- As a young man in his early 20’s, Steve was introduced to West American Rubber Company (WARCO) by his mother, Alda, a key member and long-term employee of the company’s Extrusion Department. Alda helped Steve secure an entry–level position with WARCO, explaining that the rest was up to him.
- Steve’s intention was to work only part–time during the summer while he continued looking for his “true calling”. 40 years later, he’s happy to say that he found his true calling. At WARCO’s 100th anniversary celebration in the Fall of 2010, Steve explained that from the first day he walked into the factory, he had an undeniable affection for WARCO.
Early Years and Career
- From 1971 to 1977, Steve was exposed to all facets of the business, performing 18 different job functions throughout the factory and laboratory. He was promoted to Vice President in 1977 and was named President in 1983. In 1986, Steve and his partners acquired an option to purchase the company and, in 1992, they successfully exercised the option.
- During his tenure, Steve has overseen the dramatic expansion of what was, a $5.0 million a year enterprise when he started. His vision and keen management have guided the company through impressive periods of growth, expansion into new markets as well as engineering several acquisitions.
Gone, But Not for Good
- In 1998, Steve and his partners sold the company to a private equity firm, though Steve maintained a special bond with WARCO. In late 2001 Steve, along with his brother Ken, re-acquired the business.
- In 2006, Steve along with WARCO’s Management Team, spearheaded the acquisition of the Biltrite Corporation’s Ripley, Mississippi based sheet rubber and rubber matting business; creating the leader in the U.S. sheet rubber products marketplace, WARCO BILTRITE.
- Late 2007 marked the beginning of the most severe economic recession in U.S. history since the Great Depression. While WARCO BILTRITE was certainly not immune to this recession that affected the entire nation, Steve provided the insight and guidance necessary to ensure survival. Today, WARCO BILTRITE stands strong as a testament to his leadership.
Congratulations and Thank You
- Please join the WARCO Family in congratulating Steve on his tremendous achievement as we thank him for his many years of tireless service to WARCO.
From Jim deLeo, President & CEO of West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Hard to believe starting as a Press operator to owning and transforming a simple rubber company into this major rubber company – and all with the Hemstreet flare. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for your next years at WARCO BILTRITE. Happy 40th, Steve.” – Jim
From Bob Greer, West American Rubber Company – Sequim, WA
- “Hi Steve (aka “Mothership”)!
- You have had quite a journey over the years with “WARCO BILTRITE” as your vehicle and have made an indelible mark on the Company and its Officers, Directors and employees. I am proud to have been associated with you and consider you a true friend.
- Congratulations on your 40th anniversary with WARCO BILTRITE!
- All the Best!” – Bob
From Ben Martinez, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Congratulations on your 40th anniversary at WARCO BILTRITE! Thanks for the incredible leadership and guidance you’ve given me during my tenure at WARCO BILTRITE.” – Ben
From Indra Purnawan, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Happy 40th Anniversary Steve, Best wishes.” – Indra
From Dan Kent, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Thank you for your leadership… And your patience.” – Dan
From Mike Escobedo, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “I’ve always admired your hard work and dedication. 40 years of loyal service to WARCO BILTRITE says just that. You have helped make WARCO BILTRITE a company you can be proud to say you work for. I wish you many more years of continued success.” – Mike
From Dorothy David, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Hearty congratulations on your 40th anniversary with WARCO BILTRITE. Reminds me of what our Dad often said: “Heights of great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept were climbing upwards in the night.” Many thanks for your example.” – Dorothy
From Darlene Hall, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Congratulations on your 40 year anniversary. Enjoy working here, especially when your mom was here. She made me laugh. There have been so many changes all these years. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!” – Darlene
From Irene McCartney–Milton, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Congratulations!! 40 years. I have to tell you that whenever I see you, I think about my first day here when you told me you were the janitor. Then you said “They” make you wear a tie! I almost believed it and almost asked you if you could clean my keyboard! You sure have a poker face. (Nicole told me who you were later.) WARCO BILTRITE is a great company to work for so “Thank You” for having me. Congratulations again.” – Irene
From Carlos Heredia, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Congratulations! Mr. Hemstreet on your 40th anniversary. I have worked here at WARCO BILTRITE for several years, in several different departments and I would like to say thank you very much for the opportunity and for all you have done, for me and my family. I hope you are blessed with prosperity and success in the years to come. Once again thank you and God bless.” – Carlos
From Sandra Martinez, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Your efforts have paid off. Congratulations on your 40th anniversary!” – Sandra
From Manuel Valenzuela, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Congratulations on 40 years with the company. Hope you enjoy many more years.” – Manuel
From Cathy Thomas, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Congratulations on your 40 years with WARCO BILTRITE. Hope you make another 40 years.” – Cathy
From David Siranjeevi, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “Congratulations on this special milestone year with WARCO BILTRITE with memories of the past and bright hopes for the future. Thanks for all you have done over the years.” – David
From Steve Martinez, West American Rubber Company – Orange, CA
- “It is a wonderful occurrence when a person on this vast Earth has his eyes lit up with a possibility; it is a grander and more beautiful thing when a person actually sets himself on a path to seize it. A simple rubber company set electricity through the filament of a wandering 24 year old 40 years ago. I am glad to say it still shines brightly. Thank you for lighting the way forward for all of us here at WARCO BILTRITE. I know your flame will always help guide this company beyond another 40 years…whatever form WARCO BILTRITE may have by then!” – Steve
From Larry Babcock, Biltrite Ripley Operations – Ripley, MS
- “Congratulations Steve! 40 years is a long time for a person to persevere in any endeavor. Your accomplishment speaks of commitment, patience and longer suffering, endurance, hard work and mastery of will, all very praiseworthy character traits that exemplify the great person that all of us in Ripley know as Steve Hemstreet. May you see many more years filled with the rich rewards of your accomplishments.” – Larry
From David Akins, Biltrite Ripley Operations – Ripley, MS
- “Congratulations on a very special accomplishment and may you be blessed with many more great years.” – David
From Ron Shaffer, Biltrite Ripley Operations – Ripley, MS
- “Congratulations, Steve. The 40 years is a great accomplishment, but the outstanding achievements during that time are the real story. May you have many more successful years. Thanks.” – Ron
From Laquita Wilkerson, Biltrite Ripley Operations – Ripley, MS
- “Congratulations on your 40th anniversary and your well-deserved success! I was so excited and thankful when you made that “purchase” on November 17, 2006! Again, sincerest congratulations and best wishes for the future!” – Laquita
From Ruth Vance, Biltrite Ripley Operations – Ripley, MS
- “Congratulations Steve, 40 years, Great job! I think I was the first smiling face you saw when you visited Biltrite and I’m still smiling. Wishing you many, many more blessed years. Congrats!!!!” – Ruth
From Jessie Rabino, Friend – Caloocan City, AL
- “Hi sir, sorry for the late greetings!!!!!! HAPPY 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF SERVICE AT WARCO BILTRITE!!! I wish you more success and more power for the next years… GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!!” – Jessie