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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Build Leaders

Scientists here are working on very big problems like inventing a product to replace wood for the construction of low-cost housing.  And then,  there's the challenge of keeping tires out of landfills.    This research team is free to chase their ideas even if those ideas seem crazy.  More...

Key Question:


Build the people on your payroll and they will build the business.

Arnold says, "This place gives you an opportunity to grow. We send folks to school. It doesn't matter whether they are in manufacturing, or if they're in accounting, or they're in our laboratories. They get an opportunity to capture what is best about America."

The best businesses we find empower their people, and they pay for continuing education. Our resident entrepreneur, Jim Schell, asks, "Can you afford to train your people?" He says that you can't afford not to train your people.

Q: Why do so many business owners fail to teach employees?

A: Fear, ignorance and procrastination are three reasons. Some owners believe that if employees learn too much, they will either demand more or leave.

Some don't understand the power of education. Then there are those who intend to offer more training and education, but they just never get around to it.

Think about it

Who in your organization needs to go back to school? Who in your organization has been doing the same thing for several years? Are the people on that list ready to learn more? Are they strong individual performers? Do they have the talent and interest to become a leader?

Clip from: Diversified Chemical Technologies

Arnold Joseff and George Hill

Detroit, Michigan:  There is no alchemy within the deep success of Diversified Chemical and her founders, Arnold Joseff and George Hill (pictured above). Rather, it is the right mix of ingredients -- attention to details, adherence to rules and procedures and exacting standards, fiscal responsibility, personal accountability, and an investment in their people and community -- that produce results that consistently meet their customer's expectations and exceed their customer's requirements.

Arnold and George opened Diversified Chemical Technologies, Inc. in 1971 and today it is the holding company for four subsidiaries: Adhesive Systems, Coat-it; Diversified Chemical Technologies, and Paperworks. Together the companies employ over 200 people -- 50 are chemists -- and they generate over $150 million in annual sales.

In the '80s they decided to stop being sales-driven and to become innovation-driven. They reinvented the entire business. They took their lab off the back burner and turned up the heat by putting it at the very core of the company. It meant putting technology ahead of personality as a way of defining their competence within their industry.   These two broke the mold then reinvented it.

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Diversified Chemical Technologies (GH)

George Hill, CEO

15477 Woodrow Wilson
Detroit, MI 48238

Visit our web site:

Office: 313-867-5444

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1971

Build Leaders

GEORGE: So we started out with an organizational structure that says, "Okay, we have been the focal point. We are shifting that focal point and that leadership and some of the P&L responsibility, the profit and loss responsibility, to you. We are saying to you, Our commitment is to teach you what we know. Therefore, there is a new organizational structure, in which every one of our businesses is led by a different person, called a Business Unit Manager. Some call it a Vice President or Unit Manager but we call it a Business Unit Manager.

HATTIE: Cheryl Kern is the business unit manager for Paperworks.

CHERYL: I'm glad to be here now because we are going to be able to shine - for lack of a better word - and to really show that this business unit manager's concept is really going to allow us to run the entire operation, which in the past, we really weren't empowered to do. And we really are going to be able to stand on our own to either succeed or to fail. With those guys still on the side -- giving us a lot of guidance -- but still we can run our own show.

HATTIE: to achieve her growth goals, Cheryl is working closely with the director of the IT department, Dennis Mason.

DENNIS: I'm the IT manager here at Diversified Chemical. The exciting part about being at this particular company, is the opportunity to take a small company - a minority business supplier - and take them to a next level of being e-commerce ready.

CHERYL: The top question is - how savvy are you from an e-commerce standpoint? And if you are not, you don't even get the opportunity for the business.

ARNOLD: What we have done, is we have chosen to build - not only incentives - into our system that reward creativity. But we have taken what we consider to be some of the best people from all over the world -- who may not conform to what present America defines to be an American - and given them a place to work that allows them to be creative, that allows them to be respected. We don't ask them to be anybody else but who they are. This place gives you and opportunity to grow. We send folk to school. It doesn't matter whether they are in manufacturing or they're in accounting or they're in our laboratories. They get an opportunity to capture what is best about America.

HATTIE: It's as if the world converges in this special place. Carol from mainland China, Rajan and Biji from India, Alex from Latvia, Rueben from Ghana.

RUEBEN: I have my Master's in economic aspects of polymer chemistry. It is a brand of chemistry and business administration.

HATTIE: And you got that degree here?

RUEBEN: Yes, from this country. And the company paid for my tuition and the textbooks also. One day I was working the midnight shift and the Vice President of the company, Mr. Arnold Joseff, called up and said, "Have you thought about having your master's?" And I said, "Yes, but I have to find a way to pay for it." He said, "How determined are you to get your Masters?" And I told him, "Very." And he says, "Don't worry about the cost, it's done."

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