Kathy Buckman Gibson makes better business through chemistry

MBJ SWOT: Opportunity: Better business through chemistry

The COVID vaccine, finally, is gaining ground against the virus it’s fighting. But, that doesn’t mean life has returned to normal, for people or for businesses. Many facilities are still short-staffed and need an expert they can call upon to take care of their physical plant’s infrastructure and maintenance. When it comes to chemistry and water treatment services, clients want someone that can provide a full suite of solutions. One longtime Memphian, who grew up in this sector, believes her business is well positioned to take on the task — and it’s not the only opportunity she can capitalize upon.

KBG started out providing chemistry services for the pulp and paper industry. But, the business recently expanded to focus on water treatment in the region.

Large buildings — such as hospitals or convention centers — have boilers that heat up water to create steam. They also have cooling towers that water flows through to cool down. And you can’t just leave the water on its own afterward.

“You have to treat that water. … Even though we have really great water in Memphis, you still have to treat it,” she said. “We’re providing chemistries, services, and digital technologies to help treat and manage it.”

KBG saw an opportunity: There wasn’t another business providing comprehensive services, Buckman Gibson said.

“We looked out at who’s in the greater Memphis market and felt there was a gap,” she said.

KBG’s services extend beyond traditional water treatment. Digitized information allows processes to be monitored remotely. It also handles managing, cleaning, calibrations, and outsourcing.

A market gap isn’t their only opportunity right now. Through the “Move Your Money to Memphis” initiative, the Greater Memphis Chamber encourages businesses to increase local spending.

KBG is the only locally owned business of its type, Buckman Gibson said. As a woman-owned organization, it’s also a diverse supplier, another rarity.

“We’re unique in that regard, creating that opportunity for businesses to support both of those initiatives,” she said.

The company is small, with three employees, but has big goals.

“Our five-year plan is to be one of the top five suppliers for water treatment in the Memphis region,” Buckman Gibson said.

Read the full Memphis Business Journal Article here.

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April 14, 2021