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Building Manager, Erica Beaumier, Wins SOCMA National Honor

ChemDesign is pleased to announce that the building manager, Erica Beaumier, was recognized for the first Women in Specialties Award from the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, (SOCMA). Erica graciously accepted the award at SOCMA week, Dec. 4th-6th, in New Orleans.

The Women in Specialties Award is given to a leader who has demonstrated positive change for the specialty chemicals industry. For the past five years, Erica has displayed excellence while working in ChemDesign’s R & D lab. In May 2019, she was promoted to Building Manager for her efforts in assuring successful project implementations. Her work demonstrated that she sets high standards for herself and the company; and did more than her job to ensure at ChemDesign, “We make Chemistry Work.”

Erica (middle), standing with Jennifer Abril, President of SOCMA and Joe Dettinger,
Senior Director, Compliance & Stewardship

Erica is thoughtful in building solid platforms for reliability and quality. Her diligent focus on housekeeping, organization, and customer interaction has led to record production rates. Since May, ChemDesign has seen a 15% increase in production capacity in her building. The total injury rate for her building has also decreased by a large 43% since her promotion. Erica’s actions and results show she is emerging as a great leader and advocate for the specialties industry.

“The future of the specialties industry is relentless to the adherence to the highest safety and environmental standards, Erica’s attention to detail and willingness to stay until the job is done show her commitment to the success of this industry.” explained Joel Salzman, VP of Operations

“I am so honored to be the recipient of the first Women in Specialties Award from SOCMA.  I would like to thank my management team and coworkers for their support because, without it, this award would not be possible.  The other group of people who deserve a thank you are the four crews of operators that work hard every day making our products.  Their support and willingness to work hard have made my transition from the lab to the building manager very rewarding and enjoyable.” said Erica Beaumier, Building Manager

About ChemDesign

ChemDesign is a chemical toll manufacturer in the specialty industry producing intermediates agrochemical, specialty and fine markets. One hundred and fifty people are employed at its facility in Marinette, Wisconsin. If you would like a chemical manufacturing career with award-winning team leaders like Erica, visit our careers page to apply now.

Tags: ChemDesign, Women in Specialties, SOCMA

This entry was posted in News and tagged ChemDesign, Women in Specialties

ChemDesign Unites Wisconsin Emergency Agencies in Response Drill

Anyone fishing on the Menominee River on October 30th would have seen a questionable sight while passing ChemDesign. The flock of sixty-six emergency responders, six fire trucks, and four hazmat vehicles as part of a Multi-Agency Emergency Response Drill hosted by ChemDesign. Marinette County Emergency Management, Marinette, Menominee, Appleton, Peshtigo, and Green Bay Fire Departments, and 54thCivil Support Team (CST) from Madison were in attendance to perform the drill. This practice was held for all involved agencies to improve the familiarity and interoperability of responders in the Marinette region. A full-scale exercise in response to an unlikely chemical release that exceeds the local resources and becomes escalated to the Type 2 Hazmat Teams and the CST. Environmental officials stated that in the event of a workplace emergency, the priority would be to protect people and the environment.

This emergency response training drill consisted of a simulation of an unlikely, large leak in a tank carrying unknown, hazardous chemicals. As per the fictional situation, the emergency spill escalated and required ChemDesign to request type 2 hazmat teams and local emergency management to monitor the air quality of the site. Marinette County had its Mobile Command Center present.  Appleton and 54th CST each had their mobile laboratories equipped with analytical instrumentations: infrared cameras and detectors to detect heat and identify specific chemical compounds, gas chromatographs, photoionization detectors (PID), gas monitors and wet chemistry methods for chemical analytes and explosives. CST additionally used a flying drone to practice monitoring the site from the air. All responding departments had sensors and equipment capable of communicating among the different departments to aid in determining chemical zones. The second part of the drill involved fictional cleanup activities and decontamination of the firefighters and hazmat squat that were involved. Chris Kanikula, Environmental Engineering Manager, tells us the importance of emergency drills “We are very fortunate to never have an emergency like this happen. This drill is just another preventative measure and provides beneficial practice to the emergency teams. It is unique to our site that the ChemDesign staff has the knowledge and skill to act immediately. However, it is also great we brought agencies all over Wisconsin together to perform important practice”.  ChemDesign was honored to lend its site for this beneficial drill that allowed professionals to practice using their special equipment. Visit our community page to see other local organizations ChemDesign supports.

