Lisa Jane Scheller stood in the atrium of Silberline Manufacturing Company's world headquarters in Hometown, marveling at how the firm founded by her grandfather 65 years ago has grown.
Scheller, president and chief executive officer for Silberline, a leading global supplier of effect and performance pigments, also expressed excitement about the company's future, stating that their new products will allow them to become "architects of light."
Silberline held its 65th anniversary celebration Monday morning, an event which included area legislators, employees and invited guests.
"Many things have changed in the past 65 years, and some things are as important today," Lisa Jane Scheller said. "My grandfather, Ernest, established a superior product and exceptional service. We have grown from one small facility to seven manufacturing facilities on three continents."
"The first Silberline factory was smaller than this room," said Ernest Scheller, Jr., Lisa Jane's father and Silberline chairman of the board. "It was in Pennsylvania that we made our greatest leap forward and became the company we are today."
Silberline was founded by Ernest Scheller, Sr., who created America's first privately-owned aluminum pigment company in Stamford, Conn., in 1945.
As the business grew, the company relocated to Lansford in 1962 and, over the course of the next half century, added facilities in Decatur, Ind. (1973); Leven, Fife, Scotland (1975); Hometown (1983); Singapore (1989); Sao Paulo, Brazil (2000); a research and development center in the Tidewood East Industrial Park, Hometown (2000); Mexico (2006) and Suzho, China (2009), employing over 700 worldwide.
Silberline's products are used in a wide range of applications for the automotive, ink, plastics, industrial coatings, and trade and maintenance industries.
Lisa Jane Scheller stressed that Silberline has grown while remaining true to a set of core values that cannot be ignored, based on a strong moral compass.
Those core values include conducting business with integrity, with a focus on the customer and a commitment to its employees, the community, safety, the environment and to continued improvement.
On this anniversary occasion, Silberline received citations from the state Senate and House of Representatives, the United States Congress and letters of congratulations from Gov. Edward Rendell and the U.S. Steel Workers Union.
Keith McCall (D-122), Speaker of the Pa. House of Representatives, read the letter from Rendell and praised the company for its continued commitment to its local communities.
"You have grown into an international enterprise from humble beginnings under the leadership of Ernest and Lisa," said McCall. "We thank you for the family-sustaining jobs and the food they have put on our tables. You have been a wonderful partner in Carbon and Schuylkill Counties."
Jerry Knowles (R-124) has worked with Lisa Jane Scheller as a former president of Tamaqua Industrial Development Enterprises (TIDE), over which she also presided, as well as in his previous capacities as Tamaqua mayor and Schuylkill County commissioner.
"You have been very much a part of the community, both in creating jobs and in working with our economic development entity," said Knowles, as he presented the Pa. House citation.
State Sen. David Argall (R-29) said he observed the company's growth while serving the area previously as a state representative.
"I grew up watching the innovation and entrepreneurship here," said Argall in presenting the Pa. Senate citation. "I've seen companies come and go, but you've continued to grow and grow."
Congressman Timothy Holden (D-17) of St. Clair, presented the citation from the U.S. House of Representatives.
"Your commitment to Schuylkill County to have these good, family-sustaining jobs is so comforting to us," said Holden.
Mark Behrends of ALCOA also presented the Schellers with a plaque in honor of the occasion.
According to Lisa Jane Scheller, Silberline's future will be bright, in a literal sense.
"We will become 'architects of light'," she said, explaining that the company's products will also serve the aesthetic needs of its customers as well as the functional needs.
"They will be in all the colors of the rainbow, and even those invisible to the human eye," she added. "Our products will not only be pretty but have other functions as well."
Lisa Jane presented a gift of a glass pyramid to her parents, Ernest and Roberta.
"The pyramid's prismatic qualities represent our products of the future," she said, noting that the pyramid would also be presented to the company's employees and guests.
She also announced that the company will plant a grove of 65 silver maples in honor of the anniversary, as well as trees in Scotland and China that are indigenous to those countries.
"The trees will be a reminder of our past and the growth to come in the future," she added.