Community Outreach

thh-community-outreachOne of TH Hilson’s Core Values is Accountability. At TH Hilson, we extend that core value beyond our day to day business. We believe we have a responsibility and commitment to give back to our greater industry and community. We are committed to promoting STEM majors and chemical industry careers to the next generation of scientists, and we engage our suppliers and customers to promote the challenging and rewarding careers that are available in our industry. Through classroom demonstrations, career day presentations and commencement speeches, TH Hilson employees aim to give students “real world” insight to the chemical industry’s various markets and career paths.

If you would like to work with TH Hilson to promote STEM careers, call us and ask to speak with Lori Hilson Cioromski.

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Sherwin Williams, Cabot and TH Hilson team up to promote chemical industry careers

Sherwin-Williams and TH Hilson worked together with raw material manufacturer Cabot Corporation to host a transformative career day for 59 Chicago State University science students. These students came to learn about the requirements of R&D-based careers with the 145-year old global coatings company and its chemical suppliers. The students were treated to a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of the technical coatings lab and paint manufacturing plant located at Sherwin-Williams’ south Chicago facility. The event’s purpose was to identify potential recruits for the coatings industry and be supportive to the next generation of scientists.

The students also learned about the synergy of business between the raw material supplier, distributor and paint manufacturer. In addition to offering formal presentations and tours, a delegation of current employees interacted with the science majors regarding career requirements, responsibilities, and local and global opportunities. Several elected leaders came to recognize the event and to inspire the students who have committed to an intense course of study and who offer a great potential to make positive contributions to society.

Regarding the event, TH Hilson CEO Lori Hilson said, “The chemical industry needs the next generation to be excited about the opportunities that are available in a rewarding career. The United States needs the chemical industry to be a strong market because chemicals not only protect our homes, bridges and roads, they are everywhere.” To view a video of the event, click on the link below: Exploring Opportunities in the Chemical Industry – Paint & Coatings Technology

Edlong Dairy, Sara Lee and TH Hilson partner to promote chemical industry careers to Chicago high school students

As a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners’ (NAWBO) Next Generation Outreach Committee, Lori Hilson was asked to participate in the Chicago Public School’s Job Shadow Day. Lori teamed up with Edlong Dairy Products (food flavor manufacturer) of Elk Grove Village, IL to provide an amazing day for 28 female high school students. Lori, Laurette Rondenet-Smith, CEO/COB of Edlong, and several VPs from Sara Lee talked to the high school girls about pursuing their dreams.

Lori also organized a career day at Edlong Dairy for eight female chemistry students from Taylor University. The students also visited Kraft Foods to see a food processing pilot plant. This day is documented in a You Tube video “Exploring Opportunities in the Chemical Industry – Food Science Technology” so students who were not able to attend can see the opportunities that a career in the chemical industry can offer.

TH Hilson President Lori Hilson volunteers at Hadley Junior High School Career Day

Lori Hilson, Henry Chan, Chris Daraska and Whitney Horn volunteered at Hadley Junior High’s recent Career Day. Sponsored by Glenbard West’s S.T.E.M. Club, the goal of the day was to provide inspiration and exposure to S.T.E.M careers for Glen Ellyn district students.

“Your lotion demo was extremely impressive and left an amazing impression on our students.”

Claire Wild
Co-Founder, Glenbard West S.T.E.M Club

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TH Hilson President Lori Hilson gives “You Be The Chemist” presentation to Park Ridge elementary students

The Chemical Education Foundation’s “You Be The Chemist” program aims to bring science education to K-12 students and teachers. In May, 2015 Lori Hilson presented “You Be The Chemist” to over 100 elementary students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Park Ridge.

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NAWBO Chicago Board Installation

Lori and the other officers speak and inspire at the Chicago Board installation.


Lori Hilson Cioromski “Everything is Possible” speech at NAWBO Achievement Luncheon

Lori tells “The TH Hilson Story” – how the company started, how she came in to the family business, the growth and success of the company over 40+ years, as well as the huge challenge TH Hilson faced during the 2008 recession.


Todd Hilson speaks at NACD’s OPSEM 2011 conference in Sacramento, CA.

nacd-logoNACD selected TH Hilson as an example of their “Practices of Excellence” for our community outreach program. As always, we’re committed to working with other industry leaders to encourage young, enterprising people to get involved in our exciting field.

Todd explained how TH Hilson collaborated with Sherwin Williams and Cabot to create an industry-focused college fair at the Sherwin Williams plant. We were able to bring 57 Chicago State University students on-site to discuss specific areas of the chemical field including raw material manufacturing, specialty chemical distribution, and paint manufacturing. This targeted event enabled us to talk personally, to generate interest in chemical careers, and to create strong connections with potential interns and future employees.

Lori Hilson discusses opportunities for women entrepreneurs on WCIU public affairs program

Lori Hilson spoke with George Blaise on his weekly public affairs program, Now.Chicago, on WCIU.

“I appreciate every opportunity to share my passion for women entrepreneurs and especially for encouraging young women to pursue careers in science and technology.”

MacCormac commencement speech

mcLast week, I was honored to be Commencement Speaker for MacCormac College’s Class of 2013. I thought I would share my comments to these outstanding young people here:

Thank you so much for inviting me to be here with you on your very special day. I also want to thank Mac Cormac College for the community, fellowship and excellence that you provide to these students you have had the privilege of teaching.

Rachael, I love your drive and I congratulate you and the entire 2013 graduating class for your courage, hard work and effort that it took for you to get here.

Nobody can ever take away the fact that all of you made a decision to obtain an education and this decision will change your life forever. This is a tremendous accomplishment that not everyone can do. Be proud in knowing what you have accomplished here today!

I am passionate about bringing out the best in the people I lead, inspiring them to believe in themselves, and encouraging them to know that they hold the power to be the very best that they can be!