Tags: Marinette County Emergency Management, Marinette, Menominee, Appleton, Peshtigo, Green Bay Fire Departments, 54th Civil Support Team

This entry was posted in BlogNews and tagged Marinette County Emergency, Marinette, Menominee, Appleton, Peshtigo, and Green Bay Fire Departments, and 54th Civil Support Team

ChemDesign’s Career Development Program Helps Students Explore Jobs in STEM

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM includes 102 different careers that can be applied to a multitude of industries. ChemDesign believes it’s important that students learn about STEM careers and make educated decisions when deciding their after-school plans. As a part of ChemDesign’s Career Development program, we frequently recruit at Michigan Technical University, UW-Green Bay and Northern Michigan University, among other colleges, to offer the experience to aspiring undergraduates.  

This summer, ChemDesign had five incredibly bright interns working with us in our HR Department, Engineering, HES Department, and Quality Control lab. Ali Christian, our HR intern, worked on human resources projects for a chemical manufacturing plant to include scheduling, interviewing and candidate screenings. Our HES intern, Ben Caithamer, conducted respirator fit tests, created emergency kits for four of our buildings. David Jaszczak, our engineering intern, designed a magnetic fire door release system and planned the removal of the vessel. At his final presentation, he expressed “ChemDesign helped me learn the importance of workplace relationships, how to apply my academics, and what it’s like to work in a chemical plant. I am so thankful for the opportunity they have given me to learn and grow.” All our interns this summer have expressed interest in working at ChemDesign, or in the chemical manufacturing industry in the future.

In addition, ChemDesign runs a job shadowing program for high school and college students who would like to see what working in chemical manufacturing involves. Just this summer, we had two students job shadow at ChemDesign. Pictured to the left, is Logan Mikesell from Michigan Technical University. He connected with us after talking with ChemDesign representatives at his school’s career fair. Logan told us he wanted to shadow because he was thinking of pursuing a second degree in engineering- along with his almost complete chemistry major. Our Human Resources and Employee Development Manager invited him onsite to shadow. First, he toured the QC lab where he and Mindy Doubek, our QC Lab Supervisor, then discussed the type of instruments they use for conducting chemical analysis. He recognized the instruments as he used the same type in his class’s chemistry labs. Later, engineer Bob Martins, took him through the plant to discuss the larger equipment used to manufacture the chemicals. During our lunch discussion, Logan said his favorite part of the tour was our Quality Control Lab. With this valuable job shadowing experience, Logan expressed that he feels more confident in his after-college plans.

When students visit or intern at ChemDesign, they discover a beacon of light when navigating the uncertain seas of numerous career pathways. When it comes to STEM, ChemDesign believes it’s important for students to see as many aspects of the industry as they can so they can make the best career choice for a prosperous and challenging future.

Tags: Chemistry Job Shadow, Engineering Job Shadow, Michigan Technical University, UW-Green Bay, and Northern Michigan University, STEM Education

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged Academic and Career Planning, Chemistry Job Shadow, Engineering Job Shadow

ChemDesign “Helps make Science Make Sense” in STEM Education.

As the new school year begins for most students, we want to wish everyone well on their back to school journey. This article reflects on the ways we enjoy sharing our core values: learning, teaching, and coaching with our community, starting with the students. This past year, ChemDesign has made a significant effort in helping students in the Marinette/Menominee area learn about science, technology, engineering, and math. Through sponsorship and chemistry demonstrations, ChemDesign has invested in our future generation’s interests in the science and manufacturing industry. We look forward to another school year and the opportunity to inspire today’s youth about STEM. Here is a look back on the past year’s events.

STEM DAYS at UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus

On January 26th, 2019 STEM Days Program was held at UW-Green bay Marinette Campus. Over 350 students toured through the campus to learn about the applications of STEM. During the three days, students watched chemistry demonstrations by our very own chemists, Erica Beaumier, Lauren Anderson, and Mindy Doubek. Students reported afterward that ChemDesign was an inspiration for their future educational pursuits in STEM. 

