CALL NOW : 815-385-8100

Executive Team

Chroma Color Joe Herres CEO

Joe Herres


Joe Herres was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in April of 2024. Previously he had been Chroma’s  Vice President of Sales and Marketing.  Prior to that he was the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Spartech, LLC where he led the commercial organization for over 20 years. Joe’s plastics career began at Polymer Extruded Products in Newark, NJ where he started his career as an operations manager moving into the role of National Sales Manager as part of the transition team to sell the business.  The business was sold to Spartech Corporation in 2003 where Joe continued in various leadership roles eventually taking over as the Global Sales Director.  In 2013, the Spartech business was sold to PolyOne Corporation (Avient) and Joe assumed the role of Commercial Director for the Designed Structures and Solutions Division. In 2017, Arsenal purchased Spartech from PolyOne (Avient) and then in 2019 Nautic purchased Spartech from Arsenal and it was then sold in 2021 to The Jordan Company. Joe remained the Sales leader through all these transitions. Joe’s strong track record of providing the commercial vision, leadership and execution led to exponential growth and market expansion in Spartech’s evolution under the ownership of these various public and private equity firms. Joe’s depth of experience in the plastics industry with a diverse background in polymers and manufacturing processes, and his strong focus on customer needs drives success of the motivated teams he builds. Joe attended Washburn University’s Business Administration and Management program.

LJ Bailargeon

Gerald (L.J.) Baillargeon

Chief Financial Officer

Gerald (L.J.) Baillargeon joined Chroma Color Corporation with a record of strong and decisive executive leadership in organizations ranging from $50 million to $1 billion. Most recently, Baillargeon held the position of chief financial officer at Elite Comfort Solutions where he assisted in the facilitation of the platform acquisitions, driving significant growth and coordinating the successful exit. He also served as the chief financial officer at Solvaira Specialties and Diversified Global Graphics Group (DG3) where he performed similar duties of those at Elite. Earlier in his career, he held key financial positions at Automatic Data Processing and Ernst & Young.
Cass Birchbauer, Chief of Human Resources

Cass Birchbauer

Chief Human Resource Officer

Cass Birchbauer was named the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) for the Chroma Color Corporation in the Fall of 2019 following the sale of the Spartech LLC organization where she was most recently the CHRO. Prior to the sale, Spartech LLC was an Arsenal Partner owned company as is Chroma Color. Cass worked as a retained consultant for General Electric leading team building workshops, process improvement projects and other GE proprietary training initiatives globally. She joined MA Hanna which merged in 2000 to become PolyOne. When PolyOne sold the Spartech business, she left with the new owners where she established the HR function to set up all separate payroll, benefits providers and systems as well as human resource vendors and policies within 6 months for close to 1,000 employees over 14 locations as the business exited the PolyOne support structure. During her tenure at PolyOne, Cass was the HR Lead for business units including PolyOne Distribution, Global Engineered Materials and Global Color & Additives. She also led the HR Shared Services function with responsibility for Compensation, Benefits, Recruiting, Training & Development as well as other HR functions. She also participated in HR due diligence and integration of many acquisitions including global integrations. Cass has her Ph.D. and Master’s degrees from Case Western Reserve University and her Bachelor and Associate’s degrees from the University of Akron.
Gary Buckland

Gary Buckland

Vice President of Operations

Gary Buckland is the Vice President of Operations. Gary has been in polymers most of his career with prior operations roles at Spartech, Federal Mogul and Whirlpool. Most recently he was General Manager at Trelleborg. Gary has decades of experience in the plastics industry and is proficient in Operational Excellence.  His focus on meeting the needs of the customer and his engaging leadership style are hallmarks of his leadership style. Gary has his MBA from University of Findlay and his BS in Business Management from University of Findlay as well as his Associates Degree in Industrial Engineering.  

Gretchen Dragich


Gretchen Dragich joined the Chroma Leadership team in April of 2023 as the Vice President of Supply Chain Management & Strategic Sourcing. Gretchen has spent over 30 years, focused on the Plastics and Chemical industry.  She has held a variety of roles in Global Sourcing, Procurement, ERP Implementation Management and Supply Chain.    She has worked for well known companies such as GEON, A.Schulman, LyondellBasell, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Gates Corporation, and Akzo Nobel.  Gretchen graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron.  

Chroma Color Peter Gallagher VP Sales & Marketing

Peter Gallagher

VICE PRESIDENT of Sales & Marketing

Peter Gallagher was promoted to Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Chroma Color in April of 2024.  Peter has spent over 25 years, focused on the Plastics and Chemical industry working for Baerlochler & Synthomer with significant time spent in the Color Compounding industry with Avient (PolyOne) and Penn Color.  Peter has domestic and international sales leadership experience and has developed and implemented strategic growth plans that have resulted in growth using innovation and a positive customer experience to leverage success.   Peter joined Chroma in 2023 as the Sales Director.   Peter has his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Rivier College and his Bachelor of Science degree (Chemistry) from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  

James Walsh

VICE PRESIDENT of Technology

James (Jim) graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science degree and has worked in the plastics industry for over 30 years.   Jim started his career with the Teknor Apex Company where he focused on Total Quality Management, color-match turnaround, technical support, customer service, and department profitability.   He gained valuable experience in thermoplastic production and laboratory process equipment involving color concentrates.   After leaving Teknor, he went to work for PolyOne (now Avient).  While at Polyone, Jim led lab team members in the development of masterbatch formulations in PET, Polyamide, Polyether Imide, Polycarbonate, Polysulfone, Polyphenylene Sulfide, Polyacetal, EMAC copolymers, Ionomers and other engineered thermoplastics.   Jim also was instrumental in successfully integrating the acquisition of Wilson Color to PolyOne.   Jim led teams to specify and purchase required lab equipment as well as other critical lab support activities.  Jim’s efforts helped improve the technical competence and reputation of the location he was assigned which resulted in being awarded the Global Center of Excellence for laser marking (Fastmark™) and PET (ComPETe®) product lines.   Most recently Jim was with Penn Color.  In addition to his degree from the University of Massachusetts, Jim completed graduate level pre-requisites for Clemson’s MBA Program.   Jim also served as a member of the Army National Guard.  Jim is an accomplished professional in the plastics industry having co-authored “Color: Its Principles, Measurement, and Control”, Plastic Additives and Modifiers Handbook (1990) Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, New York  as well as attending advance courses in “Color Science for Engineers” at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Munsell Color Laboratory.