Company History

Curtis Henning and Horace Hill, both WWII pilots, founded the company that became Concrete Chemicals of CA in 1957. Curtis, a true war hero, was shot down and captured by Nazi forces, later escaping. After the war, Curtis and Horace collaborated on the idea of creating a company servicing the post-war concrete industry in California. San Mateo Feed became one of their original stockholders, helping them realize their dream of providing basic concrete chemicals to the booming construction industry in California, including an air entraining agent, ZeeCon, a water-reducing agent, and carbon black, a concrete pigment.

Later, Walter Hay, one of their most trusted employees, bought the company in a handshake deal in 1983 after decades of successful production and service. He concentrated on producing LiquiBlack, the original lamp black, a carbon-based liquid used to color concrete and plaster. Soon after, his son Steve began working with him in the warehouse, learning the trade, filling bottles, and making deliveries to the concrete and ready-mix companies in the Bay Area. 

Eventually, Steve Hay purchased the company from his father in 1996. Graduating with an engineering degree from UC Santa Barbara, Steve always had a mind for chemistry and manufacturing processes. Jeff Kerber, an industry leader in pool plastering, approached Steve about creating new pigments for pool finishes. Steve became one of the first manufacturers of liquid blue, mixing it with liquid black to make the popular colors, Tahoe Blue and Caribbean Blue

As colored pool finishes became popular in the late 1990s, Steve created new powder pigments in his color lab and greatly expanded the colors available to pool builders, plaster applicators, and their customers. He was instrumental in formulating many of the industry’s standard color lines. As we count it, Steve and Concrete Chemicals has supplied colors for well over half a million pools.

Steve is now working with his long-time friend, Spencer Mills, and with Spencer’s son, Douglas, to expand Concrete Chemicals. Spencer and Steve, best friends when they were 13 and 14 years old, rekindled their friendship with a challenging hike up Mt. Elbert in Colorado. At 14,438 ft, it is the highest peak in the state and second highest in the lower 48. Later, they undertook a two-week Alaska adventure culminating at the Arctic Ocean. The Mills family brings to Concrete Chemicals over 50 years of combined successful business experience in many industries. Concrete Chemicals remains a family-owned and operated business with a tradition of responsive customer service, friendliness, quality, and integrity.