NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Distribution and Manufacturing
The Philpott Rubber Co.
Not many people would expect an already successful business man to become CEO of a rubber company and enroll in classes at the University of Akron to study polymer mixing, but that is exactly what Michael Baach did. Baach wanted to understand the technical side of the business as the company’s new CEO.
When he arrived at Philpott Rubber in 2009, he came to a company that was started in 1889 with a wooden push cart in downtown Cleveland. The company had strong principles and was dedicated to providing high-quality molded rubber and plastic parts to its customers, but overall was lacking the drive a 21st century company needed to succeed.
Baach noticed a complacent attitude that bred mediocrity, and it was this content attitude that was holding this sleepy company from its true potential. He knew that in order to survive and grow in an ever-changing environment, a strategic vision and innovation would be needed.
Although Philpott had long been focused on the steel industry, Baach knew the company could impact many other booming industries. With much attention being given to the Utica and Marcellus shale gas fields, Baach believed it was imperative to break in and sent out his salesmen to search for a way into the industry.
The big break came when a polymer was developed that would be useful in the gas industry. This polymer is used as a lubricant to help increase the pressure flow of the gas as it is being released from the ground.
This ambitious leap into the gas industry has paid dividends for Baach and Philpott, as this polymer began production in 2009 and now makes up more than 15 percent of the company’s sales. It is projected to grow to more than 25 percent by next year and in just a few years, has the potential to become more than 50 percent of Philpott’s business.
How to reach: Philpott Rubber Co., www.philpottrubber.com