William Steere, Steere Enterprises
Balancing business and Philanthropy for Three Generations
In 1984, Bill Steere was named president and CEO of Steere Enterprises, a plastics manufacturing company his father founded in 1949. He is still involved in the business, but his current priorities are to mentor his sons, Brian and Brock Steere, to successfully transition the business to the third generation. He also wants support of the community and philanthropy to be a continuing focus.
“Growing up, both my parents and grandparents were very involved in the community” says Steere, who is now the company chairman. “I grew up trying to making a difference; it was ingrained in my sister and me.”
Steere has been actively involved in the community since coming back in 1975 and has held a number of leadership positions including board chairs of Child Guidance & Family Solutions, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Akron General Medical Center and Akron General Health Systems (now Cleveland Clinic Akron General). Other boards on which he’s served on include The Akron Community Foundation; United Way of Summit County: American Red Cross of Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties; The University of Akron College of Business Advancement Council, Akron Area YMCA, Rotary Club of Akron, Summit Education Partnership Foundation, AAA, and Healthnetwork Foundation.
He has also been involved with the Young President’s Organization having served as chair of the Cleveland Chapter as well as being a member of YPO’s International Board of Directors. Steere also serves on the boards of a number of privately held companies.
When Steere joined his family’s business in 1975, he got involved in the community immediately. Following in his parents footsteps, he looked for ways to make a difference in community. He often asks, “How can we make community better, more vibrant?”
He has continued to instill those values in his two sons, Brock and Brian, now co-presidents of the company. In addition to his duties at Steere, Brock serves on the board of United Way of Summit County and The Young President’s Organization in Cleveland. Brian serves on the board of directors of Junior Achievement, Coleman Professional Services and the Rotary Foundation. He also was a member of Torchbearer’s and Leadership Akron Class 33.
The Steere’s philanthropic philosophy can be summed up by the term “servant leadership.” Servant leadership focuses on the growth and well-being of people and communities to which they belong. Servant leaders measure their individual success by the success of the organizations and people they serve.
“Giving back to the community is part of our culture” Steere says. “We’re also looking for ways to involve our employees in philanthropic activities and events. We want to do more than just write a check.”
Steere Enterprises, based in Tallmadge, is an international plastics manufacturer that produces products using different manufacturing processes including blow molding and injection molding. They have recently added a machining and engineering division. The company was founded by Bill’s father, Frank W. Steere, Jr., a chemical engineer who worked for the BF Goodrich Company. Frank Steere started the business using vinyl plastisols he was introduced to in the rubber industry.
In the ‘60s, Steere expanded into the automotive industry making seat belt sleeves, and automotive remains a major market for them today.
“We are especially proud of our heritage and the core values that have made us successful over the years,” Steere says.