During more than 37 years at the helm of CPAC, Inc., Thomas Hendrickson nimbly expanded his company with 11 major acquisitions, including the well-known Fuller Brush Company.
“We started out as an environmental equipment company, quickly transitioned to a specialty chemical company serving the imaging industry” and then “decided to become a much broader specialty chemical company,” Hendrickson told the Wall Street Journal.
Hendrickson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1965, was employed by Kodak from 1965 to 1969 as a chemical engineer, working extensively with photographic solutions in his research there.
In 1969, he formed his own company, Computerized Pollution Abatement Corporation (CPAC), based in Leicester, NY. His goal was to design and manufacture equipment capable of removing silver from used photoprocessing solutions, thereby reducing the potential for pollution from discarded solutions. He believed that photoprocessing companies would become subject to pollution control regulations, and that recovering silver from used solutions could be both economically and environmentally sound.
He received a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Rochester in 1970.
By 1990, CPAC had five manufacturing sites in the U.S., plans for a site in Europe, and international marketing strategies. In addition to silver recovery and recycling equipment, the company specialized in producing chemicals for the photographic, microfilm and x-ray industries. Hendrickson had become widely known as an authority on recovery methods and pollution control in the photographic industry, and lectured extensively on these subjects at home and abroad.
By 1997, CPAC had acquired the Fuller Brush Company, Stanley Home Products, and the Cleaning Technologies Group, and was offering over 2,200 household and commercial cleaning products to industrial and household consumers. Three years later, CPAC had grown to nearly $115 million in sales.
Hendrickson received the Distinguished Service Citation award from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1990. Throughout 1996 and ending June 1997, he served as Chairman for the University of Wisconsin's Industrial Liaison Council in the College of Engineering. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Rochester in 1995. In 1996, he received the Meritorious Service Award from Geneseo State College.
In addition, Hendrickson has served on the Foundation Board for the Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York, and on the Board of Directors for the Photographic & Imaging Manufacturers Association, Inc. He has also been a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society of Photofinishing Engineers, and the Society of Photographic Scientists & Engineers, among other organizations.
Retired, Hendrickson lives in Naples, Florida.