St. Louis Group Featured in Spray Foam Magazine
A special thanks to Spray Foam Magazine for featuring three women in our company who are making waves in the spray foam industry! Read below to learn more about them and SLG.
LET’S TALK // Flames Away
St. Louis Group (SLG) is a leading supplier of brominated, chlorinated, and phosphorus flame retardants. Launching in 2010, by SLG’s president Dago Hornedo along with Rhonda Burgess, and Mindy Newton, SLG is now celebrating 12 years in business. Currently, SLG is also expanding into polyol and other polyurethane (PU) additives. According to the SLG team, “Our fire retardants and SmokeShield materials can help spray foam manufacturers meet the requirements of ASTM E84 and Appendix X for applications such as walls, floors, attics, crawl spaces, and roofs. Due to our broad product lines and knowledge of additive, reactive, intumescent, and low smoke mechanisms, SLG can provide tailor made low viscosity solutions to meet the most stringent flammability and smoke requirements.”
RHONDA BURGESS, Market Development Manager for Rigid and Flexible PU
How did you become a Market Development Manager? My career started at Great Lakes Chemical (now Lanxess), where I worked in the flame retardant (FR) lab. I helped launch SLG in 2010 and when you join a small new company, you must wear many hats. I served in many roles including Customer Service, Accounts Payable/Collections, and Materials Manager. SLG was growing rapidly, and our President wanted to expand into the Polyurethane FR Market. He asked if I would like to be the Market Development Manager for this new product line. I decided to take the risk and give it my best shot; so, I accepted the promotion almost seven years ago and love it!
What area do you specialize in? I am primarily focused on additives used in the rigid and flexible PU markets.
What is your favorite aspect of your role? My favorite aspect of this role is getting to travel and meet new customers and learn about their business. I am thankful to be given an opportunity that I would never have been given if I worked somewhere else and that I have a boss that believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.
What personality traits are needed in your role? To be successful in a Market Development position, you need to be outgoing and enjoy helping people. You can’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to people. People are bombarded with sales calls and emails, everyday; what makes you stand out is listening and taking interest in your customer needs.
Are you working on any special projects? Yes. We continue to expand our business, so I always must be ready to learn about and go to market with the next new product. Currently, we are working on new generation halogenated and nonhalogenated flame retardants.
What do you do in your spare time? My husband and I enjoy traveling and spending time with our four grandchildren, including eight-month-old twin boys.
ALYSSA NASH, Business Manager for Brominated Flame Retardants
What did you study at college? I majored in history and minored in organizational leadership and supervision. While my major didn’t directly relate to the field I ended up in, I believe college did help me learn a lot of the skills I’d need to work and thrive at a company like SLG.
Did you ever imagine you would work in flame retardants? No, I never thought I’d work with flame retardants, but like many other young professionals, I was open to any opportunity and quickly found my home here at SLG.
Why is your job so crucial? I run one of our business units (BroShield line), which in a way is like its own mini business. I directly handle development, purchasing, strategic pricing, etc. and oversee everything related to my products from inventory, imports, and production.
What exactly are brominated flame retardants and how are these applied to a structure? Brominated flame retardants are used in a wide variety of markets, including spray foam. They are chemical compounds that contain bromine and act in the gas/vapor phase to reduce flammability and/or retard combustion in many types of polymers. It’s a very effective and commonly used flame retardant. It includes both reactive products which are chemically bound into the polymer material as well as additive products which are integrated into the material by physical mixing only.
Can any of the SLG products be customized for a specific client request? Yes, we pride ourselves on our excellent customer service and the ability to tailor our products to fit our customers’ specific needs.
Are there any exciting new products currently being worked on? Yes, we are always working on new and exciting projects to expand our BroShield line. Right now, we are working on a PHT4-Diol/tetrabromophthalate diol alternative.
What do you like to do in your spare time? In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I especially enjoy spending time outdoors when the weather is nice.
MEGAN MORRIS, Business Manager for Phosphorus Flame Retardants
How did you get started at the St. Louis Group? I started with SLG in 2012 when I was one year out of college and not sure what I wanted in a career. My first role was inside sales/customer service. Sales was not for me, but I moved into Logistics and Materials and quickly found my passion in the business side of the company.
How would you describe your management style? As a manager, I want my employees to feel empowered in their role while being readily accessible. I like to coach them as needed and help them grow in their career.
Why are flame retardants so essential? Flame retardants are used in a wide range of industries and applications to help prevent or slow the spread of fire.
What’s the difference between halogenated and non-halogenated solutions? Halogenated flame retardants are the traditional option and contain chlorine or bromine. While our new generation of non-Halogen FRs are a greener option.
What are phosphorus flame retardants? Flame retardants that contain the chemical phosphorus are under our PhosGard® product line. Phosphorus flame retardants act in the condensed phase by enhancing charring, yielding intumescence, and in the gas phase through flame inhibition. It includes both reactive products which are chemically bound into the polymer material as well as additive products which are integrated into the material by physical mixing only.
Describe a typical workday for you? On a typical day I analyze market conditions, quote customers, review inventory levels and pipeline, and work on new product development.
When it comes to flame retardant chemicals, how is St. Louis Group actively looking for environmentally friendly alternatives? We have some exciting projects currently in development and we are always working to expand our line with the latest technology. SLG is committed to addressing the needs of our customers whether that be through our existing products or developing custom blends.
When you have spare time, what do you like to do? I have two young children so outside of work I spend most of my time with them. When the weather is nice, I love to read and spend time outdoors.
For More Information on Antimony Products
SLG offers a variety of antimony products that serve a variety of needs. For more information on our antimony products please visit our Flame Retardants page, or you can always give us a call here at our office by visiting our Contact Us page.