Former Homer Laughlin President and CEO Joseph M. Wells III Passes Away

The Homer Laughlin China Company said goodbye to its former president and CEO and, most recently, chairman of the board, Joseph M. Wells III, who passed away March 12, 2019, at the age of 77. 

Wells was always quick to credit Homer Laughlin’s success to its employees and past generations of leaders. However, he took his rightful place alongside those leaders in leaving a legacy of vision and success. Under Wells’ tenure, the company modernized its production facilities and decorating processes with state-of-the-art equipment to ensure high quality and efficiency. He helped expand the supremely popular Fiesta® line, enhancing its worldwide reputation as a favorite of collectors. Finally, in 2010 he oversaw the acquisition of Hall China, a chinaware manufacturer founded in 1904 and headquartered in his hometown of East Liverpool, Ohio.

Perhaps most importantly, Wells was determined to keep the company’s jobs in the U.S. despite industry trends to move manufacturing overseas. He was dedicated to growing his community by offering good-paying manufacturing jobs.

We will miss him greatly,” said Liz McIlvain, Joe’s sister and current president and CEO of HLC. “His leadership inspired us, his vision guided us, but most of all, his friendship enriched us.”

Wells began his career at The Homer Laughlin China Company as a part-time employee in high school and college, and in 1963 he began to work full time. He worked his way up to the sales department and then succeeded his father as executive vice president and general manager in 1986. In June 2002, he became CEO and president of the company. In 2013, he retired and became chairman of the board of directors.

March 2019


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