The First Annual St. Thomas Aquinas Science Fair

On April 4th, 2019, ChemDesign was assisted in the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy Science Fair.  The 5th-8th-grade students each had booths to display their research, experiments, and findings. This event helped students develop critical thinking skills, and practice using the scientific method. ChemDesign is proud to be involved in this event because these brilliant developing minds are our future.

Sponsorship of the Stephenson Robotics Team

On June 28th, 2019, ChemDesign sponsored the Stephenson Eagles Robotics Team. Engineers Paul Neilo and Dereck Norkoli volunteered to judge the competition. Student involvement is so very vital to our industry. Robotic building competitions prepare students for careers in engineering and technology, improves their problem-solving skills, and boosts confidence levels in science and math. Not only does this competition provide a fun way to learn science but also provides educators a practical way to apply strategic thinking skills outside class. This year the kids from the Stephenson Eagles Robotics Team, made 2nd place in the competition & won an Excellence in Engineering Award based on their robot.

Family Engagement in Chemistry with ChemDesign

ChemDesign sponsored and participated in the third annual Family Recreation Days at the Menominee Marina Park. ChemDesign partnered with the Tri-City United Way to provide three displays of chemical reactions and several active games for the kids and adults alike. These displays served as ice-breakers to invite families to ask questions about the chemical reactions they observed, and many other general science questions. It also opened several questions about ChemDesign as a company in the community. When it comes to STEM, ChemDesign believes it’s important for students and families to see as many aspects of the industry as they can so they can make the best career choice for a prosperous and challenging future.

How to Change the Safety Culture – ChemDesign Takes the Lead

Here at ChemDesign, we know that safety is of primary importance for all employees and stakeholders of our company. We have implemented multiple programs to keep safety top of mind for everyone at our plant. 

Training: Recently we conducted Emergency Response Training with a representative of Lakeshore Technical University.  This training consisted of 3 days in the classroom and 40 hours of hands-on training activities covering topics including evacuations, headcounts, rescues, explosions, how to safely fix leaks, spills and more. Operators, supervisors, and management learned how to properly put on and take off hazmat suits and respond to any chemical contamination that could happen while at work or during an emergency. Participants in the class were Chris Kanikula, Matt Smiley, Harrison Krueger, Shane Parish, Mike Hinterberg, Vince Schackmann, Ryan Beamer, Bill Coleman, and Done Jones. They all enjoyed the training sessions on how to respond in an emergency and fix multiple problems- they also liked the lunch break with pizza!  Participants noted it was helpful to have an outside perspective on what could go wrong and how to respond.

Communication: Another way we maintain our positive safety culture, is through ChemDesign TV. We installed a screen in the lunchroom that updates site safety statistics, safety tips, and reminders. It updates and refreshes daily for new content-based on our safety performance. This way, employees can actively assess the health of our safety environment and be informed of related safety topics so they can respond accordingly.

Cultivate Ideas: The third way we encourage a safety culture is through our Continuous Improvement Program. Every year, we encourage employees to take a survey. The site leaders consider the responses and create action plans to improve the workplace. This program also involves a reimbursement plan for employees who share their ideas on how to improve the plant. Any employee who comes up with a better or safer way to complete a process is reimbursed when their idea is implemented. Our listening demonstrates that our safety culture is one that takes accountability, learns, and encourages every team member to be a leader in safety.

Visit ChemDesign at Chemicals America 2019

ChemDesign representatives will be attending the Specialty and Agro Chemicals America Show in Charleston, South Carolina from September 4th -5th. They will be at booth #800. Come, meet representatives Dave, Rae, Bryon, and Joel. They will explain how ‘We Make Chemistry Work’.

This show has two major goals: to focus on chemical manufacturing, technologies, and related services that have specific applications for the agrochemical and specialty chemical markets.  

Tags: Specialty and Agro Chemicals America

This entry was posted in News and tagged Specialty and Agro Chemicals America.

ChemDesign Annual Fishing Derby 2019

Fishing is a verb, noun, and a favorite hobby of Wisconsinites. According to, this beloved hobby gained traction in the 19th and 20th centuries as one of the first commercial enterprises to achieve some level of success in Wisconsin. Fisherman earned a livelihood within the fish abundant waters of Lake Michigan, Green Bay, and Lake Superior. Today, fishing is still a major industry in Wisconsin, but now, experts to amateur hobbyists enjoy waiting for the perfect catch.