When I was 10 years old, my father told me that he was going into business for himself, and that we will all need to sacrifice in order to make the business go. I asked my dad, what is your business going to be?

He said that we were going to be a specialty chemical distributor. I said Great – You go Dad!(Even though I had no clue what a specialty chemical distributor was! Never did I think I would be the president of my Dad’s company so many years later.)

What I did after having this conversation with my Dad was to take action. I was faced with a challenge or a roadblock. I didn’t want to sacrifice for the rest of my life. I was going to help out anyway I could. I thought about all the ways that I could make a difference in my life so that I could pay for my own McDonald’s hamburger if my Dad couldn’t afford it.

I sold my Barbie’s in the driveway, added a lemonade stand, got a paper route, asked neighbors if I could feed their fish, cats, dogs, water their plants, anything I could think of to make it better.

I took action by providing for myself. Even at 10 years old, I had the power to make a difference.

You see, no matter what path we choose in life, we all have the ability to be an entrepreneur to some degree or another. Whether a student, employee or leader, we are always looking for ways to better our lives, selling ourselves on our strengths and abilities.

Given the state of the economy as it is today, you might need to take a job that isn’t your dream job. But if you are given the opportunity – take it – as it could be a stepping stone to something really great. Give it your all, try your hardest, show your boss that you care – that you are the best – and they will remember you.

Come early. Stay late. Stand out and learn everything you can from the situation you are in. You will be remembered for your effort.

It’s not always easy. There will be days that you question if it’s really worth the extra effort. Just remember that in today’s competitive environment, these attributes will help you to stand out and stay in the game.

I have a blended family of three boys and three girls – this year we had five in college and a 5-year-old – talk about juggling!

I am often asked – can you really do it all and have it all as a working mother? Is there such a thing as work/life balance? My answer is yes – but there are a few secrets.

My advice is to turn off your phone, do not answer emails when you get home from work. You can check your messages after dinner if you need to, but allow for down time.

It’s okay to take a few short cuts!

For me, when the kids were at home, it was very important that we had our evening meal together. After working all day, I made dinner, but I always made a semi-homemade meal that tasted great but was quick and easy. Being together at the dinner table gave us a brief chance to talk and catch up on the day, and this is what grounds me and keeps me going as a working Mom.

Find balance in your life.

Now that the majority of our kids are in college, the biggest advice that I give to them is to gain exposure to all aspects of the job you have, to learn as much as you can about the other departments of the company you work for. You might not like all aspects, I tell them, but try to gain awareness of the total picture so that you can make good decisions.

There are two pillars I have learned throughout the years that have helped me in leading and growing the TH Hilson Company.

1) Gain a well-rounded perspective – look at all aspects of the situation before you make a decision

2) Do not be afraid to make mistakes. I’ve made mistakes, all leaders have. The important part about making a mistake is the lesson you learn, what you do to prevent it from happening again, how you turn a negative situation into a positive. This experience is what will make you a better leader.

TH Hilson Company is a 59-percent women-owned specialty chemical distributor selling into the paint and coatings, personal care, graphic arts and adhesives markets. We cover much of the United States and are a sales, logistics and marketing company. We represent chemical companies and sell to major manufacturers in the industry. It takes between18 months and three years to get our products approved in the labs of our clients.

Today I advocate for young people to learn about the opportunities in the chemical industry. I worked with CPS and had a bus of 27 female students visit Edlong Dairy flavors to learn the opportunities in the food industry. I worked with Chicago State University where 57 students visited Sherwin Williams to see the opportunities in the paint and coatings industry.

We need bright young minds to learn from the people who have been in our industry for years.

When I first started at TH Hilson, little did I know that I would be the only female in a room full of 50 men when we would attend product training seminars. No one ever told me that there really aren’t many women in the chemical industry. I was a pioneer, but I never felt like a minority because I thought of myself as the exception to the rule. If they could do, I could too!

One common theme, when faced with adversity, is to always look at the bright side.

Never did I think, poor me. I always tried my best to make a difference. I didn’t let negative actions take me down.

I worked hard, learned everything I could to be able to make good decisions. Even in business, when some men told me you don’t belong in this industry, it’s a man’s world, you’re Daddy’s little girl, I didn’t listen to them.

I believed in myself. I knew the truth. If they could do it, I could do it too – and do it well!

I graduated from Loyola University and started as a sales rep. In 1985, we were about $8 million in sales. After gaining field experience, I became the Sales Manager in 1995. Five years after that, I was named President.

My dad’s lifetime goal for the 25th anniversary was to triple our sales from when I started. In order for us to get there we changed, adapted, hired great people, and did it.

This year we are celebrating our 40th anniversary, and we have more than doubled our sales since then.

Even during the downturn, we re-invented ourselves, went back to basics, looked at who we are and what our value is. We hyper-focused on our strengths, and every single employee pulled together.

We never let the adverse economy get in our way. We never gave in to the excuses. We stayed true to our strengths, and our customers stayed true to us.

Graduates, as you embark on your future path, whereever that might lead you, remember this simple message:

Take action, make a difference, stand out, find balance, do not be afraid to make mistakes, be the exception to the rules, believe in yourself and Dream Big!

Know that the choices you make today will determine your future. Never forget that you hold the power to be the best that you can be!

Guest Speaker Lori Hilson Cioromski is welcomed by Benet Academy Mother’s Club “Discover Your Gift”

Lori Hilson has a passion for encouraging young girls to pursue careers in science. Last month Lori, was the featured speaker at “Discover Your Gift: A Mother & Daughter Celebration,” sponsored by the Mothers Club of Benet Academy. Her talk focused on empowering the teens in her audience to gain confidence in themselves by allowing them to realize their full potential.

Benet Academy