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Meet the Team

Being a family-run business sets us apart from many of our competitors. We strive to provide that extra touch of personal service and commitment you don’t find with larger enterprises. With that in mind,  we thought you might enjoy getting to know a few of the personalities that help make everything run smoothly at Chemstar:

Cory Bernu – Director of Research and Development

“There is never a dull day in the Research Center with so many opportunities to create and test new starch molecules in a variety of applications.”

Equipped with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a Master’s Degree in Polymers and Coatings Science from North Dakota State University, Cory is our resident Mister Wizard. He joined Chemstar fresh out of college and has been modifying starch polymers ever since. He directs all research activities related to the development of new products and sees them through to production and introduction to the marketplace. He also oversees development work with the research departments of our customers and business partners.

About the only thing that can pull Cory out of the lab is his love of hockey, his family and the outdoors. He coaches his daughter’s hockey team and spends as much time as possible at his cabin in northern Minnesota, where he enjoys chopping firewood, hunting, riding ATVs, reading and winding down in the wood-fired sauna.

Corinne Doberstein – Office Administrator

“I’ve enjoyed watching the growth of Chemstar over the past several years and being a part of it.”

Corinne is the glue that has held Chemstar’s day-to-day office and administrative functions together since 2000. Her responsibilities truly run the gamut from handling much of our human resource efforts, managing account payables, payroll and event planning for company functions. Away from the office she is a hockey mom who enjoys going for walks and spending as much time as possible with her kids.

Bruce Hanshaw – Business Manager

“It has always been fun to offer solutions to customers and, in this case, improvements of value.”

An oil industry veteran, Bruce has been in the water soluble polymer business for 29 years, with the past 16 years spent at Chemstar.  He received his BS from Wichita State University and completed the Executive Program at Rice University Business School.

Bruce develops new business at Chemstar by introducing our technology to the technical management of oilfield service companies and making commercial contacts around the world. Chemstar’s specialized technology has resulted in great success and he’s proud of the fact Chemstar has dominated the market segments we serve.

With oil in his blood, Bruce has been a member of the American Petroleum Institute for 25 years and the Society of Petroleum Engineers for 30 years.

A resident of Texas, we have no idea how he developed a passion for skiing, but he loves it. He also wisely gave up marathon running and horses to pursue his love of golf. He is also a book lover.

Bob Johnson – Sales and Marketing Manager

“I revel in working as part of a team to find and attract new business and build relationships with new clients.”

Bob joined Chemstar in June 2003, after working 20 years with Akzo Nobel selling water soluble polymers, chemical intermediates and specialty lubricants. Before that he was a mud engineer for Imco Services, a division of Halliburton.

As sales and marketing manager –Bob is involved with new business development for our non-oilfield applications such as building materials, environmental and erosion control products, adhesives solutions, mining, and laundry starch. He is also responsible for increasing awareness of Chemstar in these industries and helping to grow the brand and company profile.

Bob earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Western State College in Gunnison, CO. He lives and works in his home state of Colorado, where he enjoys the outdoor opportunities and four seasons it provides. When he’s not in the office you can probably find him on a ski slope, mountain biking or hiking in Denver’s front range. He is also a member of a local winemaker club that specializes in Pinot Garagio – a playful take on the fact they make their wines in a member’s garage. He likes to golf and spends as much time as possible with his wife and two adult sons.

Jay O’Neil – Operations Manager

“I have been with Chemstar for so long because the owners treat their employees like family.”

Jay has been with Chemstar since 1992. With a degree in Accounting from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Chemstar has provided him with the opportunity to learn every aspect of the business. His roles and responsibilities are many, including assisting the controller in accounting functions, being the purchasing agent for all raw materials and assisting the sales team with business development and customer relations. He also provides plant support in production scheduling and a thousand other things that pop-up every day.

Always up for a new challenge, he is also charged with creating new opportunities for Chemstar, whether that’s growing sales or finding new ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

With all that going on Jay still finds time to coach youth baseball and hockey. He also enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing, golfing and snowmobiling, while volunteering on a couple of non-profit boards.

Randy Reutzel – Operation and Manufacturing Director
“I really like the innovative solution orientation for all that we do. We work as a team with key common agendas for what works optimally for our customers.”

Randy is the newest member of the team. He started in January after spending the past 25 years leading and developing operations in the wood products field across the U.S. and Canada. His academic background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry – Wood Chemistry from Iowa State University and a Master’s of Business Administration and a Master’s of Leadership Science from Grand Canyon University. Randy also has several designations in Maintenance Management, PLC Programing, and Leadership Training.

Randy is responsible for continuous, measured improvement of all our manufacturing operations. He works with all key areas for reliability and improvement in safety, quality, environmental, productivity, maintenance, engineering and shipping. He is also focused on developing organization leadership skills in all our teams.


He and his wife are motorcycle enthusiasts and ride around the country. When not on their bikes, they spend as much time as possible with their three college-aged children. Randy is also a book lover and has a passion for fly fishing.

James Werler – President

“What do I like best about working at Chemstar? All of it.”

Jim is proud to carry on the Werler tradition. He joined Chemstar in January 1984 after a two-year stint as a cable TV technician. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and gained deep insight into the oil industry by completing the Drilling Fluids Engineering program at Mudtech in Houston, TX.

At Chemstar he is responsible for making sure sales, manufacturing, finance and R&D are integrated and aligned for the success of our customers. He also plays a key role in product and process development, market expansion, customer relations and employee development.

Like his father, Jim also carries on the Chemstar legacy of having fun away from the office. You can find him on the ski slopes, in a fishing boat, hitting the links or even just cutting the grass.

Paul Werler – CEO

Paul founded Chemstar in 1965 and has been with the company ever since. For nearly 50 years he has been instrumental in making Chemstar into the global brand it is today. His experience in the oil industry was critical to Chemstar becoming the leader in water-based polymer drilling fluids. And it was his knowledge of chemical engineering and vision that lead Chemstar to diversify into many new markets, including adhesives, mining, erosion control and a variety of other industries.

A proud alumnus of the University of Michigan, Paul still loves the maize and blue. He was the recipient of the university’s 2011 ChE Alumni Award and created a scholarship to help 2-3 chemical engineering students with tuition costs each year.

These days Paul takes a more hands-off approach and spends more time traveling. But his presence is felt in everything we do and we still count on his sound advice.

-The Chemstar Team