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MFG TMW Podcast

Guest Spotlight

Lisa Oswald, Kay Chemical and Mike Dougherty, SmartMulch

During this podcast episode, two members of the MAGNET Incubation Center talk about their growing companies, one new and one established.

Lisa Oswald, Kay Chemical
Lisa Oswald is owner of Kay Chemical. For over 50 years, Kay Chemical has been a Cleveland-based, family-owned company that manufactures high-qualityindustrial hand cleaners. The products, including K-GARD hand cleaner, are praised by mechanics, artists, and other workers for getting out the toughest grease and grime and healing dry, cracked skin.  Lisa took ownership of the company in 2012 after her uncle stepped down.  


Mike Dougherty, SmartMulchMike Dougherty founded SmartMulch, a startup that reimagines mulch as lightweight, compressed tiles that are easy to transport and set in place. As anyone who has hauled it around the yard can attest, traditional bagged mulch is heavy, awkward, and messy. SmartMulch tiles were designed to install in half the time, prevent weeds, be clean & hassle free, all in zero-waste packaging. The water-activated tiles are currently in the product development phase.


And since we were not able to record Lisa's comments to a question about Cleveland as a supportive ecosystem for manufacturers, below are here comments:

I find Cleveland to be an outstanding city in which to operate a manufacturing business.  Our distinct advantage is that Cleveland and the surrounding suburbs are large enough to provide us with all of the resources we need from raw materials to work force.  We pride ourselves on sourcing locally and we have multiple options to ensure that we are receiving quality products and services at a reasonable price.  That said, we don't have the high costs or headaches associated with doing business in some of the larger U.S. cities.  Cleveland has everything we need in close proximity which allows us to operate smoothly while remaining fiscally conscious.

Manufacturing Tomorrow is a podcast series brought to you by the Ohio Manufacturing Institute at The Ohio State University. Featuring the perspectives of manufacturing leaders, we focus on the advanced manufacturing innovations, solutions and partnerships that exist in our region now and that will propel industry in the future.

Our guests include the unsung heroes of advanced manufacturing, from company C-suite executives and engineers to industry-facing academics, supportive government agencies and regional economic development organizations. Interviews cover the latest topics on products, processes – and groundbreaking relationships –the best manufacturers engage in to infuse entrepreneurialism in their daily operations.

Our mission is threefold: to provide a voice to small and large manufacturers, educate the public on the value of manufacturing innovation to the U.S. economy, and showcase how Ohio’s technology resource support providers (e.g., higher education, technical centers, and MEPs) boost advanced manufacturing solutions. We ask guest speakers about what catalysts are needed to collaborate on new products and processes, how to reduce academic-industry barriers, and the types of technical resources that can truly bolster manufacturing productivity. 


A special thanks for production support goes to Eric French at WOSU and Ohio State Media Services.  
Do you have a guest suggestion for MFG TMW? Please contact Kathryn Kelley, executive producer, at
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