"Seidler bought into our strengths and demonstrated how they could help instill best practices and even a dose of measured risk-taking to push Carus to the next level of performance."
Inga Carus

Meet the Chairman

Inga Carus

Minority partnership
Flexible time horizon
Debt-free transaction
Team and culture development
Global growth
M&A growth
Q & A

How did the Carus story begin?

Our family business was founded in 1915 by my grandfather, Edward Hegeler Carus. Like many entrepreneurs, he tried to find a local solution to a global problem. World War I disrupted the supply of critical materials from Europe, which put the U.S. at a major strategic disadvantage. From a makeshift laboratory in a barn in LaSalle, Illinois, the Carus name became synonymous with the local supply of potassium permanganate, which treats water and wastewater. Edward left the business to his two sons, Blouke (my father) and Paul, and they developed a new and efficient manufacturing process. In 2005, I assumed the leadership as CEO of the company and benefitted from the decades of technological development and, more importantly, from the family values and strong culture that defined the company. We have since expanded our chemistries and geographic footprint while consistently delivering products and solutions to clean our water, soil, and air. Environmental solutions have been a core goal for the last half century.

Q & A

What made you consider taking on a private equity partner?

After becoming Chairman of the Board, I was able to step back from day-to-day responsibilities and began to contemplate our future growth, as well as my personal goals. Carus has always led positive change in our community, and my husband, Peter, and I were very interested in accelerating our other entrepreneurial and economic development initiatives. I felt the time was right for an outside professional partner who could help define and execute a faster growth strategy, particularly someone who could think long-term while also appreciating our culture. Diversifying our assets would also enable our family to pursue our passion for economic development and revitalizing our local economy. An infusion of new ideas, best practices, and outside thinking made sense.

Q & A

Why did you partner with Seidler?

The bar had been set very high for what I would require in a partner. Having had the luxury of not needing a capital partner, my family and I were very thorough in our deliberations. We needed a firm that understood and appreciated our legacy, the role Carus plays with our employees’ families and our community at large, and our customer brand promise. We think long term and make strategic investments for decades to come.

Seidler had first reached out to us back in 2009. We quickly connected, given Seidler’s partnership with another specialty chemical company, Tomah Products, which I had known and respected for years. Seidler and I exchanged frequent updates over the years, and we realized we shared values and a long-term view on value creation.

When the time came to choose a partner, Seidler stood out. Seidler team members understood our goals, both professional and personal. They bought into our strengths and demonstrated how they could help instill best practices and even a dose of measured risk-taking to push Carus to the next level of performance. Their low-leverage philosophy matched my own, and the management team was excited to work with them. I gained a value-added and trusted partner, while retaining operating control of Carus.

Q & A

What has the partnership accomplished?

Our partnership with Seidler has accomplished much in a short time. Together we recruited our current CEO and other key senior leaders. Seidler helped design a structure and processes to continue Carus’ journey of creating a culture of commercial excellence. We have also embarked together on significant capital projects to build a next generation plant and sustainable chemical processes for a major Carus product, as well as stepped up our M&A initiative. These initiatives reflect the long-term thinking and positioning Seidler shares with the Carus family. While there are many to praise, Carus has seen a step up in performance across all our KPIs, and we look forward to continuing our growth journey together with Seidler.