Shepherd has been developing, manufacturing and selling specialty metal based chemicals for over 100 years. Our history is characterized by a commitment to long term relationships with customers, suppliers, employees and the communities where we work. We are engaged in the perpetual pursuit of new customers with whom we can create value and new applications for our capabilities. Shepherd’s headquarters are located on the same site that Lee Shepherd purchased in 1919 and the in same city, Norwood, where we were first chartered in 1916. We are still owned and led by the same family and their passion for serving our customers and our associates energizes everything we do.
Lee Shepherd was working in the chemical industry after studying chemical engineering at Case School of Applied Science (now Case Western Reserve University) when he founded the Shepherd Chemical Company in 1916. Shepherd’s original products included paint and ink dryers for small mid-western paint and ink manufacturers as well as a lubricant additive for Model T Ford planetary transmissions. In the 30s and 40s the product line expanded into metal plating and animal feed. Lee’s son John F. Shepherd, a ceramic engineer, developed a line of color pigment applications. He later went on to found our sister company, The Shepherd Color Company. In the 1950s John M Shepherd joined the company and began to call on large International companies and to more aggressively pursue custom co-development opportunities. Shepherd became a leading supplier of metal precursors to the catalyst industry during this time. John also established much of the culture that characterizes our company today. That culture is defined by a commitment to living out the golden rule in long term relationships with our customers and with our employees.
Shepherd’s capacity and capabilities increased steadily beginning in the 60s largely as a result of collaborations between Shepherd’s chemists and engineers and our customers’ technical teams. Shepherd became a reliable supplier of high purity catalysts, precursors, and intermediates and the foundation for our custom co-development capabilities was put in place.
During the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s Shepherd became one of the first manufacturers of cobalt rubber adhesion promoters to the tire industry, the world’s premier supplier of high durability pigments for architectural coatings, and we began to supply copper based oxidizers for airbag inflator applications. We expanded production into Europe with the acquisition of cobalt salts manufacturing in England and a carboxylate manufacturing and R&D facility in France.
In 2003, Tom Shepherd, 4th generation, stepped into the role of CEO of The Shepherd Chemical Company, The Shepherd Color Company and Glass Coatings & Concepts (GCC). Tom’s leadership clarified and energized our core purpose, Creating Value, Brightening Lives, and established The Shepherd Material Science Company to better leverage individual strengths and best practices across the Shepherd companies. In the last 15 years, we have become the largest global supplier of copper oxidizers to the airbag industry, expanded our reach in Asia with the establishment of the Shepherd (Shanghai) Trading Co., Ltd, partnered in the custom co-development of high performance additives and created award-winning innovation in polyurethane catalysts.