Columbia Chemical Corporation
The History of a Leader in Zinc Plating
Columbia Chemical Corporation, a world leader in zinc and zinc alloy plating additives, began on the second floor of a former textile mill in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1975. The brainchild of a chemist and a salesman, the company now exports to over 30 countries and is headquartered in a 44,000-square-foot building in Brunswick, Ohio.
The Original Zinc Experts
Founders Bill Rosenberg, Sr. and Herb Geduld combined their zinc plating expertise to begin this entrepreneurial venture -- providing zinc brighteners to the metal finishing industry. Rosenberg’s extensive background in research and development of industrial plating additives and Geduld’s sales experience provided the foundation. The company’s first order was for ten drums of cyanide zinc brightener. Most zinc plating at the time was done with plating solutions containing sodium cyanide.
The company rented space at a former textile mill in Cleveland, Ohio. Distributors were quickly established throughout North America. Out of necessity, the founders were very ‘hands on’ in the early years, doing everything themselves from product development, blending & packaging to providing technical support to distributors. They also took the orders, loaded the trucks and mailed out invoices.
By 1981, Columbia Chemical had hired its first full-time employee, Rick Holland, and expanded to a larger facility in Macedonia, Ohio. Soon after, Bill Rosenberg, Jr. joined the company as well as long-time employees Pat Martis as bookkeper and Dave Rinella and John Postan in shipping and production. Over the next five years, Columbia’s product line expanded to include acid chloride zinc brighteners and acid tin brighteners. More employees were brought on board, many of whom are still with the company. In 1987, Herb Geduld retired and Bill, Sr. became sole owner of the company.
Leaders in Non-Cyanide
Under the direction of Bill, Sr., Columbia Chemical became a key player in offering zinc plating processes that did not require the use of sodium cyanide. Columbia obtained several patents for these non-cyanide processes, providing the metal finishing industry with unique and environmentally friendly brightener systems. The growth brought another move in 1992, with a newly-constructed facility in Brunswick, Ohio. A warehouse was added in 1994.
In 1997 Bill Rosenberg, Sr. retired and Bill Rosenberg, Jr. purchased Columbia Chemical Corporation and became its CEO. A short time later, another new building was constructed on an adjacent lot to accommodate the growing research lab, sales office and warehouse.
The New Millenium
Columbia Chemical Corporation continued growing as a leader in zinc plating under the leadership of Bill Rosenberg, Jr., and expanded into environmentally friendly passivates and topcoats. In 2005, Bill, Jr. sold 30% of the company to the employees through an employee stock ownership plan. As sales increased from an expanding international distributor and licensee network, Columbia Chemical once again outgrew it’s home. In the Spring of 2008, the company moved into it’s new headquarters which houses manufacturing, research & development, technical support and customer service all under one roof.