Fragrance Notes Issue 2, 2019 - Page 10

FEATURE butter. “There’s nothing that’ll make you fall in love more than a 3:00am job making peanut butter, right?!” he says, laughing. After getting married, the couple was transferred to New Jersey and worked in the Staten Island, New York Facility—a big change of pace from the sleepy South. But after five years at P&G, Ken had an awakening that the corporate life was just not for him. “I have an entrepreneurial spirit and I’m kind of a jack of all trades,” he says. In hindsight, he notes he probably would have been better suited to start out on the marketing or sales side, rather than manufacturing side. “But, at the time, I didn’t see a clear path to that.” BROTHERS IN BUSINESS “With fragrance, there’s a technical side to it and a creative side… I felt like that would really allow me to stretch out and use all of the tools I had.” Ken and Virginia syntheses, and how to smell things. In addition to a solid foundation in aroma chemicals, Ken gained exposure to classic chemical engineering. “I got to size heat exchangers and calculate mass balances, play with steam traps, learned quality control systems, Gas chromatography and direct current mass spectrometry [a tool used to measure the mass-to-charge ratio of one or more molecules present in a sample]. They exposed me to a lot of different things associated with chemical processors and industries and the fragrance industry.” He quickly learned that, unlike with a lot of other materials, with fragrance ingredients you couldn’t just do a qualitative, quantitative analysis and be done. “There’s also the added step of smelling it to make 10 | FRAGRANCENOTES.ORG | Issue 2, 2019 sure it smells right. It can meet all the other specs and still smell wrong. So, you always have to smell it. That’s where I learned about an odor panel, and odor control, and things like that. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a great training ground and a great foundation for what would become my career.” After graduating from college, the industry was contracting, and SCM-Glidco didn’t have space to hire him, so Ken took a job with Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) in Lexington, Kentucky. Working in in the food division, he was a production manager, process manager, and then in process control as a chemical engineer. He recalls how he met his first wife, an electrical engineer, while he was rotating shifts making peanut Once again, with the guiding hand of his brother, Ken landed on his feet. After leaving SCM-Glidco, his brother set out on his own, hiring Ken to oversee sales, and their company, Florachem, was officially born. The brothers started out selling naval stores-type ingredients, such as fatty acids and pine oil, and eventually added aroma chemicals because of their prior experience. “There were a lot of flavor and fragrance companies in New Jersey, and we could bring in material from around the world in larger quantities, break it up into smaller quantities, and distribute it to these small- to medium-size companies, which was our sweet spot,” he says. The business eventually grew to $20 million+ in revenue, and the brothers sold it to an investment company but stayed on in leadership positions. Over the years, Ken had built a relationship with Daniel “Dan” G. Funsch, who at the time was a salesman for and later became chairman, CEO, and owner of Intarome, a mid-sized manufacturer of custom fragrances and flavors used in fine fragrance, personal care, household, laundry care, air care, cosmetics, and industrial and institutional product applications. The two would go on sales calls together, with Dan selling fragrance and Ken selling ingredients, and soon enough they became very good friends. After Dan purchased Intarome and became the sole owner, he offered Ken a job,