Whip Mix was started by the Steinbock brothers and some money that they convinced others in the family to invest. But more importantly, Ed Steinbock Sr. showed uncommon skill in attracting individuals and multiple family members, providing the company with panoply of talent and diverse skills that continue to this day.
The first such “star” was a young U of L Masters student in Chemical Engineering, Robert Neiman. Bob was hired by Ed Sr as a co-op student at the rate of 38 cents an hour. Upon graduation at the height of the depression in December, 1935, Bob eagerly accepted a position as a chemist at Whip Mix and he never retired, becoming the Vice President of R&D — working six days a week and hardly ever taking a vacation for over 63 years – right up till his death after a brief illness in January 1999. Bob was a perfectionist, a thinker, a big believer in practicality and a rabid sports fan, especially of Louisville Cardinal Athletics. His fingerprints are on all the mechanical and chemical products that we introduced during that period – and his dedication allowed Ed Sr. to spend more time with our customers. We’ll have to dedicate another chapter down the road to Bob in order to do him justice.
Harvey W. Sollinger, our second “star”, was born and grew up in Holland. Fluent in Dutch, German, Spanish, French and English (and understanding 3 more languages), Harvey found employment at Whip Mix in 1949 as an Accountant. But his true talents were in the sales area and Harvey truly believed that international sales of our products would prove of long term benefit to the company. Export sales became a strong leadership role for Harvey and eventually the Company was awarded the President’s E and E-Star awards by the US Dept of Commerce in the 1960’s, the first dental company to be so recognized.
Following service in the US Navy during WW II, Ed Steinbock Jr (our third “star”) joined the family business and used his Mechanical Engineering degree and practical bent to produce the newly patented Whip Mix vacuum mixing and investing equipment. He and his Dad recruited another “star” when Jack Reilly was hired in 1956 to head up all purchasing and finance, eventually becoming the Company’s Secretary-Treasurer.
After the death of Ed Sr in 1957, Ed Jr. began to focus on broadening our Mechanical product line and our dental school sales; Harvey handled exports and plant operations, Jack Reilly focused on Purchasing & Finance; and Bob Neiman kept improving the dental gypsums and refractory investments that our reputation was built upon. Every Saturday ( with the exception of Bob who went to synagogue services on Saturday) the 3 of them (with a much younger Allen Steinbock in tow) would work till lunch time and then adjourn to the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant on Eastern Parkway for lunch and discussions of how to improve Whip Mix products and their distribution. As for Allen, he would alternate between ordering the meatloaf or the roast turkey — each with lots of mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans.
That orange-roofed restaurant has since been demolished and replaced by a Walgreens, but we continue our quest for dependable dental products that can uphold the Whip Mix reputation for reliability. And Jack Reilly’s son, Bob, now has over 35 years of service to the company, currently supervising our Shipping & Receiving Departments and having the reputation for dependability in his own right. He often is the last one out the door, making sure the coffee pot is unplugged and the last overnight shipment has been picked up.
Yes, Whip Mix is blessed in these ways and more by the dedication of so many team members over the last 95 years.