Described as a long-established, award-winning full line distributor and blender of solvents, oils, and industrial fluids, there is no doubt that Americhem Sales Corporation (ASC) excels at what they do. Since its inception, the company has worked hard to achieve a reputation of excellence and these efforts have generated results. ASC earned the first ever Responsible Distribution Excellence Award in 2006 and the Distributor of the Year Award in 2010 from the National Association of Chemical Distributors. Americhem’s success did not happen overnight or by accident. Since 1998, the Mason-based corporation has been devoted to building a successful, responsible, and profitable entity, known for its dependable work ethic and customer response time. This journey began with a strong foundation from the company’s owner and president, Bruce Whetter.
“This area of Michigan, the people have a wonderful work ethic,” said Whetter. “We all work with each other daily to get the products out to our customers. It’s a culture that’s been developed from the top down.”
Originally from Farmington Hills, Whetter enlisted in the United States Air Force in the late 1960s. After serving four years in Okinawa, he was honorably discharged in 1971. Whetter went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in business management and began working in chemical sales.
In 1998, Whetter purchased the old Americhem Corporation nineteen-acre site and renamed it Americhem Sales Corporation. A portion of the site was contaminated. Whetter worked with the State of Michigan and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to negotiate a covenant not to sue. This agreement protected Whetter as he moved forward, investing heavily in new tank farms, scale house, a new solvents building, and developing a responsible operational plan for the new company.
“Our relationship with the state and DEQ has evolved into something that is unbelievably positive,” said Whetter. “We’ve proven that business and government can work together, hand in hand, week by week, month by month, year by year to enhance the environment.”
From the beginning, Americhem has been ahead of its time regarding environmental responsibility, going green at a time where many businesses would run from the challenge. The company has implemented several features in their state-of-the-art facility that not only meet standards of environmental responsibility but greatly exceed them as ASC is ISO 9001 certified.
Americhem continues to push the envelope in its industry, building a successful company on a strong foundation that Whetter accredits to his military service.
“The military was a great foundation for me to really establish the discipline and enhance the work ethic I already had,” said Whetter.
Americhem shows no signs of slowing down. The company was named the 2017 Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year. In its next five years, ASC predicts growth as it continues to expand and taking on new product lines.
“It’s all about continually building relationships with our suppliers and our customers,” said Whetter. “Suppliers can be confident that because of our state-of-the-art facility and the way we operate that their products will be handled responsibly. Our service is second-to-none and we consistently exceed all customer expectations on a 24/7 basis.”
As for other veterans interested in pursuing business ownership?
“I would say absolutely go for it! I threw everything I had into this business back in 1998, knowing I could build a responsible company,” said Whetter. “You gain wisdom as you go through life and in the end, I think if you really have the desire, you need to try to carve out something meaningful. I know that if I hadn’t gone for it, I would have probably regretted it for the rest of my life so I would encourage all veterans to seek out the advice of others and give it a try.”
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