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Primex, ICC Industries founder John Farber wins lifetime achievement award

Called the “King of Chemicals”, the Romanian-born Farber moved to the U.S. and founded ICC Chemical Corp. in the 1950s, which played a key role in developing logistics and shipping expertise for the global movement of bulk chemicals.


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October 15, 2018 by Canadian Plastics

The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Thermoforming Division has honoured John Farber, the founder of sheet extruder Primex Plastics Corp. and specialty chemical maker ICC Industries Inc., with its lifetime achievement award.

John Farber.

Called the “King of Chemicals” by one of his biographers, Farber, 93, was born in Romania, and later moved to Israel, where he worked as a laboratory chemist; and then to New York City to complete his doctorate in polymer chemistry. He began to develop sales of U.S.-made paint ingredients and related products into Europe, where industry was recovering from the war. The trading company he founded during that period, now ICC Chemical Corp., played a key role in developing logistics and shipping expertise for the global movement of bulk chemicals.

Today, ICC Industries Inc. is a privately-held group of companies focused on the manufacture, trade and marketing of chemicals, plastics, and related products. Among the holdings of the ICC Group is Primex Plastics Corp., which Farber founded in 1965. Headquartered in Richmond, Indiana, Primex currently has six custom sheet-manufacturing facilities with over 125 extrusion lines; two colour, compounding and additives locations; a design and fabrication facility; and a new technical and innovation centre.

Among the other holdings in the ICC Group are Dover Chemical Corp., an Ohio-based specialty chemicals manufacturer; Konsyl Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Maryland-based provider of health products; and S.C. Azur S.A., which is located in Farber’s home town in Romania and  is the successor of the paint manufacturer originally owned by Farber’s family.

“[Farber’s] entrepreneurial spirit and numerous innovations have helped shape and influence a wide spectrum of industries,” said Bret Joslyn, SPE Thermoforming Division Past Chair. “His expertise has had significant impact on food and beverage development, manufacturing, and thermoforming practices all over the world.  Through rollstock and sheet products, Farber’s influence has touched a lot of thermoformers over the years.”

The award was presented to Farber in absentia on September 25, during SPE’s Thermoforming Awards Dinner at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas.