold it to longtime employee Jeffrey Rand in 2008. Rand credits employees taking ownership of their job duties as a key to the company's success.
"As a company, the last thing that Hill wanted or I wanted was to micromanage people's daily tasks," Rand said.
"Hill's philosophy going way back was basically to empower anyone who worked here to do the job that was needed. He didn't offer a whole lot of advice; he didn't offer a whole lot of direction."
Creating a positive work environment that pays its employees well with additional training and benefits is the main reason H.B. Chemical has been named one of Rubber & Plastics News' Best Places to Work for 2019 as determined by its employees through a survey conducted by Best Companies Group.
While some of this may have been strategic, Rand said, Browning also always figured things out on his own. But as the company continued to grow, leadership added more resources to assist workers with their roles.
"We still rally people to basically run their own jobs, but we offer advice, training … that philosophy really continues today," Rand said.
H.B. Chemical currently has 30 U.S. employees and five others in both Mexico and China. Ravago Holdings America Inc. acquired H.B. Chemical in May, but Rand stayed on as president and maintains the company's office in Twinsburg.
When it comes to creating a company culture, Rand focuses on hiring kind people and has found he has very little turnover because he works to treat his team well.
"We don't hire anybody that's not a good person, a nice person," he said.
"I'd rather have someone who's not the top of the field if they are a genuinely good human being than going out and trying to find a super star who doesn't fit."
Most employees have been at the company for a long time. When Rand does need to bring someone on board, he said he will reach out to his employees' networks or post to a job board.
"It starts with personality and the attitude, then it goes to experience and skill set and then it will go further down the line to specific job histories," Rand said in ranking of attributes for hiring.
"We're probably most proud of our ability through the years to find people with special needs to work," he said.