January 22, 2014

Some of world’s largest firms turn to Cohutta man for advice

Charles Oliver

— About three years ago, DiversiTech — a Conyers-based company that makes products for the heating, venting and air conditioning and refrigeration industries — started looking for a new purchasing manager. An ad they placed in a plastics manufacturers magazine brought a phone call from Lewis Yasenchak.

“He told us that he wasn’t so much interested in the position as he was in doing consulting work for us,” said DiversiTech Eastern Region Vice President Mark Minor. “The compelling thing for us was that as part of our business we recycle post-industrial plastic scrap. We hadn’t done any sourcing in the carpet industry, and because of Lewis’ connections in the carpet industry we thought he could do us a lot of good.”

Minor said that call turned into a relationship that lasted more than two years.

“He found lots of new sources for us and got us into places we couldn’t have gotten into on our own,” Minor said. “He’d come down a couple of times a year and talk to our recycling people, see if there were any issues, make sure that our contacts were up to date. It worked out really well for us.”

Yasenchak consults for firms across the United States, and during his almost 50-year career as a consultant and executive for some of the world’s largest companies his work has taken him across the globe.

But for the past five years, his home and business have been based out of Cohutta.

“I really came here because of the carpet industry and the related industries here in northwest Georgia,” he said.

Yasenchak grew up in New Jersey, and shortly after graduating from high school in 1965 went to work for American Hoechst, the U.S. division of Germany chemical giant Hoechst AG, in its plastics division.

“Hoechst was the largest pharmaceutical, chemical and plastics company in Germany, and No. 1 for all of Europe,” he said.

During the next 30 years, his career would take him from Hoechst to CW Brabender Instruments to Rehau/Raumedic back to Hoechst, and from New Jersey to Germany and Switzerland and Mexico and Wyoming and numerous points in between.

He learned from the Europeans the emphasis on quality control and precision in manufacturing.

“If you go to Germany or to Switzerland, every factory is clean and management gives back to workers,” he said.

In 1994, after Hoechst exited the plastics business, Yasenchak formed the consulting firm P&Y Management Resources.

“My career has been based on quality and quality standards, environmental standards and safety. I work with companies throughout the United States,” Yasenchak said. “My main business is putting my clients in compliance with (International Organization for Standardization) standards.”

The ISO is an international body that sets standards for quality, safety and environmental compliance. While the standards are geared towards manufacturing, Yasenchak says the standards can apply to other businesses as well.

While Yasenchak still travels the country consulting with various companies, he has developed a set of certificates in ISO standards for quality, safety and environmental practices and plans to start offering classes that can help individuals qualify for those certificates.

“The idea is that they can take these certificates and show employers that they have these skills and they have this knowledge,” he said.