Homer Laughlin Mourns Passing of Joseph M. Wells III
Under Wells’ tenure, the company modernized its production facilities and decorating processes with state-of-the-art equipment to ensure high quality and efficiency.
The Homer Laughlin China Co. recently said goodbye to Joseph M. Wells III, its former president and CEO and, most recently, chairman of the board, who passed away last month at the age of 77. According to the company, 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 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, Wells’ 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 Co. as a part-time employee in high school and college; he began to work full time in 1963. 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.
For more information, visit www.hlcdinnerware.com.