2014 Clarion Award – MBE

William Mays - Mays Chemical Company

William G. Mays
Chairman and CEO
Mays Chemical Company

Mr. Mays started Mays Chemical Company, Inc. in 1980 and transformed it from a one-person operation in a two-room office to a company that today serves clients in all 50 states, Mexico and Puerto Rico.  The firm specializes in products for the automotive, beverage, food and pharmaceutical industries.  Its major customers include Abbott, Chrysler, Eli Lilly, Ford, General Mills, General Motors, Kellogg, Pharmacia, Philip Morris Companies and Procter & Gamble.

Mays Chemical generated more than $200 million in sales in 2013 and is ranked among the largest chemical distributors in North America.  The company has more than 150 employees and is also ranked in the top 20 on Black Enterprise magazine’s top 100 businesses for 2013.

Mr. Mays is a two-time NMSDC Supplier of the Year for firms with annual sales greater than $50 million; a six-time winner of the General Motors Outstanding Supplier of the Year award; and the 2001 Black Enterprise magazine Company of the Year.

Mr. Mays has been honored for his service in leadership roles in the community at the United Way of Central Indiana; the Indianapolis Museum of Art; the Indiana University Foundation; and the Indiana Lottery Commission.  In retirement, Mr. Mays still serves on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, Visit Indy and United Way of Central Indiana. 

“Success is not important if you don’t share it.”
– William G. Mays

J. Irwin Miller, Chairman of Cummins Engine Company, who was not only an advocate for Civil Rights, but was very positive in trying to build a community and company that were made up of all types of people.  He bought in very high caliber, talented individuals who happened to be African-Americans, and other minorities, to come work at Cummins.  Personally working with Mr. Miller and others was invaluable.  Being exposed to that management level enriched my business, intellectual and philanthropy skills; taught me to not only think nationally but internationally as well; and started my itch for entrepreneurism.

Tom Binford was an Indianapolis-based entrepreneur and philanthropist.  He facilitated many valuable relationships between me and the Indianapolis business leadership.  From banking to pro basketball to civil-rights; from educating the next generation of leaders to understanding corporate citizenship responsibilities to philanthropy to all people; and much more, he challenged and taught me by example.  Tom Binford was a great mentor and friend, and one of a few to whom I owe much of my success.