Dennis Zeedyk is the founder and CEO of Glycerin Traders. He is supported in the business by his wife, Marina. Dennis is driven by a strong belief in and application of economic theory and free market capitalism. He dedicates his success to these principles, hard work, and the great support he receives from a tremendous workforce.
Dennis’ understanding for running large enterprise and thinking on a large scale was born from his upbringing. Dennis grew up in Northwest Ohio running a farm with his father, and later, on his own. He learned the keys to running a large operation with many moving and interconnected parts through this experience. Dennis also spent a number of years living and working in Malaysia and Eastern Europe.
With a Bachelors Degree and Master Degree in Agricultural Economics, Dennis is well versed in the business Glycerin Traders is engaged in. It is with the skills acquired through his education and work experience that set the stage for the success Glycerin Traders is experiencing. That success is further enhanced by Dennis’ recognition of a niche in the marketplace that was unfilled. He quickly worked to fill that void and provide valued products and services to the industries Glycerin Traders serves. As CEO, Dennis works very hard to establish strong leadership through his own example and dedication. He believes very strongly that leaders must lead through their actions and not just their words. To that end, Dennis is tirelessly dedicated to advancing the objectives of the company, serving the needs of the industries, and providing opportunities for the Glycerin Traders employees and all of the great people he works with.
Glycerin Traders Origins
Glycerin Traders (GT) started in late 2011 with an old delivery van truck, a trash pump, a set of tools and a $100,000 bank loan. Dennis began working out of his home office and a friend’s barn for several years, slowly finding markets for agricultural processing waste products.
Dennis caught his break at the National Biodiesel Conference in January of 2012. At that conference, he kept hearing people speak of the need for a home for biodiesel plants’ waste glycerin. He ran up to his hotel room to call a friend who previously ran a glycerin plant. He asked his friend what was needed to get such a plant going. With the concept in hand and full confidence that he could develop a plant quickly, Dennis ran back down to the conference, passing out business cards and telling everyone that he was just getting started building a glycerin processing plant in LaPorte, Indiana.
Considering Dennis did not own a location at the time, he developed his new plan with the idea of building the plant using two semi-trailers. The “plant” was up and running by May of 2012. Within weeks, he was processing 4 truckloads of glycerin per week and gaining key knowledge.
In the meantime, Dennis caught wind of a bankrupt biodiesel plant in Defiance, OH that was for sale. He approached the bank holding the highly insolvent mortgage and offered a plan to purchase the plant. After persistent negotiations, the bank agreed to Dennis’ plan. He quickly secured his financing and purchased the facility through the bankruptcy court. After converting the biodiesel plant to a glycerin processing plant, Dennis began production in Defiance in December of 2012.
In 2016, GT purchased the location in LaPorte, Indiana they were operating out of to house the continuingly growing operations there. That location serves as the company’s headquarters Nationally.
For every 10 gallons of biodiesel produced, there is 1 gallon of waste glycerin. This waste glycerin will contain excess methanol and vegoils from the transesterification process. Since its inception, GT purchased 76,500 tons of waste glycerin from 22 biodiesel plants in the US and Canada. To date, GT has sold 45,000 tons of processed glycerin, 15,000 tons of vegoils to feed mills, and 6.2 million gallons of reclaimed methanol to biodiesel plants. GT runs the main processing operation with eight full-time employees running the plant 24/7 every day of the year. In 2013, the equipment at the plant in LaPorte, IN was rolled into the plant in Defiance, OH so that the employees in LaPorte could focus on new developing opportunities.
Our newest venture is our De-Packaging Solutions operation. To date, our main focus in de-packing has been the hand sanitizer industry. However, we are expanding this operation into a variety of other key business sectors. As the name implies, we view ourselves as a full-service solution provider. If you have a product that needs to be de-packaged for any reason, we are committed to engineering a solution. We have successfully de-packaged and repurposed over 3,000 tons of product. That number is growing every day.
Logistics Key-Use of Existing Rail
Considering the LaPorte, Indiana location was equipped with a rail spur, Glycerin Traders started a small railcar transloading operation in 2012. With a small portable conveyor, GT began bringing in rail cars of canola meal from Canada. This business was growing at 20% per year and needed additional employees. With the glycerin processing business transferred to Defiance, the LaPorte employees could afford to focus considerably more time on railcars. In 2013, GT transloaded 64 railcars. Fast-forward, GT built a 12,500 ft2 commodity barn with permanent unloading equipment and will handle 400 railcars in 2022. GT handles a wide range of products such as canola meal, soybean meal, distillers’ grains, salt, sodium bicarbonate, dicalcium phosphate, glycerin and vegoil tankers. GT is proud of the 525% growth in this sector.
Dennis and his team are strong believers in community. He believes that the communities GT works in have played an integral role in the success of GT. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the company to give back to those communities by hiring locally, maintaining strong community relations, and giving to local organizations in need.
Dennis is also a big believer in second chances. To that end, GT is proud to offer second chance opportunities to the marginalized members of the communities we live and work in. GT works to offer employment opportunities to minorities, legal immigrants, those with gaps in work history, people with prior prison sentences, and those with special work flexibility needs.
A Strong Past. A Bright Future
Over the short lifespan of GT, we have accomplished much. However, there is still much work to be done. We are very proud of our past accomplishments. However, we look optimistically to the future. With strong focused leadership, the help of our great employees and supportive communities, we are sure to uncover many new innovations, enhanced stability, and continued growth.