Skolnik Industries: Saving Lives with Steel Drums

| By Sarah Jester

Certified LGBTBE® suppliers are involved in incredibly valuable relief efforts across a variety of fields in the age of COVID-19. Chicago-based supplier Skolnik Industries, a manufacturing company that primarily produces stainless steel container drums, is no exception! Founded in 1985 and certified in 2015, Skolnik’s products are being put to use across the nation as medical professionals work to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

“While some may classify our primary products as a commodity (steel drums), Skolnik has established itself has a niche manufacturer, making specialty and custom packaging for a wide range of end products, including nuclear material, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and chemicals,” explained Dean Ricker, President of Skolnik. “We are very proud to have sold a very large stainless steel drum order that is being used to contain products used in the development of a Coronavirus vaccine.”

As the spread of COVID-19 grew more severe, Ricker and his team split the company into two different groups to ensure that production work was carried out safely, allowing the team to practice social distancing. In doing so, Skolnik can still produce commodities at both of their facilities while ensuring that their employees stay safe and healthy.

Ricker cited LGBTBE certification as a significant step to opening up procurement channels for Skolnik’s products.

“Being a member of NGLCC has made us more visible as  an LGBT-owned and operated business to our customers and employees,” he said. “It has also opened up doors to new opportunities through one on one meetings held at the NGLCC annual conference.”

Ricker had excellent advice to offer to the many LGBTBE owners that are being forced to reevaluate their business plan as a result of changes imposed by COVID-19.

“This is a once in a lifetime crisis,” he acknowledged. “Make the most of it. Break with the past, pivot and reinvent yourself or your business.”

As the president of a manufacturing company, Ricker recognizes that steel drums may not immediately catch the average person’s eye as essential items. However, the work of LGBTBE companies like Skolnik becomes all the more valuable in crises like the one we find ourselves in now.

“We are an important part of the supply chain, and right now, our customers such as 3M, Dow, Proctor & Gamble, Gojo, Abbott Labs, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Roche etc. are all companies at the forefront of the coronavirus response,” said Ricker. “Without our products, many things can't get made, such as life saving drugs, vaccines, hand sanitizer, cleaning products, medical equipment and numerous types of food products. We are a very important cog in this wheel...and we are OUT AND PROUD of what we do!”

Click here to learn more about Skolnik Industries and their products.

Have you pivoted your business to aid with relief efforts during COVID-19? Tell us your story!

For additional ways to help you, your business, and the LGBT community during this time, visit the NGLCC COVID-19 Resource Hub for the LGBT Business Community.