This year is a special one for Buckman, as it marks the company’s 70th anniversary. Buckman is a privately held, global specialty chemical company serving customers all over the world in the pulp and paper, water treatment and leather-making industries. Buckman’s global headquarters is in Memphis, Tennessee, situated on the same spot as the original building, which opened in 1945, on the corner of North McLean Blvd. and Chelsea.
As World War II was coming to a close, and industry began addressing problems closer to home, Dr. Stanley J. Buckman, a biochemist who had been working to develop a decay-resistant wood for military use, was aware of microbiological problems that existed in the manufacture of pulp and paper. He had an idea for a product that would mitigate the problems for the papermaker, and his confidence in the idea led to the establishment of Buckman Laboratories.
As the company began in 1945, offices and laboratories were located side-by-side on the first floor of a tiny building. Manufacturing facilities were modest — a 55-gallon process vessel strategically placed in the basement of the building would manufacture the company’s only product. And on October 19, 1945, Buckman made its first sale of 200 pounds of that product to the company’s first customer, Whiting Paper Company in Holyoke, Mass.
The company began expanding internationally before the decade was over, and today, boasts a presence in more than 90 countries. Of course, the product catalog changed and grew over time — but the focus on the pulp and paper industry remains; and Buckman has built an immense presence in several other industries, including leather, power, ethanol, oil and gas, and steel, among others. Today, Buckman’s extensive and innovative technologies are manufactured in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Belgium, South Africa, China and Singapore.
Buckman’s 1,700 global associates operate under the leadership of Steven B. Buckman, CEO, who celebrated his personal 40-year anniversary with Buckman in 2014, and Kathy Buckman Gibson, president and COO for Buckman International, who is the third generation of Buckman family leadership.
“When I look back over our history, I am sure that Dr. Stanley Buckman would be proud of how Buckman has continued to grow and thrive,” said Steve Buckman. “We have thrived because we have been willing to adapt and change yet remain Buckman at our core – a company focused on our customers.”
Buckman’s 70-year journey thus far has been full of achievements and accolades, including two U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for its enzymatic technologies. Buckman, which reports to the Global Reporting Initiative on a biannual basis, prides itself on being an environmentally conscious manufacturer, with an ongoing commitment to transparency in reporting and continuous improvement in sustainability.
Furthermore, environmental outreach is one of the three prongs of the company’s philanthropic initiative, BuckmanCares — the other two being education and health and human services. Each year, the BuckmanCares efforts of associates all over the globe positively impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of Buckman’s partners, friends and neighbors.
For the past 70 years, Buckman has remained constant in its focus on customers and stewardship. With such a long, rich history, it’s impossible to recount all of the highlights, developments and accolades Buckman has seen over the years. But if one thing is clear, it is that this company has greatly impacted its associates, its customers, surrounding communities, the industry as a whole, and products, processes and people all over the world.