ChemDesign’s Annual Fishing Derby happened on August 24th. Teams consisted of 2 people, one required to be an employee of ChemDesign. Fishing was limited to the Menominee River. The species caught at this event were: Perch, Crappie, Bass, Northern, Walleye, Trout, and Salmon.  Prizes, sponsored by ChemDesign, were awarded for top 3 catches determined by total weight. The winners for the best catch were:

1st place:  John Ruehs/Brandon- 14.0 pounds total

2nd place:  Codi Needham/Butch- 11.6 pounds total

3rd place: “Team Catalyst” Kurt Paris/Derek- 5.0 pounds total

The biggest fish registered that day was a 3.1 lb Northern Pike. There was a second prize for the best work-related team name that went to “Breaking Lines” consisting of Shane Johnson and Adam McDonald. They won a grill and the Black and Decker project pack. Dennis Kaufman won the door prize, a Milwaukee screwdriver kit.

Adam McDonald & Shane Johnson sporting their
“Breaking Lines” team teeshirts.

John Ruehs, chemical operator, comments on the event saying, “A lot of us here love to fish. This event was a great opportunity for employees to spend time out of work doing something together. We are thankful for the sponsorship to make this event possible”. We had 6 total teams participate this year. If you missed this year’s fishing derby, make sure to join us next time!

Tags: Fishing, ChemDesign, Wisconsin

This entry was posted in Blogs and tagged:

New Reactor Installation Signals Investment in Reliability

Investing in Reliability, Expanding Capacity

ChemDesign is pleased to announce our investment in a new glass-lined chemical reactor for our multi-purpose chemical manufacturing plant in Marinette, WI.  This new reactor is the latest step in a series of investment activities to support and maintain the reliability and growth of our Marinette operations. This investment adds 3,000 gallons of Glass Lined Reactor capacity to our Building 52 operations.  This addition provides an opportunity to support additional demand from customers, as well as ensure reliability.  Investing in reliability is an action taken in support of ChemDesign’s mission of providing the highest quality platform for chemical manufacturing services to our customers. We plan to continue adding to our plant’s capabilities in various forms in the upcoming years.

At ChemDesign, we have three main manufacturing areas: Buildings 52, 38 and 69 with 36,000/23,000/12,000 gallons of reactor capacity respectively. Our manufacturing areas consist of glass-lined reactors, stainless steel, and Hastelloy (Monel) reactors. Reactors range in size from 500 to 6,000 gallons, with a temperature operating range of -7 to 150C.  We run a range of reactions in our plant, for a more detailed list of our reactions visit our processes page.

Tags: Reactor, Capital investment, growth

This entry was posted in Blogs and tagged: ChemDesign

ChemDesign Employees Graduate from NWTC-CTED Leadership Academy

On June 20th, ChemDesign supervisors and managers gathered at the North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center. These employees graduated from a specialty leadership course sponsored by NTWC’s CTED-Cooperate Training and Economic Development in Marinette, Wisconsin. This Leadership Academy was presented by Renee Butrym, Corporate Trainer at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College for CTED. (link)

Leadership Academy classes consisted of eight separate 4-hour sessions for a total of 32 hours of classroom training with two additional 1-hour individual training sessions. The graduates from this program were Vince Schackmann, Mike Hinterberg, Dennis Kaufman, Jay Therriault, Paul Neilo, Ryan Wondergem, Kevin Possi, Kevin Harris, Mindy Doubek, Tina Odea, Todd Smith, Gretchen Smith, Wendy Swanson, Roman Leiser, and Jordan Parker.

ChemDesign wishes to recognize and thank everyone for investing their time to become a better leader and mentor. Programs like this are significant for developing the leaders of the future and helping our employees be the best they can be.

About the Academy:

According to NWTC’s webpage, “CTED Training and Seminars are focused on meeting the ever-expanding continuing education needs of adult professionals in Northeast Wisconsin.” Their sole mission is to provide flexible training at a cost-effective price for organizations. CTED offers seminars, customized training courses, online training, conferences & special events including many topics from categories such as business, performance, technical, safety, and health.

