The Urethane Blog

Jim Panetta 1941-2021

It is sad to report the passing of Vincent A. Panetta, one of the original founders of Everchem. Jimmy, as he was known, worked for about ten years with the other two founders, Bob Daniele and David Patten at ARCO Chemical.

Jim was a serial entrepreneur with experiences owning a deli, a restaurant, multiple health clubs, was a stockbroker, and even sold imported vacuum cleaners at local home shows. Think infomercials! I’m sure that’s only half of what he did. Early in his career, he had worked for Atlantic Richfield as a gas station sales rep, working out deals for ARCO franchisees in the Philadelphia area . Eventually, he came back to ARCO Chemical as a chemical sales representative.

Dave joined ARCO Chemical in 1987 as a sales trainee, and Bob joined when ARCO Chemical acquired Union Carbide’s polyol business in 1990 or so. It is tough to say because the FTC created an interim company called the ARCO Chemical West Virginia (ACWV) Company while they decided which assets could stay and which had to be spun off.

At any rate, Jim left ARCO Chemical during a restructuring (ARCO stood for Another Reorginization COming) in the mid 1990s. His last position had been selling side products from the polystyrene business to the secondary market. Things like floor sweeps, or other forms of off-spec polystyrene. We called him the Duke of Dylene, which was the trade name for the ARCO Chemical version of polystyrene. This business was eventually sold to Nova Chemical.

When Jim left ARCO Chemical, he used his knowledge to create his own company, Evercrest, focused on distressed products in both polystyrene and chemicals–products like glycol or glycol ether bottoms. Jim was always trying to get the best out of everyone, and his ultimate vision was scaling Mount Everest. That was how he came up with Evercrest, and he had also protected the name Everchem. He brought in his two sons, Robert and Jamie, and later his daughter Jen, to help with Evercrest.

Jim’s business did well and when Bob and Dave decided to form a urethane distributorship in 2002, Jim invested and helped establish credit lines for the fledgling company. He owned the name Everchem which seemed as good as anything and was chosen. He and his sons gave advice and room and board, to some extent. The first Everchem offices were down the hall from Evercrest in a small strip center in Broomall, PA. Maureen Moke, who worked for Evercrest, was reassigned to Everchem as our first employee. Those offices were $400/month and we had to cover our desks with a plastic tarp when we thought it might rain because the ceiling tiles would get saturated and fall on our computer stations. The first desks were small filing cabinets as a base and cheap kitchen countertops from Home Depot used as the desktop. The computer network was hard wired and taped to the floor so no one would trip. We made it a point to meet visitors at a local restaurant.

Eventually, Jim passed along his plastics business to his sons and after Everchem was firmly established, sold his shares. He continued to be an advisor and friend and until recently he would regularly stop by the Everchem offices for an afternoon espresso and dialogue.

This is just Jim’s business side of life. His gregarious personality and positive outlook inspired so many more people than I could list here. Rest in Peace, my friend Jimmy Panetta!

2004 Philly Half Marathon Finish