Meet GEO Specialty Chemicals' Executive Team
Ken Ghazey has been GEO’s President & Chief Executive Officer and a member of its Board of Directors since 2005. Concurrently, from the time of its emergence from bankruptcy until its successful sale in 2011, Mr. Ghazey was a director and chaired the Audit Committee of Wellman Holdings, Inc., one of the five largest PET resin companies in the United States. Prior to his tenure with GEO and Wellman, he spent almost 15 years in a number of senior operating and executive positions in a range of industrial companies. Mr. Ghazey was President of Amerace/Hendrix Wire & Cable from 1987 to 1990; Executive Vice President, CFO, and Treasurer of Darling International from 1990 to 1993 and President, Chief Operating Officer and Director from 1993 to 1996; and Executive Vice President & CFO, Finance & Administration and Director of ENTEX Information Services, Inc. from 1996 to 2000. Immediately prior to becoming CEO of GEO, he was a Partner and Managing Director of an investment firm. He started his career as an auditor and tax specialist with PwC. Mr. Ghazey received a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Vermont in 1978 and is a member of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Randy Lay is the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Treasurer of GEO. He joined GEO in December 2017. Prior to his involvement with GEO, Mr. Lay has held senior executive and financial positions at major corporations throughout his career, including Xerox and United Technologies, where he served as Director of Financial Planning for UTC’s Commercial and Industrial businesses. Mr. Lay also served as the Executive Vice President and CFO of International Specialty Products, a multinational specialty chemical company. He has also held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Access Global Holdings, a competitive telecommunications provider based in Chicago. Most recently, he was the Chief Financial Officer of Lazydays RV, which operates the largest RV dealership in the world in Tampa, Florida. Mr. Lay received a B.A. in Political Science and an M.B.A. from Boston University.
Louis Graham is the Chief Safety, Process Safety & Environmental Officer for GEO. He joined GEO in June 2012 as Director, Process Safety Management/Compliance. In January 2015, he assumed responsibility for Environmental Affairs and in August 2018, Mr. Graham was promoted to his current role. Mr. Graham has over 30 years of experience in the chemical industry. Prior to joining GEO Mr. Graham held various plant and corporate leadership roles in Engineering, Environmental Affairs, Safety & Process Safety for Hercules Incorporated, Reichhold Chemicals, Inc., and Dow Reichhold Specialty Latex, LLC. While with Dow Reichhold he served as Chairman of the Delaware Chemical Industry Council. He is a native of Montana and received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Montana State University.
Michael Payne is the Corporate Human Resources Officer at GEO. He has been involved with the human resource function of GEO in a consulting role since 1996 and has over 30 years of experience in human resource management, organizational development and strategic planning. Mr. Payne has advised GEO senior management and its board on matters pertaining to labor relations, compensation and benefits strategy, executive succession planning and senior management staffing. Prior to his involvement with GEO, Mr. Payne held executive human resource positions with Mobil Oil production divisions in New York and New Orleans and also held executive human resource positions for Exxon Chemical and Exxon Chemical Americas. Mr. Payne received a degree in Industrial Psychology from Cleveland State University and also pursued doctoral studies at Cleveland State University in Organizational Psychology.
Thomas Longstaff is Vice President of Purchasing, Logistics and Regulatory. He joined GEO in July 2005 as Corporate Purchasing Manager and was promoted to Vice President Purchasing in 2006. In 2007, he accepted responsibility for Logistics and assumed responsibility for Regulatory Affairs in 2011, when he reorganized this department. Mr. Longstaff has held both corporate and manufacturing support positions in multiple industries including steel distribution, pharmaceuticals and the chemical industry. Mr. Longstaff received a B.A. in Materials and Logistics Management from Michigan State University.
Nick Liptrot is Senior Vice President of the Paints and Coatings Division. He joined Hythe in 2000 as Divisional Finance Director, and became Managing Director in 2007. Prior to GEO, he held senior finance and operations positions in various global manufacturing companies. Mr. Liptrot received a BSc (Hons) in Finance from the University of Salford and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.
Scot Lang is Senior Vice President of the Water Treatment Chemicals Division. He joined GEO in May 2006 as the Director of Manufacturing for the Water Treatment Chemicals division and was promoted to Vice President in October 2006. Prior to joining GEO, Mr. Lang was employed at GenTek and held the position of Midwest Regional Manager for the Water Chemicals division for 7 years where he had P & L responsibility for 12 Water Treatment Chemical plants located throughout the Midwestern United States. He has 20 years experience in Engineering, Manufacturing and Sales. Mr. Lang received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University and an M.B.A. in Corporate Finance from Washington University.
Erik Dihrkop is Vice President of the Specialty and Construction Division. He joined GEO in November of 2013 as Account Manager for the Paints & Coatings Division. He held the role of Global Sales Manager for the Specialty & Construction Division before being promoted to General Manager in July 2018. Prior to joining GEO, Mr. Dihrkop began his career as Chemist for Sigma-Aldrich Isotec before transitioning into Technical Sales Representative for the West Coast. Mr. Dihrkop received a B.S. in Chemistry and an M.S. in Chemistry, with focus on organic synthesis, from Wright State University.