The Leadership Academy features training units that focus on Challenges with Leadership, Communication for Leadership, Coaching and Development of Others, Resolving Conflict, Problem Solving, Peer to Boss, High Performing teams, and Using Failures to Leverage Success.

Strong Leadership is the backbone of any successful organization. Leaders determine the vision and direction for a team, company, or the world. Jack Welch, a leader, and former General Electric CEO wrote in his book, Winning: “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” With that, we congratulate our leaders at ChemDesign for their work in completing this training. 

A Culture of Learning:

ChemDesign is proud to support education in our community and to support the continued education of our employees. Our core values include continuous improvement by encouraging an environment of engagement, learning, and teaching. Interested in joining a work culture based on learning and achievement at ChemDesign? Check our available positions on our Careers page. (link)

Tags: ChemDesign, CTED- Cooperate Training and Economic Development, North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Leadership, Training, Careers

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged: ChemDesign, CTED- Cooperate Training and Economic Development, North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center, and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

ChemDesign Achieves Best-In-Class Performance Award for Healthcare Cost Control

ChemDesign, a custom chemical manufacturer in Marinette, Wisconsin, has received a best-in-class healthcare performance award, being recognized in the top nine percent of mid-sized manufacturers who responded to Gallagher’s 2018 National Benchmarking Survey. The award comes from Gallagher, a global leader in insurance, risk management and consulting services. This designation is awarded to survey respondents who score among the upper 25% in controlling healthcare costs and managing human resources. Over 4200 participating organizations from across the country responded to Gallagher’s annual survey, considered one of the most respected and comprehensive surveys in the industry.


The journey to achieving affordable healthcare coverage became a top priority for ChemDesign in 2016. The mid-sized employer of 115 was facing a 20 percent increase in health insurance premiums for the coming year.

Randy Christl, Chief Financial Officer, decided it was time to do something different and assembled a task force to evaluate options.  An exciting option of belonging to a group healthcare captive was found. A “insurance captive” is a means to gain the benefits of being self-insured while mitigating the risk by allowing a mid-sized employer to spread out their risk as part of a bigger group. The team found a captive that was unique, carefully selective of its members, and focused on wellness. From the outset, ChemDesign has been committed to being engaged and following the captives recommended framework to control costs.

Captive membership led ChemDesign to be a leader in their community with instituting a new healthcare pricing system for the organization. The new system came with two major cost-management initiatives:  Pay fair prices for provider services and increase transparency of costs both for the company and the employee. ChemDesign and their insurance consultant, Gallagher, have been successful in securing agreements with not one, but three of the most prominent health care systems in the area.

ChemDesign, additionally, “carved out” their pharmacy benefits, following a non-traditional program. All employees have prescription coverage as part of the medical benefits, but the pharmacy program is carefully managed by the Captive’s expert pharmacy benefit manager. The majority of employees have made the change to generic prescriptions, often using mail-order as a successful way to obtain the medications needed.


Christl also joined a sub-committee in the insurance captive to understand and implement wellness programs for their employees.

ChemDesign developed benchmarks to understand the overall wellness of their employees. Employee awareness of the connection between getting healthier as a whole and lower healthcare costs is key to the continued success of their program. ChemDesign stresses the value in healthy habits leading to a decrease in the collective risk to their insurer. They offer employees up to a 20 percent discount from their premiums if they complete an annual Health Risk Assessment and see their doctor for an annual wellness exam.   Other wellness incentives and programs also exist.

Victoria Seligmiller, Benefit Consultant for Gallagher, is impressed by the sincere care Christl and his team have for their employees. “For a group of their size, they have accomplished a great deal in ways that many others struggle to succeed. Their desire to progressively take steps to manage costs, while always putting employees first provides a framework that others can emulate.”

ChemDesign has kept their healthcare premiums stable (no increase) for the last three renewals. In January 2019, ChemDesign started the year off strong by providing a premium-free month for insured employees. With the latest round of renewals in May 2019 employees saw a five to ten percent premium reduction. Christl states, “Today, we feel like we are in control of our plan. Our message to employees continues to stress that improved health truly leads to savings from decreased costs coming back to us.” Get your copy of the executive summary of the Gallagher 2018 U.S. Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey

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