Rust-Oleum is Kenosha County Business of the Year

Rust-Oleum Inc.

Industry: Coatings

Address: 8105 95th St., Pleasant Prairie and 8505 50th St., Kenosha

Employees: 1,400 global; 341 in Kenosha County

Rust-Oleum Corp. plans to expand its Kenosha distribution center from 600,000 to 850,000 square feet in the next year.

The Vernon Hills, Ill.-based coating manufacturing company, which also has a manufacturing facility in Kenosha, recently received the Kenosha County Business of the Year award at the Kenosha County Business Excellence Awards presented by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce. The award honors a firm that has been in business for at least five years and has more than 30 employees.

The company, which has 341 employees in Kenosha County and 1,400 worldwide, makes coatings for a variety of applications. Most of its products are used in homes and industry.

Rust-Oleum was founded in 1921 by a sea captain, Robert Fergusson, who noticed fish oil that got on his boat’s deck stopped corrosion and rust of the metal in that area. The first Rust-Oleum product, a rust-preventing paint, was made with fish oil.

Since then, the company has expanded beyond metal to manufacture paints, primers, sealants and sprays that can be used on more than 50 surfaces. They have been used on the Space Shuttle and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Rust-Oleum received the award for its continuous investment in the community, including history of growth in sales and employment, introduction of new products and services, community engagement and overall economic impact on Kenosha County.

The company has added more than 50 jobs in Kenosha County in the last year and has donated hundreds of hours to local charities through Rust-Oleum Cares.

Rust-Oleum has grown tenfold over the past 10 years. It has 11 plants in North America. The Pleasant Prairie operation was established in 1989.

The company attributed its growth to its consistent introduction of innovative products.

Its NeverWet product, a super-hydrophobic spray that repels water from surfaces, has generated a great deal of interest from consumers since it was launched in June. The NeverWet technology could be used for other applications, and the company is evaluating additional opportunities.

In June, the company announced it will invest $1.3 million to upgrade its Pleasant Prairie small batch spray paint production, which will create 54 new jobs.

Rust-Oleum also acquired certain assets of Ohio primers and coatings manufacturer XIM Products Inc. in July. The addition is expected to broaden the company’s portfolio of specialty coatings to provide more solutions for customers.

“We are honored to be chosen as this year’s Kenosha Business of the Year,” said Tom Reed, president and chief operating officer. “Rust-Oleum is committed to giving back to communities through monetary and volunteer donations and we appreciate the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce and KABA’s recognition for the positive impact our program has had in Kenosha.”

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