Chemico Group , Leon Richardson, Carla Walker-Miller

Chemico Group CEO Leon C. Richardson Named 2023 Michigan Minority Hall Of Fame Legend

The founder of one of the largest minority-owned chemical management and distribution companies in the United States is now a Hall of Famer.

The founder of one of the largest minority-owned chemical management and distribution companies in the United States is now a Hall of Famer.

In October, The Chemico Group CEO Leon C. Richardson was celebrated for the transformational impact he’s made on Michigan’s minority business growth. He was named a 2023 Michigan Minority Hall of Fame Legend by the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC), according to a press release provided to BLACK ENTERPRISE. The honor also recognized trailblazers who are “driving the state’s economy while empowering communities that are often left behind.”

A Chemico Group board member was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. Carla Walker-Miller is founder and CEO of Walker-Miller Energy Services, a 22-year-old values-driven, B Corp certified company. 

The Southfield, Michigan-based Chemico Group is standing tall after an impressive 34 years in business.

BE named the veteran-owned company to its list of the top 100 Black Businesses several times. Richardson’s indelible legacy also landed on the 2013 BE Industrial/Services Companies of the Year list with $85.8 million in revenues as well as a slew of additional mentors answered. 

Since then, the Chemico Group’s team of more than 300 minority employees have been intentional in diversifying operations. For example, the Chemico Group invested $2.5 million to provide chemical management services to Fiat Chrysler plants in Mexico and offered similar services at Honeywell plants throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

“To avoid ebbs and flows that come from focusing on any specific industry, we have diversified our operations. We look for industries where paint is applied or the end unit has wheels. Cars, trucks, airplanes and jeeps all have wheels, making them part of the automotive, trucking, aerospace and defense contractor industries,” Richardson told BE in 2016. “Compressors and refrigerators have paint and are part of the heavy manufacturer and appliance industries. By 2020, we want to be in the $300 million to $400 million revenue range.”

Furthermore, Richardson is a proud financier, mentor, and champion for Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) development. He has served on the Board for the MMSDC for more than 15 years. As evidence of this, Chemico Group committed $26 million with other MBEs since 2014, which is an average minority spend of 5% annually, the company’s website stated. MMSDC awarded Chemico its Supplier of the Year Class IV Award in 2017.

At the 2016 BLACK ENTERPRISE Entrepreneur Summit, Richardson shared his experience on his mentor-protege relationships. The founder and CEO of Ellis Island Tea Nahlah Ellis-Brown admitted that her brand went from car trunk sales to Whole Foods after gaining access to financing and mentorship. Richardson funded her production facility by way of his company and provided Ellis-Brown with strategic planning support and accounting services needed to restructure production costs, BE previously reported.

“The only way to bridge that gap and improve economic wealth in the African American community is by educating the next generation in entrepreneur-ism,” Richardson said.

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