Unlocking Value: A Conversation with  Senior R&D Chemist, Jason Lagona

To help gain a greater understanding of how Nelson Brothers Specialty Chemicals unlocks customer value in all parts of our manufacturing process, we sat down with our senior research and development chemist for industrial chemical products, Jason Lagona. Jason has over 15 years of experience in lubricants and specialty fuels chemistry. His Ph.D. is in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of Maryland. 

Q: Jason, thanks for taking the time to detail more about your work at Nelson Brothers. Can you  explain how you got introduced to the company?  

Jason headshot 2A: Sure thing, I was working at another company when I got a call about a position with Nelson Brothers. The opportunity involved expanding the industrial portfolio around PIBSA chemistry. It sounded interesting, and I eventually had a phone interview with Terry Newton (HR) and Ricky Vance (Chemist). Everything went well, and I visited Birmingham with my wife for an in-person interview. Terry Newton and Tim Zeli (Vice President) cared for us, and I liked what I saw at the Parrish plant. Everyone was so kind, and there was an air of excitement about the work. We accepted the job, and made the move from Delaware. It was a great decision, and I couldn't be happier working at Nelson Brothers.  

Jason Lagona in the lab at the Nelson Brothers Parrish, AL Facility

Q: What does unlocking customer value look like in your daily work?  

A: Every day we make products in the lab that meet a particular specification determined by our customers. These are tested to ensure that they meet all requirements necessary, and then we move to scale-up in the pilot plant before we go to full production scale at the volume our customers desire. We ensure the customer gets what they want in the most economic and efficient manner possible. This attention to detail goes a long way to helping our customers succeed. We don't charge for our research and development when we have new products to manufacture, which also stands as a testimony of our commitment to helping our customers achieve more for with their resources.

Q: You mentioned the attention to detail at Nelson Brothers. Can you tell me more about how Nelson Brothers stands out in this regard?  

A: Nelson Brothers cares about getting the details right. It's a commitment to producing quality products and working for our customers that sets the company apart. When we build a relationship with a customer and manufacture a new product for them, they often return to work with us on other products because of our level of attention to specific needs. We grow with our customers due to how dedicated we are to helping them succeed. In turn, potential customers see this type of attention and service as a positive.

Jason Lab 2


Q: What's something unique that not many people know about you? 

A: I really enjoy making BBQ and roller skating, skateboarding, and BMX. But my true passion is detailing and driving my cars. I love how a fully detailed vehicle looks, and I can stare at it all day. My favorite car in my collection is a 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder. It is a little beast when you get in it! 

Q: Can you explain more about custom offerings here at Nelson Brothers?  

A: We make custom products for customers based on what they communicate to us they need. We undergo extensive research and development and communicate through the entire process. Custom products can be built around different molecular weights of PIBSA and PIBSA derivatives, and made for a wide variety of industrial applications. Jason Lab

Many chemical producers do not offer custom products, so prior to working with Nelson Brothers some of our customers have only had the option to buy shelf products which work but may not be the most optimal for their uses. We can talk with our customers to tweak products in order to produce what they want. We can also make various products in drums, totes, trailers, and railcars. This gives our customers flexibility when it comes to shipping and logistics.   

Q: Are there any other thoughts you have in closing?  

A: Working with a family company like Nelson Brothers is a pleasure. Our customers notice the difference when they visit us for plant/lab tours and industry meetings. I once heard a visitor who came to assist with a plant trial say that he would love to work at Nelson Brothers if he were a bit younger in his career and not ready to retire. That says a lot, especially after just one visit. Overall, Nelson Brothers is a great company, and many exciting things are being built daily. I am grateful to be a part of it, and to play a part in helping our customers to unlock more value.

Thanks for tuning into the Nelson Brothers Specialty Chemicals blog.  Call or email us to start working towards the optimal solutions for your industrial chemical needs.   


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