For more than 40 years, Micro Powders, Inc. (MPI) has been developing and manufacturing specialty micronized waxes, wax dispersions and emulsions for the paint, printing ink, coatings, and personal care markets. Today, the family-owned company offers more than 200 innovative products.
Warren Pushaw has been with Micro Powders for more than 30 years. He started with MPI back in 1982, beginning on the technical side, and became the company’s president in 2005. In April, he will be retiring; however, he will remain on the company’s board of directors. His decision to join MPI came as a result of his friendship with Jim Strauss, the company’s founder and current chairman of the board.
“I was working at Equitable Bag in Long Island City as an ink chemist, and Jim Strauss was my salesman,” Pushaw recalled. “We hit it off, and needless to say, the rest is history. I went from technical to U.S. domestic sales and technical director, and in 2005, added president to my duties.”
At the time he started, MPI was located in Yonkers, NY. The company eventually moved to Scarsdale, NY and then to Tarrytown, NY 22 years ago.
Pushaw noted that the waxes and additives industry has changed a lot since 1982.
“The waxes and additives industry has changed over the years,” he said. “The ink industry shifted from offset to flexo and water-based inks and digital inks, and we have been able to quickly react to these changes. We have grown from inks to paints and cosmetics.
“One area of change has been the development and growth of environmentally friendly ink and paint formulations,” Pushaw added. “We’ve been able to do all sorts of great things to waterborne systems. There are really no limits to water-based systems due to the surfactants. We have a great business model. We’ve been able to build something I can believe in, and I believe in our products.”
Pushaw said that he has had a number of influences while at MPI, beginning with Jim Strauss, customers and distributors.
“Jim Strauss, our chairman of the board, has been great to work with,” Pushaw said. “Our customers and distributors have been important influences to me. You can always learn from people who have had success, and good customers are fun to work with.”
Now that he is retiring, Pushaw anticipates having time to enjoy family life and hobbies. He and his wife of 40 years, Elizabeth, have three daughters and four grandchildren.
“My plans are to move to Pennsylvania with Elizabeth, do some traveling around the U.S., and also race my car,” Pushaw added.
As Pushaw moves on, he says the company is in good hands, with Gary Strauss and Deena Strauss Kornblau taking over as MPI’s leaders and the company bringing in lots of talented newcomers.
“The next generation, Gary and Deena, are taking over now,” Pushaw said. “Gary is president and COO, and Deena is CEO. They have been working at MPI for numerous years and are well prepared to take over.”
Overall, Pushaw said that that working at Micro Powders has been a tremendous experience.
“It has been a fun ride,” Pushaw concluded. “I love problem solving, and I’ve worked with a lot of really good customers around the world. At smaller companies, you are responsible for what you do. For me, one highlight has been the ability to play a large role in the growth of our company. We are nowhere near to what we were like 40 years ago. Now we are 20 times bigger than what we were, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to be a part of the Micro Powders’ family.”