Lubrizol Notches a Decade of 'Taking on the Hard Jobs'


The Lubrizol Building Bonds team takes on “the hard jobs no one else wants to do.” And they’ve been taking them on for 10 years. 

The team, a group of men and women from the Wickliffe organization’s community engagement team, arrives each summer, wearing matching “Building Bonds” T-shirts and get right to work at the David Simpson Hospice House in Cleveland.  

That location has been the recipient of more than 4,500 hours of work by the team in the past decade. And work it is. Almost no job is off limits: from the outdoor work, including mulching, trimming shrubs, washing windows and repairing curbs to adding new cabinets and replacing ceiling tiles. Each year they manage to tri 500 linear feet of bushes on the property adjacent to Lake Erie. 

This year, they will remodel the family kitchen, replace ceiling tiles, paint the “no trip” area of the sidewalk, remove and replace lighting in the main entrance area and atrium and work on attic access panels in addition to outdoor work on the spectacular grounds of the hospice house that border Lake Erie. 

Facilities manager for David Simpson Hospice House, Steve DiMare said the work that Lubrizol employees performs is invaluable. He said the company mixes skilled craftsman, including masons and electricians, with employees from throughout the organization.  

 “It allows, say, electricians to show off their skills to members of the IT team,” DiMare said.

Building Bonds...With Each Other and the Community

Lubrizol signed on 10 years ago when the then-CEO James Hambrick, a member of the Hospice of the Western Reserve Board of Directors, created a friendly way for the company to bond with new employees from a merger with Noveon.

“He joined them together for a day of service, and we were the organization they selected. They called the effort ‘Building Bonds’ in support of a non-profit…and of each other.”

Lubrizol project manager and one of the founders of the Building Bonds program, Dennis Franko, said the programs was Hambrick’s way of joining Lubrizol employees from all over Northeast Ohio together for face-to-face time and to “meet the person on the other end of the telephone.” 

Subsequently, Lubrizol began working with several non-profits, but has offered employees to Hospice of the Western Reserve for 10 consecutive years. 

Lubrizol project manager and one of the founders of the Building Bonds program, Dennis Franko, said that after the first year, there was so much positive feedback about the program, getting people to join in—and get excited—was easy. 

 After the first year there was so much talk at the production plant about what a great day it was, everyone wanted to join in the next year.”

“We’re here rain or shine,” Franko said. “We’ve never had a problem coming up with the amount of people needed. We give them a job and they do it.” 

An Invaluable Service

DiMare said there are never less than 50 Lubrizol employees on hand. 

“We always ask for at least 50 people; one year we had 100,” he said. “It’s whatever we ask for and it always fills up. They are helping because they see the care their friends and loved ones have received at the David Simpson Hospice House.” DiMare estimated that the group’s work, which includes weeks of prepping, would cost more than $25,000 a year to contract out. 

Lisa Scotese Gallagher, Clinical Director, Volunteer Services, Hospice of Western Reserve, said volunteers are a vital part of the organization as equal members of the team they meet patient and family need and enrich the quality of life for patients, families and friends.

"Lubrizol volunteers are remarkable for their steadfast loyalty and commitment, and the diverse nature of the projects they have complete using specific skill set and expertise,” she said.

“They are highly focused, well organized and efficient. We are extremely grateful for their loyalty and support of our mission, and for their generous contributions of time and talent."

She appreciated the new kitchen cabinets donated–and installed–by Lubrizol and the volunteers.

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. Thanks to the generosity of Lubrizol volunteers patients and families can gather and enjoy special moment to remember like they would in their own home.” 

Lubrizol was honored at Hospice of the Western Reserve’s 2015 Annual Meeting with the “Many Hands Award” for its dedication and support of its corporate volunteers.

Hambrick, who did not attend the service days to allow the employees bond with each other, came back to view the work the Building Bonds team finished. When he retired, he donated a garden to the House, now named the Angela and James Hambrick Arbor Garden, where the Building Bonds team meets each year to kick off the day. 

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