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The Story of Chemical Containers

Getting a Start in Supporting New Citrus Growth

Before founding Chemical Containers, Inc. (CCI) in 1983, John Motis came from a background in agriculture, centered in Nebraska where he grew up. When he moved to the small town of Lake Wales in central Florida, he worked for Petersen Industries where he started out as a welder, helping to make their citrus loading equipment. Over the next six years his role in the company grew from welder, to foreman, to sales and travel and eventually, Vice President.

While at Petersen, Mr. Motis developed relationships with the citrus grower families in the area which helped him understand the deeper needs of that industry. After he decided to pursue other opportunities from serving as Vice President at Petersen, he worked for a year with an agriculture irrigation contractor.

As he learned and observed the irrigation side of the citrus industry, Mr. Motis noticed a gap in companies offering specialized solutions to quickly growing new citrus trees that no one was filling in an intentional way.

The problem that needed an innovative solution was that in the early 1980s, there were a lot of freezes in Florida that were having a huge detrimental impact on the citrus trees. The citrus farmers needed an efficient and cost-effective way to quickly grow new trees to replace the ones lost in the winter freezes.

Mr. Motis found out about technology being used in California, microjet irrigation, that created the possibility of feeding citrus trees with liquid fertilizer that was the fastest way to grow new trees. He saw the opportunity to meet the need to build and install equipment designed to apply liquid fertilizer in a highly targeted way exactly where the trees needed it most. CCI was formed in Lake Wales, where it’s still headquartered, to focus on addressing this unmet and critical need in the local agriculture industry.

Traditionally, agriculture fertilization companies built equipment that would apply chemical liquids any way they could without much concern on only hitting specific targeted areas. The custom-built sprayers designed and made by the newly-formed CCI made it a priority to change that approach, for the better.

The result of CCI taking on the challenge of creating equipment made to ensure agriculture chemicals are applied correctly, only where needed, helped these companies better succeed in their mission to have their products work as intended. Over the years, CCI has worked with all liquid chemical, irrigation and fertilizer companies to collaborate with them so their products are used the way they were designed.

This means no money is wasted in the development and use of these chemicals, the growers save money in having a more efficient way to apply the chemicals, and most importantly the environment is protected since CCI’s application equipment discourages overapplication.

Growing with the Citrus Industry

In time, as the citrus industry began to bounce back from the detrimental impact of the freezes and successfully grow new baby trees, CCI grew with them. Our company’s product development evolved from focusing on innovating ways to best apply liquid fertilizer to grow new trees to helping efficiently irrigate them as they got bigger and eventually apply herbicides and pesticides in targeted areas to help protect these precious plants.

In the early days of the company, because the focus was on supporting the citrus industry, it was very seasonal where in the fall, business would slow down. To create more stability in the business and support steady growth, Mr. Motis started looking at ways CCI could diversify and expand what was offered to a variety of industries beyond agriculture.

The core component of what CCI has always manufactured and customized for customers are plastic tanks. Part of the pioneering quality of the company involves looking at innovative ways the same components can be used to make new equipment that offers much-needed capabilities in pumping, storing and applying liquids.

Opportunities in Meeting the Changing Needs and Vision of Customers

Everything our company designs and manufactures is driven by the needs and vision of our customers. We take their ideas for what they need, consider how the equipment will be used to ensure it will best meet their requirements, and make a commercially viable product.

For example, one of the industries we evolved our equipment designs to support was deicing for winter roads. After discovering a trend in the industry that was moving away from applying rock salt and more focused on using liquid brine, we realized a deicer sprayer is like other boom sprayers used in agriculture. While the equipment is modified to fit the specific needs of the anti-icing industry, the theory and parts used are essentially the same.

Even though the equipment is designed and built at our headquarters in Lake Wales, Florida, because we manufacture it better than other companies, we have the capability to best meet the needs of northern states that rely on a clean, efficient way to keep roads clear of ice and snow. Over time we developed cost-effective liquid brine sprayers along with mixer tanks so our customers get consistent quality and hands-on custom design tailored to their project needs.

Solving Problems to Support a Beneficial Future for Everyone

As we market our equipment and custom-build services at industry tradeshows and continue developing our website to better serve customer needs, our goal is to discover other opportunities where our dedicated problem solving capabilities are needed. By paying attention to what people are doing and their unmet needs, we’re able to build solid, long-lasting relationships that offer genuine support over time.

Along with our customers and employees, we also have worked hard to develop strong relationships with chemical companies. This has resulted in them approaching CCI first when they have a new liquid chemical that needs a specific type of application because we’ve demonstrated to them over time we’re capable of creating equipment that supports the successful and best use of their product.

The driving vision behind the founding of the company that carries through to today is that it’s all about making a beneficial difference in the world and taking the responsibility seriously as a business to change lives for the better. At the end of the day, it’s less about striving for profitability and more about providing opportunities for quality, supportive employment that in turn drives the innovation and superior service our customers appreciate while looking for the best ways to protect our environment.

Top 5 Core Company Values

  1. Above All, Act with Integrity
  2. What we say must be what we do and make sure to follow through on it. A trusting relationship with customers is only established through demonstrating with consistent action their needs are priority.

  3. Exceed Expectations, for Customers and Employees
  4. Give customers a better product and higher quality service than they expect at a fair price. While pursuing opportunities to exceed customer expectations, we also prioritize employing people with the aim of making their lives better with the hope working for CCI is more than just about feeding their family but feeds them in a bigger, broader way.

  5. Customer Needs and Satisfaction Always Come First
  6. When a customer has a problem using our equipment in the field, we do whatever it takes to make them happy and take honoring our warranty seriously. If a customer honestly and clearly communicates to us what the problem is, we’re dedicated to solving the issue to help them succeed using our products.

  7. Benefits of a Larger Company with the Feel of a Family Small Business
  8. CCI is a big enough company to provide our employees with the benefits they need for a high quality of life. At the same time, from the start we’ve been a family-focused business where everyone who works for us is treated with the close, personal support you get from true family and we don’t want that to ever change.

  9. Demonstrate Compassion and Empathy for All Concerned
  10. Prioritize listening and paying attention to customer and employee needs while genuinely caring about solving any problems to offer the best support needed.