respect, integrity, dependability

Jacob Stern & Sons Inc. is a privately-owned importer, exporter, processor and distributor of specialty agricultural products. Our company is built upon the values passed down to us by our founder:

Respect – We respect all individuals. We approach the workplace and our jobs with respect.

Integrity – We approach all business and social matters with the highest level of integrity and honesty.

Commitment – Our word is our bond. We live by our commitments no matter how difficult or costly doing so may be. We are committed to our customers, suppliers, and fellow employees.

Employees – Our employees are the Company’s most valued assets.

Those values have been rewarded with long-standing relationships and a reputation synonymous with quality. That’s success we’re extremely proud of.

Today, Jacob Stern & Sons has grown to include four distinct business lines to better serve the needs of manufacturers at home in the U.S. and abroad. We invite you to learn more.

As one of the longest-running family-owned businesses in the U.S., Jacob Stern & Sons, Inc. is proud of a long history of innovation and growth.

    In the beginning

    Jacob Stern and his family arrived in America as German immigrants in the 1830s. By 1857, he was trading hides on the docks of Philadelphia.

    Like father like son

    Jacob Stern hired his son Arthur to help with the growing business.

    From hides to candles

    Isaac Katzenberg, Jacob Stern’s son-in-law, created a profitable opportunity, opening a new market for tallow, a product popular at the time for making soaps and candles.

    The strength of a good relationship

    Jacob Stern & Sons established a banking relationship with prominent banker J.P. Morgan, which lasted approx. 100 years.

    Grand momentum

    Jacob Stern’s Grandsons (Isaac Katzenberg’s sons), Lucien and Milton, joined the business and as the United States grew, Lucien was able to expand the tallow business, while Milton maintained their profitable hides business.

    Hide and go seek

    To fulfill growing demand, Jacob Stern & Sons purchased a hides warehouse in Philadelphia at Tioga Street and Aramingo Avenue.

    Fortunes of war

    Following a brief shutdown, both tallow and hides businesses successfully resumed after family members returned from World War I.

    Giving credit where credit was due

    Jacob Stern & Sons survived the Great Depression. The company demonstrated its commitment to their business relationships by offering extensions of credit to long-time customers.

    The launch of Acme-Hardesty

    A chemical engineer named William Hardesty approached Lucien Katzenberg with the proposition of splitting tallow to yield glycerine, a substance that could be used to produce explosives. The idea was appealing to the family and the plant was commissioned to manufacture glycerine to help support World War II efforts. In the late 1940’s, Milton Katzenberg was able to secure new business relationships and moved the hides business to New York.

    Jacob Stern & Sons turns 100

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote a congratulatory telegram to Lucien Katzenberg Jr. to commemorate the company’s 100th anniversary on January 5th, 1957.

    Winning in the West

    Jacob Stern & Sons expanded to the Midwest (1962), Texas (1964), and the West Coast (1968), to become the company’s first tallow business endeavors beyond Philadelphia. In 1964, Philip Bernstein, Jacob Stern’s great-great grandson, became Assistant Plant Manager in the Philadelphia plant.

    Feeding frenzy

    Jacob Stern & Sons became a manufacturer and supplier of animal feed ingredients. After the debut of Unifat® (a blended feed fat), Snow Commodities Company in California was formed to trade and distribute dry commodities for the West Coast feed industry. Feed-fat plants were also established in Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

    The future–held in the palm

    Acme-Hardesty created a new supply-chain strategy and began importing and distributing palm-based oleochemicals from Malaysia. In the late 1980s, Jacob Stern & Sons’ Texas plant became the world’s largest facility dedicated to tallow when it was modernized to accommodate any type of specification requirements for its worldwide customers.

    Some is good, more is better

    Jacob Stern & Sons sold its Snow Commodities and the Unifat product line. Jacob Stern & Sons formed new banking relationships with Rabobank, Wells Fargo, and Brown Brothers Harriman. Acme-Hardesty pioneered the first bulk importation of palm-oil-based oleochemicals into the United States and continued to expand product offerings with bulk shipments of castor oil from Brazil, and later India.

    Deep roots. New growth.

    Building upon a heritage of more than 160 years in business. Today, Jacob Stern & Sons is one of the largest processors and marketers of tallow in the world, and still managed by a dedicated descendant of the founder—owner and Chairman of the Board, Philip Bernstein, who started out as an Assistant Plant Manager in 1964.

