Philip S. Cohen, former president and chairman of Michelman, passed away on May 3, 2019, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Affectionately known to all as Phil, he served an active role in the company from 1956 until the early 2000s. According to Michelman, he was a visionary who foresaw the importance of sustainability and introduced water-based chemistry to the company in the 1950s, which has been the cornerstone of Michelman’s business for nearly 70 years.

Reportedly a pioneer in the corrugated industry, he facilitated the manufacturing of Resisto Coat™ wax emulsions for water beading and non-abrasion on corrugate. He understood the “Voice of the Customer” before it became a popular term, and Michelman’s most long-lasting innovations grew out of his effort to continually provide more value to the organization’s customers.

According to the company, he set the standard for customer care and service and made it a company priority to increase personal connections with customers. Legendary at Michelman, his name has become synonymous with excellent customer service. Stories such as Phil jumping over desks to answer a phone call or Phil driving through a snowstorm to fulfill a customer’s order on time are part of company lore. Because of this demonstration of customer focus, Michelman created the Philip S. Cohen Award for Customer Service in 2007. This honor, awarded yearly to an associate who consistently adds long-term value and exceeds customer expectations, is the highest honor an associate can receive.

“First and foremost, Phil was a fantastic human being, husband, father, and grandfather,” said Jerry Reichert, senior vice president and general manager of CBT and Michelman’s chairman of the board. “If that were not enough, he was also an outstanding leader, mentor, coach, and friend to countless people inside and outside of Michelman’s organization. All will miss Phil’s smile, can-do attitude, wisdom, and words of encouragement. Future generations of the extended Michelman organization will continue to benefit from Phil’s countless contributions.”

A native and lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Phil was born on December 31, 1930. He graduated from Hughes High School and Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), and obtained an MBA from Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio). He subsequently joined the US Navy and while serving, he married Lois Michelman. They shared a love of philanthropy and founded the Freeda Kay House to serve domestic abuse survivors and their children. He also shared his passion for cycling by donating hundreds of bicycles to numerous organizations. In addition to his dedication to his family, his work, and philanthropic endeavors, most will remember him for the kindness and warmth he shared with everyone he encountered. Philip Cohen walked through the world with joy and grace, smiling until the very end.

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