Back in 2000, before anyone had tried to do a management buyout in the ink industry, George Sickinger formed a team at Borden Chemical to do just that, forming Color Resolutions International (CRI). Among the people he recruited to join the management team was John Edelbrock, who would become vice president of operations for the new company.
John and Cindy Edelbrock.
“John is very good at setting and accomplishing goals for himself and his people,” said Mr. Sickinger, Color Resolutions International’s president and CEO. “He takes the time to study and think through projects to come up with more lasting solutions in a business that tends to be very reactionary. John has been good at mentoring and developing people and bringing new people into the organization with a high level of skills to better meet the global challenges we face.”
Joining the Ink Industry
Having had experience in the chemical industry, Mr. Edelbrock decided the time was right to pursue his MBA, which he received from Xavier University in 1985. Once he graduated, he joined Borden Chemical as a purchasing manager, where he was also able to use his bachelor’s degree in science.
“I had worked in the chemical industry prior to joining Borden Printing Ink,” Mr. Edelbrock said. “I wanted to continue in the chemical industry and utilize my science and business degrees. Borden provided me formal training within several Borden divisions such as Ice Cream and Food Processing plants, by team auditing selective plants.”
Mr. Edelbrock would eventually shift his attention to Borden’s ink division. By 2000, Borden Chemical was looking to divest some of its non-core businesses, including its ink division. George Sickinger, then vice president and general manager of Borden Chemical’s Coatings and Graphics business group, formed a management buyout group, including Mr. Edelbrock, who joined the new Color Resolutions International (CRI) management team. It was a challenge that Mr. Edelbrock is happy he took on, as CRI developed new approaches to move ahead.
“I was definitely able to bring my skills to the startup,” he noted. “The company was purchased by a seasoned management team. In addition, the majority of Borden employees were hired by CRI. When you can bring your entire team to a new company, you definitely make an impact on the first day.
“Our business focus had to change to become more customer-focused,” Mr. Edelbrock added. “One of the best things we did the first year was to take key managers off-site for one week to develop a three-year strategy for the new company. This set the plans in motion to divest two product lines and begin to make plans to build a new plant around our strengths that we identified during the planning session.”
Mr. Edelbrock credits two of his colleagues at Borden Chemical as major influences on his career.
“I have had two Borden managers that provided growth opportunities to me to advance my career,” Mr. Edelbrock said. “One of those managers is still my boss at Color Resolutions, George Sickinger.
“Tony Stambolos hired me and continued to offer me responsibilities during my tenure at Borden,” Mr. Edelbrock said. “One story I can tell you that I did not comprehend until CRI built their new plant: Tony would challenge me at Borden when I would need to improve a process in Borden’s old facility. He would say, ‘How would you approach the project if you were to build it like new?’ I did not completely understand the challenge until I managed the construction of the CRI plant. At Borden, I was narrowing my focus to what I had at hand instead of letting go of existing barriers and opening up new possibilities or approaches to solve a process situation.
“They believed in me and provided me the resources to make decisions without micromanaging,” Mr. Edelbrock added.
Color Resolutions has enjoyed excellent growth in the past 11 years, despite the challenges that the ink industry has faced. When CRI was formed, it was still using Borden Chemical’s ink facilities, but the company needed to branch out on its own. Mr. Edelbrock was given the task of designing a brand-new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, which has turned out very well indeed for CRI.
“CRI’s new plant has provided the competitive advantage to compete in our industry,” Mr. Edelbrock noted. “We moved into the facility in 2003, and, since then, we have had to change some of our processes to reflect changes in the company’s market direction.”
In addition to his work at Color Resolutions, Mr. Edelbrock is a major supporter of NAPIM and National Printing Ink Research Institute (NPIRI) technical activities, having served as chairman of the 2007 NPIRI Technical Conference as well as co-chair of several NPIRI Technical Conference sessions.
“John believes in contributing his time and talent to the industry that has given CRI and him personally so much. He recognizes that collaborating with other ink companies in technical, environmental and regulatory issues is good for all and adds credibility to our company and industry in the eyes of the customers we serve,” Mr. Sickinger said.
“I have enjoyed it,” Mr. Edelbrock said. “Jim Coleman asked for my involvement with NPIRI years ago. At the time, I was very busy, but found the time to help. We have to continue to give back to those organizations that have provided us with so many opportunities.”
Outside of work, Mr. Edelbrock enjoys family life; he and his wife Cindy have four children, and he also has a number of hobbies. For example, Scouting is a key influence in Mr. Edelbrock’s life.
“I would have to say that one major influence outside of ink has been my involvement with Scouting,” Mr. Edelbrock said. “I grew up in scouting and have continued to support this organization as it prepares young men to become future leaders.
“I have been married for 36 years, and we have raised four children,” Mr. Edelbrock added. “We have not had to move around since both Borden and CRI have stayed in Cincinnati. I enjoy playing golf and exercise three days per week. I enjoy reading financial magazines and market investing. I also collect antiques when I can find a bargain.”
In recognition of Mr. Edelbrock’s leadership at Color Resolutions, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) honored him with the prestigious Printing Ink Pioneer Award during NAPIM’s 2011 annual convention.
“My first thought was that there are others that are more deserving of this award than I,” Mr. Edelbrock said. “Receiving the Pioneer Award is similar to earning the Eagle rank in Scouting. Each award has requirements to meet in order to be eligible. Once the award is achieved, there is a responsibility to be an example for others, maintain a code of conduct and continue to be actively involved.”