In a lively Q&A with Venture Connectors board member Zack Pennington on April 5, founder of C.I.Agent Solutions, Dan Parker, shared how he grew his environmental cleanup company into an industry leader that got the attention of Mattoon, Ill.-based Justrite Manufacturing Co., a provider of products for the safe management of flammable liquids. Justrite purchased C.I.Agent Solutions in November.
Founded in 2000, C.I.Agent Solutions developed the C.I.Agent product, a non-toxic, petroleum-based polymer that turns fuels and oils into a rubberlike substance, allowing for better and easier cleanup of land and water spills. Among many notable projects, the company helped clean up the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
C.I.Agent Solutions was attractive to Justrite because of its many talented people and its cutting-edge oil-filtration technology that removes hydrocarbons from water. C.I.Agent Solutions had about 26 employees and revenue of just under $10 million at the time of its acquisition. The company ranked No. 28 on Business First’s Fast 50 in 2016.
Parker grew up as one of eight children in Louisville’s Buechel neighborhood. After high school, he became somewhat of a serial entrepreneur, starting and owning several local businesses, including Dad’s Imports, as car repair shop he ran from 1974 to 1994. He also has owned waste oil, restaurant equipment and salvage materials businesses.
Parker continues to consult with C.I.Agent Solutions, and most of the company’s employees have remained in Louisville after the sale.