November 8, 2017

Q&A with Featured Hockey Players in Business Member: Brad Steven

Brad Steven

President, Palmer Holland

Where did you grow up?

Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

What is your hockey history?

  • Played AAA youth hockey through Midget in Kitchener/Waterloo
  • Men’s league

What business are you in now?

I currently serve as President of Palmer Holland, a distributor of specialty chemicals for paints, coatings, adhesives, plastics and other markets. The industry is very large, ranging from multi-billion-dollar competitors to small, independent regional players. Palmer Holland falls somewhere in the middle. One of my biggest challenges has been being new to this industry. I have had to learn everything from the ground up, from the technology we represent to the products we carry. We sell products that alter rheological properties of paints, make plastics impact resistant, enable pigmented coatings to cover the substrate more efficiently and many others. With all the end-use markets we serve, it’s almost like directing multiple businesses at once.

How has hockey helped you achieve success?

Hockey was the first team sport I played as a youth. From it I learned how to be a good teammate and how to achieve goals together. Hockey is ultimately a game of character. I had plenty of youth coaches who challenged me to act like a man even before I actually was one, and they held me accountable for my effort and attitude. In hockey, as in life, character counts.

Can you share a few fun facts about yourself?

I moved to the U.S. when I was entering college on a golf scholarship from Cleveland State University. At that point, there wasn’t as much hockey to be found in the Cleveland area as there is now, so I stopped playing. I got involved again with the game after meeting Rob MacKinlay and as my son approached playing age. When I first stepped on the ice for a pickup game after not being on skates for 20 years (literally), let’s just say my mind remembered some things about my ability that my body was not capable of delivering on.

How can other HPIB members contact you or learn more about your business?