    Acme-Hardesty is one of the biggest importers, marketers, and value-added distributors of palm-oil-based oleochemicals, castor oil, and castor oil derivatives in North America.

    Meet the executives who guide our company forward.

    • Philip L. Bernstein Chairman
    • Doug Shreves Chief Executive Officer
    • Steve Kulchin VP, Human Resources
    • Chip Hull Chief Financial Officer
    • Dale Polekoff Chief Information Officer
    • Gary Martin VP, Global Supply Chain

    Philip L. Bernstein, Chairman

    Philip Bernstein began working for Jacob Stern & Sons, Inc. while in high school. He continued working for the company throughout college, and in March of 1964, began his full-time career with the company at the Jacob Stern & Sons’ facility in Philadelphia.

    After holding positions of increasing responsibility, Mr. Bernstein assumed full management for the company and its divisions in the mid-1970’s. In 1980, Mr. Bernstein acquired all remaining family-owned shares of Jacob Stern & Sons, becoming the sole owner of the company.

    In 1984, Mr. Bernstein relocated the company’s headquarters from the Philadelphia area to Santa Barbara, California. He continued to manage the daily operations of Jacob Stern & Sons and its divisions until 2002, when the first non-family CEO of the company was appointed. Mr. Bernstein retained the position of Chairman, a role he continues to maintain in the present day.

    Doug Shreves, Chief Executive Officer

    Doug has served as CEO of Jacob Stern & Sons, Inc. since September 2011. He has extensive experience in the food, flavors and chemical industries. Mr. Shreves was President of SunOpta Ingredients, where he achieved record-setting sales and profits, optimized manufacturing and production facilities, and implemented key joint venture opportunities. Prior to SunOpta, Mr. Shreves was Vice President of Sales, North America for International Flavors and Fragrances, and also held Sales and Sales Management positions at Hoffmann-LaRoche and Union Oil.

    Mr. Shreves holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Kansas.

    Steve Kulchin, Vice President, Human Resources

    Steve Kulchin joined Jacob Stern & Sons as Vice-President, Human Resources in January 2016. Steve provides HR strategic leadership and tactical support at the Corporate and Divisional levels (Jacob Stern & Sons, Houston and Acme-Hardesty, Blue Bell). Steve strives to instill top notch HR practices that help to enable the company to excel and to attract, engage and retain our most critical asset—our people.

    Steve brings extensive leadership expertise to Jacob Stern. Prior to joining the team, Steve was VP HR for Mission Linen Supply, where he helped to set and attain growth and profitability goals for the privately held industry leader for nearly two decades. Prior to MLS, Steve held influential HR leadership positions at Neutrogena, Johnson & Johnson, and Hughes Aircraft Company. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources Management from San Diego State University.

    Chip Hull, Chief Financial Officer

    Hired to serve as CFO of Jacob Stern & Sons, Inc. in October 2004, Chip has more than 30 years of financial management experience in distribution and manufacturing industries. Prior to joining our company, Mr. Hull was the Vice President & Treasurer at UNOVA with responsibility for treasury, risk management, pensions and benefits, and M&A. During his 25 years there, Mr. Hull also served as a Controller and Vice President of Finance for machine tool divisions.

    Mr. Hull received both his M.B.A. and B.S.B.A. from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.

    Dale Polekoff, Chief Information Officer

    Dale is Chief Information Officer of Jacob Stern & Sons, Inc. Prior to his promotion to CIO, Mr. Polekoff was our Director of Information Technology. Mr. Polekoff possesses a wealth of Computer Science knowledge and experience, having held senior positions at Cigna Corp, Coopers & Lybrand and Strategic Distribution/ISA.

    Mr. Polekoff received his B.B.A in Computer and Information Sciences from Temple University/Fox Business School in Pennsylvania

    Gary Martin, Vice President, Global Supply Chain

    Gary has served as our Global Supply Chain Director since 2006, and brings extensive experience in the chemical and oleochemical industries, specializing in customized supply chain design & optimization. Past experience includes Vice President of Global Logistics at Chemtura, Director of Operations for Ciba Specialty Chemical’s Polymers Division and Production Manager at Rohm and Haas.

    Mr. Martin has professional certification in Production and Inventory Management from APICS and is an ISM Certified Purchasing Manager. Mr. Martin holds an M.B.A. from Bryant University and B.S. in General Science from Rhode Island College.