With customers like Amtrak, Eli Lilly and Company and Lucas Oil Stadium, Katalyst Corporation serves big names from the small town of Beech Grove, Indiana. Along the way, co-owners Kevin O’Malley and Kenny Westell also keep the local community looking its best.
“Kevin and I both came from PPG Paints,” Westell says. “We started Katalyst in 2007 and we’ve been going ever since.”
Now, the two paint pros distribute PPG Paints and other high-quality coatings to an impressive roster of business customers. They don’t even have to go very far, in some cases.
“A large number of locomotives in the Amtrak fleet are refurbished and repainted right here across the street from us,” Westell says. In addition to supplying the paint for those locomotives, Katalyst also sponsors an annual, local event organized by Amtrak employees. The Beech Grove Rail Rodders car show draws dozens of unique vehicles and car enthusiasts to Beech Grove every year.
A suburb located on the southeastern side of Indianapolis, the Beech Grove location could make Katalyst a small fish in a big pond – but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Westell and O’Malley have worked hard to earn the respect of big customers from the city and local audiences from the small town. In fact, they appreciate working in the small-town setting and use it to their advantage.
“When our lease was up on our previous building, we actually bought a building,” Westell says. “It was an old, run-down building in the Beech Grove community, but we fixed it up and made that part of Beech Grove a little nicer.”
Katalyst consulted with local leaders, including the Beech Grove mayor, during the redevelopment project. The city offered the pair of entrepreneurs a low-interest loan for the project. Although they ended up financing through other means, the connections they built with the community have lasted. They’re now active members of the local chamber of commerce and support other local initiatives.
Meanwhile, they’ve also left their mark on the city of Indianapolis. Ahead of the 2012 Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium, O’Malley worked with Indianapolis officials as they repainted old railroad bridges throughout the city.
“If you drive around town today, those bridges still look nice,” Westell says.
With high-quality coatings provided by experts in the paint industry, Katalyst’s success with big customers and its impact on the local area are sure to last. For more information, visit www.katalysticd.com.
This story is part of our ongoing ‘Local Memories, Lasting Impact’ series that highlights small, locally owned businesses and the differences they make in their communities.