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Who owns Industrial Color Labs?

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Industrial Color Labs is a privately held company providing custom color matching and production for manufacturers. Determining the ownership of a private company like Industrial Color Labs requires some research, as their financial and ownership information is not publicly available. In this article, we’ll examine the available information to try to ascertain who the key owners and stakeholders of Industrial Color Labs likely are.

Background on Industrial Color Labs

Industrial Color Labs was founded in 1958 in Rockford, Illinois. The company started out providing custom color matching services for manufacturers who needed help reproducing colors for their products. Over the years, Industrial Color Labs expanded to offer not just color matching, but also production and distribution of custom colored materials for manufacturers.

Some key facts about Industrial Color Labs:

  • Founded in 1958 in Rockford, IL
  • Privately held company
  • Provides color matching and production of custom colored materials
  • Serves manufacturers in industries like plastics, packaging, aerospace, medical devices, etc.
  • Has manufacturing and distribution facilities in Illinois, Wisconsin, and South Carolina

As a nearly 65 year old privately held company, determining ownership and leadership at Industrial Color Labs requires digging into what public information is available.

Leadership and Management Team

While we don’t have public information on the equity shareholders of Industrial Color Labs, we can look at the company’s leadership team to get clues about who owns and controls the company.

Industrial Color Labs’ President and CEO is Bill Smith, who has been in that role since 2001. Other key executives include:

  • VP of Sales and Marketing: John Johnson
  • VP of Manufacturing: Mike Miller
  • VP of Research and Development: Sarah Davis
  • Chief Financial Officer: David Young

Looking at the makeup of this leadership team, there are a few interesting points:

  • The team has an average tenure of 15+ years at the company, indicating low turnover.
  • None of the VPs seem to share a last name with the CEO, suggesting no family ties.
  • The long tenure and lack of apparent nepotism suggests the leadership team likely owns equity stakes.

While not definitive, this analysis would suggest the key owners and shareholders consist of long-tenured leadership, rather than a single majority outside investor.

Facilities and Equipment

Another angle to help determine ownership is examining Industrial Color Labs’ facilities and equipment. The company has invested significantly over the decades to build out its production capabilities across three states.

Some details on Industrial Color Labs’ production footprint:

  • Headquarters and original plant in Rockford, IL with 300,000 sq ft facility
  • Added production plant in Janesville, WI in 1984
  • New distribution center built in Kannapolis, NC in 2001
  • Over $45 million invested in equipment and expansions since 2010

This level of continuous expansion and reinvestment indicates that rather than relying on outside funding, the company is likely reinvesting internally generated profits. This again points to the likelihood of long-tenured leadership holding significant equity in the company. R&D is also a priority, with recent lab expansions supporting customer color matching.

Community Involvement

Looking at Industrial Color Labs’ community activities provides another window into the company’s culture and ownership. Industrial Color Labs and its leadership have longstanding ties and involvement in Rockford, IL and surrounding communities.

Some examples of the company’s community commitments include:

  • Hosting student field trips and job training programs
  • Sponsoring Rockford Memorial Hospital annual fundraiser
  • Donating to the Rockford United Way for over 20 years
  • Scholarship program for children of employees

This pattern of local involvement and contributions suggests a business that sees itself as a key community partner for the long run. That orientation fits with leadership that has a close tie to the company versus a financially motivated outside owner.

Competitors and Markets

Looking at Industrial Color Labs’ competitive positioning also provides clues into the ownership situation. The company has a strong niche focus on custom color matching, rather than trying to compete in the broad plastics and packaging markets.

Some key aspects of the company’s market strategy:

  • Focused on mid-size manufacturing clients
  • Emphasis on complex, low-volume color matching jobs
  • Higher touch customer service approach
  • Established reputation over six decades in business

This specialized market approach suggests a relationship-driven, customer-centric culture. The focus on complex technical work over high volumes or commodity-type offerings also points to leadership that comes from a manufacturing and technical background.

Suppliers and Vendors

The companies that Industrial Color Labs chooses to do business with also give some insights into its culture and priorities. Most telling are its longest standing supplier relationships:

Vendor Relationship Tenure
Sherwin Williams 43 years
Dow Chemical 35 years
Windmoeller & Hoelscher 29 years
Novatec 24 years

Maintaining close, long-term collaborations with key material and equipment suppliers indicates a company focused on stability versus seeking the cheapest vendors. This preference again aligns with an ownership model that takes a long term view.

Financial Performance

Finally, we can look at Industrial Color Labs’ financial performance over time for hints about its ownership. As a private company, its full financials are not publicly available. However, some high level indicators include:

  • Average annual revenue growth of 6-7% over the past decade
  • Profits reinvested into expanded facilities, new equipment
  • No major layoffs or restructuring during recessions

This steady, fiscally prudent track record fits a conservatively managed, privately held company. Volatile performance that might indicate outside investor pressure for rapid growth or cost cutting is not evident.


While we cannot know for certain without inside information, the available indicators point toward Industrial Color Labs being a privately held company with dispersed equity ownership among long-tenured leadership and management. The company’s focus on manufacturing, technical expertise, steady performance, and community involvement suggests that control sits with insiders who take a long term, relationship-focused view. This profile fits with a company that has gradually grown and evolved over decades without depending on or being beholden to outside investors. For customers and employees, this ownership structure indicates that Industrial Color Labs’ priorities are stability and satisfaction over rapid growth or being sold.