Originally created 09/14/03

Pocket change



EMPLOYER SPOTLIGHT

PQ CORP.

LOCATION: 2430 Doug Barnard Parkway, south Augusta

HEADQUARTERS: Berwyn, Pa.

PRODUCTS: The chemical plant produces three products: sodium silicate, used in detergents, cleaners and paper; synthetic zeolites, a powdered laundry detergent additive; and hollow microspheres, an additive used in explosives, plastics and paint.

LOCAL EMPLOYEES: 70 (approximate)

2002 SALES: $500 million (corporate)

HISTORY: PQ Corp.'s roots can be traced to a family soap and candle business founded in 1831 by Joseph Elkinton. The company began producing sodium silicate in 1861 for use in soaps. Known then as Philadelphia Quartz, the company grew as sodium silicate uses expanded beyond detergents.

The company built its Augusta plant in 1964 and expanded it in 1975 to produce its Q-Cel brand of microspheres. Additional production capacity was added in 1982, nearly doubling the plant's employment.

Today, the privately held company is the world's largest producer of silicates and is owned by descendants of the founding Elkinton family, management and retirees.

BIZ BITE

Feeling appreciated?

Does the boss say thanks? No? Well, you've got ample company.

More than half of employees in a recent survey by Maritz Inc. said they were never or rarely thanked for their efforts.

However, 35 percent said they were thanked frequently at work. The e-mail poll also revealed that colleagues are much more likely to say thanks than managers - 84 percent said they express gratitude to a co-worker daily or frequently.

The survey also found that women were more likely to praise their workers than men, 40 percent vs. 31 percent.

SCORE TIP

Market research

Major corporations invest millions of dollars to study their customers' needs and behaviors. As a small-business owner, you need the same type of information, but at a much cheaper cost.

The Service Corps of Retired Executives, a nonprofit volunteer business counseling organization, can help business owners find research data from a variety of sources, such as the Census Bureau, and conduct low-cost, mail-in surveys.

To find out more, call the Augusta SCORE office at 793-9998 from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday to make an appointment.

BIZ TRIVIA

Tooling around

In 1919, Joe Johnson's boss at American Grinder Manufacturing rejected his idea for interchangeable wrench handles and sockets, so Mr. Johnson and co-worker William Seidemann decided to start their own company in Kenosha, Wis.

Can you name it?

If you guessed the Snap-on Wrench Co., you're correct. Now known as Snap-on Inc., the company produces a wide variety of professional grade tools in addition to electronic diagnostic equipment for mechanics.

BIZ BITE

Document storage

The following are the minimum amounts of time you should keep records. However, keep in mind that documents about tax trouble and credit-card disputes should be kept longer:

  • Tax returns: 6 years
  • Real estate records: As long as you own the property
  • Insurance policies: As long as they're in effect
  • Bank and investment statements: Until tax time
  • Pay stubs: Until tax time
  • Utility bills: Until the next statement comes
  • Credit-card bills: Until the next statement comes
  • WEB HELP

    Insurance online

    Life insurance commercials are a fixture on television. But the best insurance plan and cost information actually may be found on the World Wide Web:

  • Health Symphony (www.healthsymphony.com/lifeinsurancetips. htm) provides policy information, insurance basics and a checklist of factors to consider.
  • Insure.com (info.insure.com/life/lifeneedsestimato r/) has an insurance comparison-shopping site that offers a life insurance estimator.
  • iQuote (www.iquote.com) features a life insurance coverage calculator that matches your needs with comparative term life data.
  • Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (www.life-line.org/life/index.html) gives information on types of coverage and how to select the proper plan.
  • RiskyLife.com (www.riskylife.com/insurance/life) offers life insurance tips and info in a FAQ format.
  • ONLINE

    Go to www.augustachronicle.com/stocks for hourly quotes on nearly every publicly traded company.

    REACH US

    Contact Business Editor Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.