Regional manufacturing company changes lives through employment
Nehemiah Manufacturing Company is helping a seemingly unemployable population find – and keep – jobs. The company builds on an understanding of consumer products manufacturing to employ people who have a criminal record or a history or drug abuse. Nehemiah’s recent growth and its mission is being recognized by local economic developers.
On March 2, Nehemiah earned a James A. Wuenker Growth Award from the Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Cincinnati. Based on feedback from a panel of local economic development practitioners, Nehemiah Manufacturing was named as one of four winners. Other Growth Award winners include Medpace, Inc.; Quotient Technologies; and Safran Landing Systems. These four projects were selected from more than 90 completed throughout the three-state, 15-county Greater Cincinnati region in 2016.
Founded in 2009, Nehemiah was built on the concept of profit with a purpose. After spending many years working in the consumer products industry, the company’s founders connected with Procter and Gamble to license its Pampers Kandoo wipes product line. The founders were not simply looking for an opportunity to build consumer brands, they wanted to provide an employment path for people with criminal records or previous histories of drug abuse. Currently, Nehemiah’s quick growth is forcing the company to work from several locations throughout Greater Cincinnati – and company leaders needed to bring operations back under one roof.
“Running [operations] out of two locations was just inefficient,” said Richard Palmer, president of Nehemiah Manufacturing. “We housed materials in one place, manufactured products in another and brought those finished products back to the original warehouse to store before shipping. It just wasn’t working for us.”
While Nehemiah could operate anywhere in the U.S., it found the perfect property in Lower Price Hill. Located close to the population the company serves, employees can walk to work or easily take a bus. The manufacturing space is close to major highways that make shipping simpler, and it is near the social services Nehemiah’s employees need to access. “We hope to be a beacon in the community,” said Dan Meyer, CEO of Nehemiah Manufacturing. “If we can employ just 60 people, and each of those people touch just ten others, we’ve already changed more than 600 lives. Just imagine what that kind of transformation can mean for our community.”
The company’s founders wanted to do more than simply write a check to help the region’s jobless population. They understood partnering with large consumer products companies could create manufacturing and distribution jobs while giving necessary job experience to a population that is often written off as “unemployable.”
“We’ve found the most loyal employees are the ones who needed a second chance,” said Palmer.
Nehemiah and its fellow winners were recognized during REDI’s annual meeting at the Monastery Event Center on March 2, 2017.
PHOTO: Johnna Reeder, Mark Wuellner, Nehemiah Manufacturing President Richard Palmer, Oscar Bedolla and Jeff Wuenker at REDI Cincinnati’s 2017 annual meeting in Cincinnati, Thursday, March 2, 2017. (Steve Ziegelmeyer/REDI Cincinnati)