Joe Keller-Extraordinary Businessman
Kel Chemicals, the company he founded in 1972, manufactures a countless number of wet and dry chemical blends for the textile, paper and industrial industries. Kel Chemicals also does custom toll manufacturing for companies across the country. In addition, Keller fielded a NASCAR Busch Series entry for his son, Jason, who went on to become of the most successful drivers in the history of the division.
To be a success in either industry - chemical manufacturing or racing - Keller acknowledges the fact that it is imperative to be as competitive as possible in the marketplace. It’s a business philosophy that he incorporates into everyday life at Kel Chemicals.
“If you get just a little bit behind on any of your technology, you fall behind so quickly,” Keller admits. “You have to be quality conscious. You have to stay competitive in what you’re doing. You’ve got to keep your product in line from a price standpoint too.
“If any of those get out of proportions - technology, quality, competitiveness - then there’s somebody next door who will take your business. If someone has a better product in the market than you do at a lower price, then you’re out.”
The emphasis at Kel Chemicals is on providing wet and dry blended chemicals to a wide range of companies. It’s a process that has worked well for more than three decades now.
“We’re a smaller operation that can custom fill the needs of many different levels, “ Keller says. “We fit a lot of people’s needs, being a small company. We can do it a whole lot cheaper, too.”
Another key facet at Kel Chemicals is its employees. A good many of them have been with the company one, two, and even three decades or more.Keller is loyal to the people who work for him, and they to him. As a result, there’s stability at the company’s Greenville, South Carolina plant at this undeniable.
“I listen to any and all of the people who work here,” Keller says. “They’re all treated equal. I don;t care what position they’re in, whether they’re driving a truck or sweeping the floor. They’re equal to me. They’re important to me. I just try to look out for their needs.”
Looking out for the needs of his employees and his customers is one of the key factors in the stability of Kel Chemicals.
From the Track to the Business World, Jason Keller Works for SuccessJason Keller is one of the most successful drivers in the history of the NASCAR Busch Series, and he brings that same level of consistent performance to his family owned, Greenville, South Carolina based, Kel Chemicals.
In 400 career starts in the Busch Series, Keller has 10 wins and 80 top-five finishes. He has won more money than any other competitor in the history of the division. with purses topping the $10 million mark. Only one other driver- Tommy Houston, with 417 - has more starts on the circuit than Keller.
Twice, Keller has finished second in the championship battle. He’s been in the top 10 of the final standings nine times.
“I’ve been very passionate about the Busch Series for a long time,” Keller admits. “The Busch Series has been my home for a long time. I just hope my next 400 starts are going to be as good and competitive as my first 400.”
Kel Chemicals was founded by Joe Keller, Jason’s father, in 1972 and it’s been family owned and operated ever since. The company manufactures a countless number of wet and dry chemical blends for companies around the country. While working with his father and still concentrating on his racing career, Jason Keller sees several similarities between the business and the sporting worlds.
“ Racing is a very competitive business, and the manufacturing business is very competitive,” Keller says. “You have to hold a very high standard in both. My dad has always held to those high standards. He’s always been very, very conscience of making sure the product is made as it’s supposed to be made, in the quality it is supposed to be made.”
Kel Chemicals has also stayed up-to-date with industry trends and emerging markets.
“That’s most definitely important,” Keller continues. “In order for Kel Chemicals to survive as long as it has, we’ve had to diversify into other markets. We’ve had to be able to go into different markets and different areas and stay up with the changing environment. My dad has been able to have the vision to move into other markets.”