When the Michigan Chronicle holds its Legacy in Motion dinner and awards program on Saturday, Nov. 22, at Cobo Center’s Grand Riverview Ballroom B, among the companies and individuals honored will be ChemicoMays (Chemico). The Southfield-based business is the Chronicle’s 2014 Company of the Year.
“ChemicoMays exemplifies a progressive company that places great value on its services,employees, customers
and ways of empowering the community,” said Hiram E. Jackson, CEO of Real Times Media, publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. “Since its inception 25 years ago, the company has stayed true to its mission,
which has resulted in tremendous growth throughout North America and beyond. The visionary
who drives the mission and goals of ChemicoMays is Leon C. Richardson, an extraordinary
president and CEO with clear focus and strong determination on how to best elevate his company and employees.”
“I was surprised and excited at the same time,” said Richardson upon hearing the good news. “We think this honor from the Michigan Chronicle is a strong confirmation of our mission to add value to our customers’ supply chain, add meaningful purpose to the lives of our employees and associates, and create a positive impact in the communities in which we operate. We set out every day to accomplish our mission and goals. So, when we get such awards, it lets us know that we’re on the right track.”
Founded in 1989, Chemico- Mays (Chemico) specializes in providing integrated solutions for the chemical life cycles for customers in numerous industries, such as automotive, aerospace, biotech and pharmaceuticals.
Such integrated solutions include sourcing and procurement, hands-on management and environmental
safe disposal. The company has recently augmented its portfolio to include a “green”approach, including energy
management, operational maintenance and custodial services. While based in metro Detroit, the company currently
operates more than 50 sites in North America, which includes the United States, Canada, and
Mexico. Some of the company’s past and current customers are General Motors, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, Toyota, Boeing and Honeywell. Wherever the company has a presence, it looks for ways to empower the community.
“I believe in giving back to the community, because that is as much a part of what we do
as anything,” said Richardson. “We like to give back to help such organizations as the Boys and Girls Club, the NAACP, the Rainbow PUSH Scholarship Program, Real Life 101 scholarship and mentoring programs,
as well as other organizations and community social and educational initiatives.”
In addition to the Chronicle honor, Chemico was recently chosen as National Supplier of
the Year, an award bestowed by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC),
an organization that connects certified minority companies with corporations for the opportunity
to do business. “This award is given annually to only one of the more than 1,750 members of NMSDC,”
said Richardson. “It’s a great honor for this organization to recognize our work. We are also
deeply honored to be a part of an organization as influential as the National Minority Supplier
Development Council.” “Exemplary leadership is a rare and differentiating quality
that most certainly warrants recognition,” Joset Wright- Lacy, NMSDC president, said in
a written statement. “This is especially true when that leadership benefits and inspires others. Chemico has
demonstrated both its dedication to overcoming challenges and its ongoing commitment to
diversity through its work with the many clients it serves on a
day-to-day basis.” Other honors received during the company’s 25th
anniversary this year have included Chrysler’s Supplier of the Year and General Motors’ Supplier of the Year. Chemico has also been named Black Enterprise magazine’s Industrial Service Company of the Year.
Chemico is no stranger to Black Enterprise. Since 2010, the company has been included
in the storied publication’s list of The Nation’s Largest Black Businesses in America.
In 2014, it was ranked as the 52nd largest African American- owned company in the
United States. Richardson is appreciative of all the honors and adulation the company has received in
2014, as well as over the last 25 years of existence. Yet, he is humbled.
“We don’t campaign for awards and recognition,” he said. “We just continue to do
what we set out to do when we started the company. However, to be recognized by two of the
world’s largest corporations as their Supplier of the Year is an amazing feeling.”
While Richardson’s humility is to be admired, it’s difficult to only honor the greatness of
Chemico, without feting its top executive officer as well. Born in Hamtramck, but raised in
West Haven, Connecticut, Richardson’s educational foundation has included enrollment
in the University of Maryland’s Business Management Officer Program. He subsequently
studied business management at the Detroit College of Business. He has completed executive
management programs at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and Ross
School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Richardson also credits his eight years of service in the United States Marine Corps,
where he learned about goods and services/supply chain management as an important
source for preparing him for this industry. He also attributes knowledge learned in the
field of organic chemistry as valuable when he worked at a chemical company soon after
leaving the military. Richardson gives much credit to his staff and management/
executive team for the company’s prosperity. “We have employees and associates
that really understand what we are trying to accomplish here,” he said. “When everyone
has the same goal and desire to succeed, it becomes simpler to stay focused and disciplined
to carry out the mission. “Maybe another good way to describe the success that’s
been experienced over the company’s first 25 years can be attributed to one of my favorite
books, ‘Good to Great.’ One of my favorite quotes from the book is, ‘Always surround
yourself with great people and great things will happen.’”