The Shepherd Story
We at The Shepherd Chemical Company are proud to be family owned and operated for over a century. Our current CEO, Tom Shepherd is the fourth Shepherd family member to lead our company. We have spent the last century innovating and adapting to meet evolving industry needs, expanding with growing global demand, and building relationships with our partners and community. Rewind more than 100 years and you will see how we got our start and grew into a global specialty chemical manufacturer.
In the early 1900s, our founder, Lee Shepherd, studied chemical engineering at Case School of Applied Science (today known as Case Western Reserve University). After graduating in 1902, Lee worked in the chemical industry until, in 1916, he purchased a plot of land in Norwood, Ohio and constructed Shepherd's original manufacturing facility. Three years later, in 1919, he moved the operation to a nearby site, which is now Shepherd's largest manufacturing facility and global headquarters.
Shepherd's original products were metal soaps--such as cobalt, lead, manganese linoleate, and oleate--used as printing ink and paint driers. In addition to paint and ink driers, Shepherd's early products included a lubricant additive for use in Model T Ford planetary transmissions.
In the 1920's and 30's Shepherd established supply sources of cobalt from around the world to supplement primary sources in Canada. Our products evolved as we began to make salts for metal plating applications and cobalt salts for the animal micronutrient market.
In the late 1920's, our founder's son, John F. Shepherd, joined the company and began making coloring oxides for porcelain-enamel applications. John, a ceramic engineer, started what eventually became our sister company, The Shepherd Color Company. Shepherd Color was a stand-alone company in 1980 and is one of the leading suppliers of complex inorganic color pigments in the industry.
During WWI, in support of certain domestic dye stuff manufacturers, Shepherd began production of lead dioxide. During WWII, Lee Shepherd served on the Cobalt Sub-Committee of War Production Board, which directed use and allocation of cobalt.
The 1960's began a period of steady growth for Shepherd Chemical with expansions of its manufacturing capacity and capabilities at our Norwood, Ohio plant. As the refining and petrochemical industries grew, Shepherd Chemical became increasingly involved as a supplier of high purity catalysts and their precursors and intermediates. Many of these applications involved close collaboration between Shepherd's chemists and engineers, and our customers' technical teams, forming the foundation of our custom co-development approach and the essence of our business today.
Shepherd's sales continued to grow in the 1970's and 80's as we became a leading supplier of cobalt-based rubber adhesion promoters for safe and effective radial tires, nylon heat stabilizers for nylon products, and raw materials for the growing battery industry.
Tom Shepherd, current CEO pictured with his father and former CEO, John Shepherd
During Shepherd Chemical's third generation of family leadership, John M. Shepherd established a global presence. In the 1990's Shepherd established international sales offices, acquired two manufacturing facilities in Europe and built a second manufacturing plant in the US in Middletown, Ohio. Shepherd Chemical now operates under our family's fourth generation leader, Tom Shepherd. Today Shepherd Chemical has the scale and resources to participate in new and exciting technologies and markets. You are invited to learn more about our capabilities to serve our valued customers and build new relationships across the globe. Throughout our technical and commercial efforts, the hallmarks of quality and character continue to guide our philosophy towards our customers, employees and business partners--just as they did in 1916.