RDAbbott Leaders Awarded TLARGI Lifetime Membership

Three more RDAbbott leaders have been awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership in The Los Angeles Rubber Group, Inc. (TLARGI). The recipients are Keith Thomas, RDAbbott’s CEO; Rick Ziebell, Vice President of Technology and Technical Fellow; and Russ Shorter, Senior Account Manager. TLARGI announced the nominations at its annual Christmas Party, on December 3, 2023.

Keith Thomas, Rick Ziebell, and Russ Shorter join all RDAbbott’s founders in earning this distinction from TLARGI, a sub-division of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Rubber Division.

Robert David (R.D.) Abbott started the company that bears his name in 1948 and was nominated for TLARGI’s highest award five years later. Carl Hoglund, who was instrumental in commercializing Chemlok® adhesives and serving as Mr. Abbott’s right-hand man, was nominated by his peers in 1966. Johnny Arensmeyer, an innovative die manufacturer who merged his company into RDAbbott in 1966, was nominated for TLARGI’s Lifetime Membership in 1986. Jerry Wicker, who expanded RDAbbott’s product lines to include dispersions, additives, modifiers, colors, and fillers; and Robert Baatz, a long-time RDAbbott employee who became a co-owner, were both nominated in 1992.

In addition, Tom Martin, a 28-year RDAbbott employee who has served countless leadership roles within the company, was nominated by his TLARGI peers in 2018.

Keith Thomas described his recent nomination as both “a tremendous honor” and “truly humbling”. Thomas has served on all 15 TLARGI committees and chaired five of them. Thomas has also held every position on the TLARGI Board of Directors, including serving as the Rubber Division, ACS Area Director, and as the Board Chairman in 2008 and 2024. In reflecting on previous lifetime membership nominees, Thomas describes them as “people I have admired, been mentored and influenced by, or been inspired to emulate.” He also credits TLARGI for shaping his professional development and providing an “amazing community”.

Rick Ziebell has served on and chaired TLARGI’s prestigious Education and Technical committees. For 15 years, he also taught TLARGI’s Basic Rubber Technology course, which provides an in-depth introduction to the rubber industry. “I am truly honored to be recognized as part of the enduring volunteer spirit that is TLARGI,” Ziebell said. He shared that many past students still keep in touch with him today.

Russ Shorter has served on nine TLARGI committees and chaired six of them. He’s also held five positions on the TLARGI Board of Directors, including serving as the Board Chairman in 2010. “I am extremely humbled and thankful to be put in the same class as the deserving inductees before me,” Shorter said.