The partners: Father and son
Met: At son's birth, in 1953
Fused: 1989
Bonding event: Father-and-son chats

As a sideline to his day job managing a mill at Scott Paper Co. in Westbrook, Maine, Howard Reiche acquired antiques from estate sales and resold them. Reiche's wife's family had owned the antiques business for three generations. From an early age Reiche's son, Ford, watched his father carefully, knowing that he too would inherit the business someday. But as it turned out, Ford joined his father in starting a business that had nothing to do with antiques and everything to do with his dad's job at the mill.

Howard, who oversaw the mill's finances, was aware of how much the business saved in shipping cargo by rail rather than by truck or plane. He wondered, Why don't all nonperishable products reach Maine by train?

His son, meanwhile, had become a lawyer specializing in corporate work, which he considered tedious. He and his father conferred with Paul Turina, an environmental consultant whom Ford had retained as an expert in his law practice. The three men realized that Maine lacked a rail facility that could handle the bulk transfer of chemicals. Spotting an opportunity, they founded Safe Handling (#418 on the 2000Inc. 500) 11 years ago to provide such a facility. The Reiches and Turina became partners in what is now a $6 million company.

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