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IRMCO Advanced Lubricant Technologies, 2117 Greenleaf St., celebrated its 100-year anniversary on June 20. The company threw a big party on its grounds and, despite the torrential downpour, enjoyed the occasion with employees and their families, partners from across the world, local City Council members and neighbors.
IRMCO is a manufacturer of oil-free metal-forming and tube-bending lubricants. The company was founded in 1914 by William Oats Jeffery, a mining immigrant from England. International Refining & Mfg. Co was originally located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then moved to Evanston in 1919. The current building with multiple expansions has, been occupied for the last 95 years. IRMCO continues the family tradition with fourth-generation leadership in W. Jeff Jeffery as CEO.
“With the 100-year anniversary, I’ve had a chance to reflect more than usual,” said Mr. Jeffery. “The main reason for our success is that we’ve worked shirt sleeve to shirt sleeve” with the next generation of family. IRMCO has a strong business structure. Family members must work in the company to benefit from the company, said Mr. Jeffery; this company is “not a trust fund.”
Mr. Jeffery said the family atmosphere also extends to employees. “We treat people with respect. We talk about having the balance of three: spirituality, work and family. You can’t find that balance if you’re getting torn up at work. Our people feel valued, so they stay.”
“The culture, the people, the team atmosphere” are what makes IRMCO successful, said Jennifer Kalas, IRMCO president. “Most employees come and never leave.”
“Congratulations to IRMCO,” said Second Ward Alderman Peter Braithwaite. “The company has always been a good neighbor and is very generous to the Evanston community.”