Columbia Chemical Celebrates 40th Anniversary
Bill Rosenberg Sr., Herb Geduld founded company
In 1975, on the second floor of a former textile mill in Cleveland, a chemist and a salesman joined forces to see what they could do with a business in the electroplating industry. Forty years later, the business started by Bill Rosenberg Sr. and Herb Geduld—Columbia Chemical Corp.—is one of the world leaders in zinc and zinc alloy plating additives.
Rosenberg (in the lab, top photo at right) and Geduld focused on research and private label manufacturing of zinc plating brighteners, including cyanide, acid chloride and acid tin. When the industry moved toward alkaline cyanide-free zinc plating, Columbia launched ColZinc ACF-II Process Technology, opening the doors to market under the Columbia Chemical name.
Chairman Bill Rosenberg, Jr. says that, though consolidation in the industry has reduced the amount of competitors, the competition is better than it used to be.
“We all have to be better,” he says. “Regulations and requirements are a huge deal. Heck, back in 1975 when my dad and Herb started the company, the EPA and OSHA were fairly new and both agencies were quite busy creating new laws and enforcement policies. So in a way, Columbia Chemical was started at a good time, because the company culture was formed around the need to satisfy all of these regulations.”
In 1992, the cyanide-free movement and increased exports brought another move to Brunswick, Ohio, as Columbia joined the ranks of ISO:9000 certified companies. Columbia Chemical now operates in more than 30 countries, with multiple joint ventures.