SEKISUI Companies in Europe: Interview with Mike George (Vice President Sekisui Specialty Chemicals)

As a group of companies, SEKISUI in Europe provides a vast array of innovative products and services, engages around 1,000 employees and combines the strength of various great companies. One of these companies is Sekisui Specialty Chemicals – with its Vice President Mike George. We met him for a personal interview and talked with him about the company’s business as well as its role within the SEKISUI group in Europe.

Read the whole interview and some more information on Sekisui Specialty Chemicals here:

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us about your career at SEKISUI so far?

My name is Mike George and I am the Vice President of Sekisui Specialty Chemicals Europe. I started working for Sekisui in 2013 as the Commercial Director for our European business, then moving to a Global Marketing role 2 years later.  In 2015, I took over the role as Vice President and have been doing it since then, in addition to my Marketing responsibilities.


What is your role as Vice President at Sekisui Specialty Chemicals?

My primary day to day activity involves working together with the various team members within the European organisation such as Operations, Sales, Logistics, Finance and HR. Our main focus is to ensure we are operating safely at our plant in Tarragona, Spain, while at the same time working on initiatives that will improve the overall performance of our business.  Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions but the attitude and hard work of our team usually results in a positive outcome.


You are working at Sekisui Specialty Chemicals. What is the company doing?

Our primary activity is making polyvinyl alcohol, a chemical product which is used in multiple application areas. It finds uses in the manufacture of paper, adhesives, cements, cosmetics, water-soluble films as well as being a major raw material of polyvinyl butyral resin, a product manufactured by our sister company S-lec.  Some of the products that you might be aware of that include polyvinyl alcohol are cosmetic face masks and toy slime. It really is everywhere!


What benefits do you offer to your customers?

We make a full portfolio of polyvinyl alcohol resins either at our plant in Spain or at our sister locations in the US.  Our aim is to provide high quality products with unparalleled service, and we spend a lot of time talking to customers about future needs and development opportunities.


If you had one wish regarding your business, what would it be?

Right now, our main goal is to build a successful, sustainable business that meets the needs of our customers across the world.


What is great about working for SEKISUI Specialty Chemicals?

I have been in the unusual situation of having worked in the polyvinyl business under the ownership of three different companies. There is no doubt that SEKISUI is the best place for it to be!  The level of support from our colleagues is excellent, and with S-lec being a key partner of ours, there is a lot of synergy.


How do you think the different SEKISUI companies in Europe could work together?

This is an area where I think we can still improve. We are a diverse bunch of businesses and sometimes the synergies between our companies are not obvious.  However, sometimes the diversity can be a strength and it is important that we work together to identify areas where we can do more.  Human Resources is an area specifically where I think we can do more, and this is important as we continue to grow and develop as a European entity.


What does being a part of SEKISUI in Europe mean to you?

Being part of SEKISUI in Europe makes me feel part of a much bigger organisation.  Sometimes when you are focused on your own business, you can forget about the size and strength of our organisation.  Meeting and working with colleagues in other businesses makes me feel excited about what we can achieve by working together.


What do you like most about your position as Vice President?

It’s a very typical answer I think, but the variety of activity is the best part.  Working on investment plans, financial programs, HR activity, customer engagement – no two days are ever the same!  It also gives me chance to work with people throughout our organisation as well as colleagues in other Sekisui companies, both in Europe and Japan.


What was the best advice someone ever gave to you?

Do not confuse activity with achievement!  It is important that everyone understands the value of the work they are doing, and that being busy doesn’t necessarily mean that the work is valuable, and it is important that we are always looking to focus on activities that will help us achieve success.


What did you always want to say to your team?

Be proud of what you do and how it contributes to the success of the company you work for.  Show respect to others you work with, both inside and outside your company.  And perhaps most importantly: Have fun!

SEKISUI Specialty Chemicals was formed on July 1, 2009, when the SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group acquired the polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) business from Celanese. Together with other global facilities, SEKISUI Specialty Chemicals Europe (SSCE) provides a comprehensive range of PVOH products for use in various industries including packaging, paper, adhesives and personal care. The acquisition of this business was part of a strategic investment to meet the growing demand for high quality, high performance products on a global scale.

The mission of SEKISUI Specialty Chemicals is to produce and sell high-quality Selvol™ PVOH resin and Advasol™ water-soluble film while surpassing customer quality specifications and offering efficient global technical support.

The company produces Selvol™, one of the most comprehensive lines of polyvinyl alcohol polymers and copolymers. Selvol™, a trusted additive for adhesives and paper manufacturers, is

used in a variety of applications such as paper coatings, wood adhesives, personal care, construction sealants, oil field lubricants and other specialty applications.

SSCE also produces Advasol™, a patented series of water-soluble film that is more resistant to harsh chemicals than other commercially available films. The line serves applications ranging from pool and spa to general household, and industrial/institutional to agricultural applications.

As part of the SEKISUI CHEMICAL Group’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, SEKISUI Specialty Chemicals facilities are all ISO 14001 certified for their environmental management systems.

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