50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2016

Touching many aspects of people’s daily lives with adhesives: H.B. Fuller



Everything in today’s world is changing and along with it, manufactured goods and consumer demands are changing as well. Whether it is a new cell phone or tablet, lighter vehicles, high-performance textiles, or packaging that keeps food fresher for longer periods of time, change is inevitable. And, making the most out of this opportunity is H.B. Fuller, an adhesive supplier that helps manufacturers produce their product(s) faster and better and at a lower total overall cost of use. The company is helping its customers to innovate by enabling lighter-weight and very different substrates to be bonded together.

Founded in 1887 by Harvey Benjamin Fuller as a one-man wallpaper-paste shop, H.B. Fuller was initially incorporated as the Fuller Manufacturing Company, reincorporated as the H.B. Fuller Company in 1915 and, thereafter, became a publicly held company in 1968. In 2002, trading of H.B. Fuller’s stock moved to the NYSE, and today, H.B. Fuller has a direct presence in 45 locations around the world with sales in over 100 countries.

Offering the best combination of creative technology and business values
Talking about H.B. Fuller’s offerings, Jim Owens said, “When somebody creates a product with high consumer value that uses a very small amount of adhesive, we pick that opportunity and turn it to our advantage. Advances in epoxy, acrylic, urethane liquid and flexible, thin adhesives are enabling engineers to meet the appearance, structural integrity and strength requirements of many of today’s great designs. The opportunities are boundless, and the complexity of this business works in our favor. Complex businesses with multiple chemistries and varying end-use requirements allow us to become experts in these specific markets and provide value for customers.And, at H.B. Fuller, we bring in-depth knowledge of our customers’ industries and economic conditions to help them innovate and solve the specific challenges they face.”

Team H.B. Fuller has carried on a tradition of developing innovative adhesive solutions to meet the needs of customers since its inception. As a leading global adhesives provider focusing on perfecting adhesives, sealants and other specialty chemical products to improve products and lives, the company serves customers in the engineering, electronic and assembly materials, hygiene, construction, automotive, packaging, labeling, woodworking and other consumer markets with expertise and dedication.

H.B. Fuller has been a leading global adhesives provider focusing on perfecting adhesives, sealants and other specialty chemical products to improve products and lives. (image: H.B. Fuller)        

A clear-cut strategy enabled roadmap ahead
“Be it a multinational company or local customers across a diverse range of industries, H.B. Fuller provides adhesive solutions to one and all. Our expertise is about more than understanding adhesives. Our strength is in knowing our customers’ businesses inside and out. Whether they produce baby diapers, flat screen TVs or wood flooring applications – our team is focused on our customers, the business and knowing what’s coming next. Our market experts identify the big trends and then create the ideas and solutions that our customers need,” said Owens.

As opposed to its competitors, H.B. Fuller creates competitive advantage by being more nimble and focused, and beats them through agility and speed. With a global approach to business, the company takes new consumer product ideas to the next level. H.B. Fuller has strategically planned its agenda that will drive the company’s future growth by winning in targeted markets, expanding its market presence in key geographies and driving innovation.

“One of our strengths is in how well we partner to develop innovative approaches to customers’ adhesion challenges. We also are broadly recognized and appreciated for the technical expertise and service we bring to our customers. H.B. Fuller has been recognized as a supplier of choice by multiple partners, and while we do provide adhesive solutions to many well-recognized companies and brands, we respect the confidentiality of our customers and their businesses,” he added.

Did You Know

  • H.B. Fuller has 45 sites worldwide, corporate headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota; European headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland and Asia headquarters in Shanghai, China.
  • H.B. Fuller’s Executive Committee Members include Jim Owens (effective November ‘10), President and CEO; John Corkrean (effective May ‘17), Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; James Giertz, Executive Vice President, Strategy; Traci Jensen, Senior Vice President, Americas; Steven Kenny, Senior Vice President, Emerging Markets; Patrick Kivits, Senior Vice President, EIMEA (Europe, India, Middle East, Africa); Zhiwei Cai, Vice President, Engineering Adhesives; Heather Campe, Vice President, Asia Pacific; Paula Cooney, Vice President, Human Resources; Elin Gabriel, Vice President, Global Operations; Timothy Keenan, Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.
  • In 2015, the percentages of total net revenue geographically were: Americas– 53%; Europe, India, Middle East, Africa (EIMEA) – 29%; Asia Pacific – 18%.

Know the CEO

Jim Owens was appointed as President and CEO of H.B. Fuller in November 2010. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President of Americas, from January to November 2010, and Senior Vice President of North America, from August 2008 to January 2010. His nearly 30-year career has been focused on adhesives.

He also has served as the Senior Vice President of Henkel Corporation and held a variety of leadership positions at National Adhesives. He has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

At present, he also serves as a Director for Donaldson Company, Inc., and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business Board of Overseers and its Executive Education Advisory Board. He formerly served as Chair and Treasurer of the Adhesive and Sealant Council.