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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

ChemArt founder Richard Beaupre: Chemistry=formula for success

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KINGSTON, R.I. – September 30, 2010 –Richard Beaupre, founder and CEO of ChemArt, says understanding chemistry was the formula for his success. And chemistry is the reason he is so interested in the upcoming fall election.

The chief executive will host a campaign kickoff for the higher education bond referendum (#2) at his facility in Lincoln Monday, Oct. 4 at 11 a.m.

In November, Rhode Islanders will be asked to vote on the $78 million referendum that seeks $61 million to finance a modern chemistry facility at the University of Rhode Island, designed with contemporary classrooms, advanced research labs, capable of providing superior education for Rhode Island’s knowledge-based economy. The remaining $17 million is for the renovation and construction of an addition to the Art Center at Rhode Island College.

ChemArt makes an ideal setting for the kickoff. The company, which employs a number of URI and RIC graduates, integrates the arts and sciences through the design and manufacture of exquisite ornaments and collectibles.

Always fascinated by science, particularly chemistry, Beaupre knocked on the admission door of the University of Rhode Island in 1958 after serving in the U.S. Navy.

The young veteran pursued his chemistry passion under the watchful eyes of his mentors: the late Professor of Organic Chemistry Paul Abel and the late Professor of Analytical Chemistry William E. Ohnesorge.

After graduating in 1962, Beaupre worked for four different companies during the next eight years. Along the way, he patented a photochemical process before pursuing his dream of owning his own business.

He founded ChemArt in 1976 in a former ice cream factory in East Providence with four employees. He applied his patented process to photochemical etching, along with plating and screen printing. Beaupre began working with jewelry findings, but soon realized that ornaments, particularly Christmas ornaments, provided a niche that could provide dividends year round.

Today the company employs 100 (up to 140 employees seasonably).

In 2007, ChemArt was granted the right to market, sell, and distribute the White House Annual Ornament by The White House Historical Association. ChemArt has been the sole manufacturer of the White House ornament since the collection's inception in 1981. This tradition, spanning three decades, celebrates each presidential legacy starting with George Washington. The single largest ornament program in the United States, the White House ornament sells more than a million pieces each year. The company has often won the competitive bid to design the ornament.

The company also manufactures, sells and markets Baldwin ornaments. More than 200 ornaments and keepsakes are part of the Baldwin Ornament Collection, composed of a series of 15 distinctive categories.

ChemArt’s product line includes ornaments and memorabilia, bookmarks, page clips, and lapel pins, which are used by customers to raise funds, promote events, recognize donors and volunteers, and to commemorate a special event. His company has designed and manufactured many ornaments based on important figures and periods in American history.

“We’re probably the largest manufacturer of ornaments in the country,” the URI alumnus says with pride.

Host John Ratzenberger dropped by ChemArt in 2005 to feature the company in the television show, Made In America.” Ratzenberger travels the country to profile quality American manufacturers to broaden the understanding of the manual arts and show how and where the goods are made in America.

URI Department of Communications & Marketing photo by Joe Giblin