Andrew Trzaska | April 23, 2012
Muskegon Heights-based Webb Chemical Service Corporation is planning a $4 million expansion within the city in hopes of increasing its revenues and market share.
The first step toward this was for the city to pass a motion establishing an industrial redevelopment and rehabilitation district, which passed unanimously at Monday night’s city council meeting. Establishing this allows the company to seek other required permits from the State of Michigan.
Webb Chemical is looking to expand by building a tank farm and associated equipment, which will allow the company to store and mix larger amounts of chemicals on its 22-acre site, located at 2708 Jarman Street between Sherman and Broadway,
Currently chemicals are brought in on trucks and rail cars. In four stages, a series of tanks would be built, each holding 10,000 to 20,000 gallons. This will allow more storage capacity on-site.
According to Brad Hilleary, chief financial officer and owner of Webb Chemical, the company has seen a good 18 months of business, and the expansion should continue this trend.
Along with this growth, hiring is anticipated for the specialized company.
Currently Webb Chemical pulls 10% of its workforce from within the city limits of Muskegon Heights. Hilleary explained that the company hopes to get that number higher. So far, Muskegon Heights residents haven’t always applied for the open positions, and some that have not always had the right skills. Webb Chemical has their own human resources office, but also works with temp agencies, most prominently Adecco.
Hilleary indicated that many jobs available of late or will be available soon are warehousing jobs. Ability to operate a forklift is necessary, but more importantly chemical handling experience is of high importance.
“Chemicals scare people,” said Hilleary. “I need that comfort level of someone who’s had that experiences before.”
Hilleary explained that Webb is working with local community leaders including pastors to seek out qualified candidates within the city, even when jobs aren’t available.
Webb Chemical was founded in Muskegon County in 1963, and located in Muskegon Heights in 1971. The company mixes custom solvents and distributes products nationwide through its own private fleet of trucks. The company’s distribution network has expanded from Muskegon County alone to nationwide distribution plus Canada. The company saw over $40 million in sales in 2008, according to the Webb Chemical web site.