Founder, President and CEO
Leon C. Richardson is the founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chemico Group, one of the largest minority-owned chemical management and distribution companies in the United States. For 30 years, Richardson has guided what was originally Chemico Systems, Inc., from a single employee start-up to an internationally recognized player in the chemical and environmental services space. Today, Chemico employs more than 400 people across 30 states and four countries and amasses more than $100 million in sales annually. Black Enterprise has named Chemico to its list of the top 100 Black Businesses nine times.
Chemico is a highly regarded Tier 1 supplier to automotive original equipment manufacturers and has been recognized as a General Motors “Supplier of the Year” seven times and with Toyota’s Supplier Quality Excellence Award. Outside of automotive, Chemico has made a name for itself in other industries, including aerospace and biopharmaceuticals.
Chemico’s chemical management services take into account the entire chemical lifecycle from customer receipt of product to the product’s inventory and its eventual disposal and recycling. The company’s success has been built on its ability to streamline the many, often complex aspects of chemical lifecycle management. Chemico’s distribution services afford customers access to an expansive network of chemical suppliers allowing for a robust and comprehensive chemical supply chain solution.
Richardson is a passionate champion for Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) development. As evidence of this, the National Minority Supplier Development Council recognized Chemico with its MBE of the Year Award in 2018. Richardson currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) and chairs the group’s Minority Business Input Committee overseeing growth, development and expansion initiatives for Michigan’s approximately 1,200 minority-owned businesses. Richardson’s commitment to MBE growth and success is evidenced in the $11 million Chemico has spent with other MBEs since 2014.
For the company’s continued commitment to MBEs, the MMSDC awarded Chemico its Supplier of the Year Award in 2017 and has thrice recognized Richardson with its prestigious Diamond Award for minority business owners who exemplify the spirit of minority entrepreneurs conducting business with other MBEs.
Richardson is a devoted mentor working formally and informally with up to 10 students or young professionals at any given time. Annually, Chemico offers internships to a handful of undergraduate students from Historically Black Colleges around the country, and Richardson personally mentors each student intern.
A recipient of the 2016 Results Mentoring Industry Award, Richardson was recognized for reaching students using love, training and support. Richardson also received the Real McCoy Award from the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program in 2017 for elevating the next generation toward STEM fields.
Richardson is a board member for the Supplier Partnerships for the Environment, the Rainbow Push Coalition and the National Association for Black Suppliers. He holds a business degree from the University of Maryland and is a United States Marine Corps veteran having served his country for eight years as a non-commissioned officer. Richardson and his wife Cheryl are the proud parents of four daughters and one son.
• Toyota Excellent Performance Award 2019
• NMSDC MBE of the Year: 2018
• MMSDC Class IV Supplier of the Year Award: 2017
• Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) Real McCoy Award: 2017
• Toyota Supplier Quality Excellence Award: 2017
• Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce Sankofa Award: 2016
• Results Mentoring Industry Award: 2016
• General Motors Supplier of the Year Award: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
• Toyota Kaizen Supplier Excellence Award: 2013
• Black Enterprise B.E. 100s: 2018 (#29), 2017 (#30), 2016 (#35), 2015 (#45), 2014 (#53), 2013 (#56), 2012 (#77), 2011 (#88), 2010 (#100)
• NMSDC Supplier of the Year 2014
• MMSDC Board of Directors Award 2008-2013
• MMSDC Diamond Award (Leon C. Richardson) 2014, 2013, 2012, 2001
• MMSDC Supplier of the Year, Class III: 2013
• Urban Wheels Pioneer of the Year (Leon C. Richardson): 2014, 2004
• Michigan Chronicle Legacy in Motion Awards: 2014
• Chrysler Capital Equipment Supplier of the Year: 2014
• Chrysler Supplier Diversity Award: 2015
• Black Enterprise Industrial/Service Company of the Year: 2014
• NAACP Volunteer Award: 2014
• Rainbow PUSH Living Legend: 2014
• Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist: 2015
• Congressional Black Caucus Distinguished Corporate Citizen Award: 2015
• Corp! Diversity and Multiculturalism Award: 2016, 2015
• MMSDC Presidents Award: 2016