Building Great Places to Work

January 7. 2015

Winner Spotlight: State Industrial Products

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January 7. 2015

Built on family values, State Industrial Products is more than a company that manufactures maintenance chemicals. Located in Mayfield Heights, State Industrial strives to create a company culture that not only works for them, but for its employees. With a strong connection to Make-A-Wish Foundation and always striving to engrain its family values in its workers, it’s no wonder State Industrial was one of three companies to receive this year’s Workplace & Community Impact Award at NorthCoast 99.

Winning NorthCoast 99

“For State Industrial to win the NorthCoast 99 award just confirms what I have said all along  which is we are one of the top organizations in northeast Ohio to work for,” says Carol Brennan, Director of Human Resources.

After 103 years, it’s all about the employees and the culture

Brennan says when she interviews people to work at State Industrial, she tries to find individuals who have a passion to work for a world class organization and people who are team players.

“We look for individuals who want to work hard and play hard because that’s what we are all about. We want people here who are believers in our community and willing to participate and support our community sponsored events.”

Kelly Keefer, Sales Analyst, says “We have a very unique culture here at State.  It’s almost like being a part of a big family. We do have to make business decisions and sometimes they aren’t easy. But at the end of the day, we can all walk away and know that this is our family and we do whatever it takes to get through.”

Brian Wamser has a great formula for finding a company that aligns its morals with his.

“I have always told myself in the business world and the organization, that I really wanted to make sure of a couple of things before I started a job,” says the Corporate Accounts Coordinator.

  1. I want to truly enjoy my job.
  2. I want to enjoy the people who would be working with and around me.
  3. I must have a strong belief in the company and its leadership.
  4. I must have a belief in the product and/or service that is being provided by the company.

“I can say I have found all 4 of these requirements with State.   I do enjoy coming into work every day to work with a great group of people both internally in the corporate office and out in the field with our sales force. I can truly say it’s a great group of people who have a positive attitude.”

Wamser says that because the organization is a family-owned business and it’s very easy to believe in the ownership.

“They treat you like family. Our products and services are something I believe in.  I just wouldn’t be working for a company I didn’t believe in the product and service,” says Wamser.

Uhrman also feels his company’s culture is a special one.

“Culture is hard to define, and at State Industrial Products, we have been around for over 103 years. To watch our employees take their personal time as well as their professional time and get involved and give back to our community in many ways, specifically for Make-A-Wish, has been an incredible experience for all 900 employees.”

Shooting for the Stars for Make-A-Wish

State Industrial’s involvement with Make-A-Wish is unlike any other. That’s because it goes past helping a local foundation. For State Industrial’s CEO Uhrman, it’s a personal connection.

“About 12 years ago, I had a son who was diagnosed with a long-term illness, and my family was given the opportunity to go on a wish to San Diego as part of the Make A Wish Foundation.  From my perspective, it has been very important to give a wish back every year since that time,” says Uhrman. “The cool thing is though, as my role in the company changed, people around me saw my involvement and the company has taken complete ownership of this program.”

Historically, State Industrial was able to grant three wishes within a year for three children in the local Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana areas.

“So, for me, what I do hasn’t changed, but culturally, watching our company taking ownership of Make-A-Wish has been so very gratifying,” says Uhrman.

State Industrial plans a year full of event to raise money for Make-A-Wish. Some of the activities include:

  • Raffles
  • Cook Outs
  • A Smoothie Day
  • A Bake Sale
  • Corn Hole Tournaments
  • A Walk at the Zoo

“My favorite activity this year occurred during  ‘bring your child to work day’ which was extremely touching.  It evolved from a wish request we received from a Make-A-Wish little girl whose wish was to provide the homeless with blankets.  When the kids came to work for the day, the older children made over 30 blankets that were donated to the children at the Zelma George Family Center.”  says Brennan. “It was extremely heartwarming to see the children sitting there, making these blankets and knowing that they were to be given to the homeless to help continue a little girls’ wish.”

Every employee agrees that it really comes down to seeing the child smile, knowing that you helped put that smile on their face.

“To have a child come in and see that smile on their face as they are going through stressful times is something I will always remember and I am so happy to help do that,” says Wamser.  “To be able to see the child, their family, and the foundation all have smiles on their faces ties back to us having fun with it and having raffles and doing things within the company.”   

“I personally think it’s very rewarding to work for a company that is so involved in a charity such as Make-A-Wish,” says Keefer. “So for that and personal reasons, there is no better feeling then to make a child smile- that is the core of why I enjoy all of this.”

Working for State Industrial is a place built on family values, a great community presence and unique culture. With its 103 years of service, intertwined with some new traditions, State Industrial is a leading example of what it means to be a great workplace in Northeast Ohio.  

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