“We’re very driven. We’re very focused. We’re a very results and performance-driven company. But, we also have a softer side where we care about our employees…”
Chem-Pak, Inc. is a family-owned business operating in Berkeley County, West Virginia. George Pete Duane Jr. started the company in Virginia in 1966. Duane was inspired by market needs at the time and would often create his own proprietary products based on what the community needed. One of the first products he developed, Finger Ease, was used to help his friends who were musicians. Since then, his son, Randy Duane, and grandson, Mike Duane, have continued to grow and strengthen the business. The company has now morphed into a thriving chemical manufacturing company that specializes in aerosol and liquid packaging.
After a fire in 1999, Chem-Pak moved their manufacturing site from Virginia to Berkeley County, West Virginia and began construction on a new manufacturing facility. Currently, they are housed in a state of-the-art, 40,000 square foot facility that has been the springboard for their success. Chem-Pak chose Berkeley County to settle in because of its support, pro-business mindset, and strong employee pool. Since moving to Berkeley County, the company has grown significantly. “We have grown the company seven-fold since we moved to Berkeley County,” says Randy Duane. Because of this progress, Chem-Pak’s leaders are adding a new aerosol line that will add a 12 million can capacity per shift, and they will be expanding the facility by an additional 20,000 square feet.
This history of company growth has allowed Chem-Pak to upgrade their space and increase profits, but also, it has given them the capacity to hire new employees, and promote existing employees into new areas of the business. When Chem-Pak relocated to Berkeley County, it had 25 fulltime employees. Since then, that number has more than doubled, and the employee count is expected to trend upward in the coming years as new business is added. “Currently, Chem-Pak has approximately 60 full-time employees. Over the next two to three years, we expect that footprint to expand significantly up to between 80 and 90 full-time employees,” Mike Duane states. Because of Berkeley County Development Authority’s (BCDA) partnerships with local education providers, Chem-Pak has been able to hire local, skilled workers. They are also able to take advantage of programs recommended by BCDA through Blue Ridge Community & Technical College, conveniently located right across the street, to help with continuing education and on-the-job certifications. “We have members who will be taking one of the lab programs over at Blue Ridge,” says Mike Duane. Most recently, Chem-Pak has partnered with West Virginia University’s Industrial Extension and plans to use the Apprenticeship in Motion Program to help their employees gain new skills. Randy Duane is enthusiastic about these partnerships, “We’ve been able to take advantage of different programs and incentives that the Development Authority let us know about. The Development Authority has always worked well with Chem-Pak and assisted us in any capacity they could. It has been a great partnership and we’re looking forward to a bright future.”
Although training is essential for their success, the most important aspect of their business is the atmosphere they create for their employees and clients. “Being a family business is very important to our employee group. We have a very collaborative, team-oriented, family-oriented business culture that’s very important to me. It was important to my father. It’s important to Mike,” Randy Duane states. What truly sets Chem-Pak apart from other larger manufacturers is their passion for maintaining this environment. Their primary focus is not just on hiring employees but retaining them. “We’ve tried to be very creative, where we make sure we focus on developing the wonderful employees that we have here at Chem-Pak,” says Mike Duane. They try their best to promote from within so that their employees receive the benefit of upward mobility within the company, bringing with them experience and knowledge of day-to-day operations.
They attribute a large part of their success to their family-style culture. “We’re very driven. We’re very focused. We’re a very results and performance-driven company. But, we also have a softer side where we care about our employees. We’re thoughtful about our employees and we’re thoughtful when it comes to our policies,” stresses Randy Duane. During the pandemic, they worked with their employees, allowing remote work where possible, and even offering a full two weeks COVID-19 paid leave. “As a family company, we understand the needs of our employees,” says Mike Duane. They also recognize the community members and local partnerships when discussing their success, and plans for the future. “What I find so valuable being in Berkeley County is working with the Berkeley County Development Authority and their support as we grow,” emphasizes Randy Duane. As Chem-Pak continues to expand their business, they hope to create generational growth and bring more jobs to the area.
For more information on Chem-Pak, Inc., go to https://chem-pak.com/. The Berkeley County Development Authorities’ mission is to facilitate the growth of business in the county. We are a local agency that assists businesses as they consider the many advantages of moving to or expanding operations in Berkeley County. Our goal is to connect you with the many opportunities that our county has to offer.