Our team - UMC

How does UMC maintain its position as a top 75 Distributor in a modern world, while embracing family values? By having 3 integrated Business Units (Colorants, Deposition Products, and Additives), along with a Cosmetic and Food & Beverage Division that allows us to deliver on what we promise to both our customers and suppliers.


Phil Befumo

Educated as a “Duke” from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, Phil spent ten years with Orient Chemical in charge of their solvent soluble dyes, charge control agents and pigment dispersions.

He managed the domestic production of Nigrosine (Solvent Black 7), as well as those products that were imported by Orient.

Phil is currently a member of the SPE, NPIRI, ASTM, Board member of CPMA and the President of the Photoluminescent Safety Association.

During Phil’s 26-year career with UMC, he has had the chance to manage each of the 4 individual Business Units at UMC (at one time or another).    He is currently the President at UMC.

Chief Operating Officer

Zelos Hill

Zelos completed his undergraduate degree in Accounting in 2007 as a Hoya from Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. Upon graduating, Zelos began a 14-year long career with a Russian owned petroleum trading company where he held roles in Trading, Finance, Risk Management and Middle Office, ultimately as the Head of Middle Office. He completed his MBA in 2014 from New York University Stern School of Business with a specialization in Business Analytics and Change Management. In the summer of 2021, Zelos joined UMC as the Chief Operating Officer.

Zelos resides in Westchester, NY with his wife and two daughters who motivate him everyday!

Deposition Products Business Unit Manager

John Braun

John has an Associates of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has had Lead Quality Auditor Training in both ISO 9001 and ISO 13485. He is a Certified Project Management Professional.

Before joining UMC, John worked in the highly regulated healthcare industry. During his
19-year tenure at Siemens, he held positions in Design, Manufacturing, Quality, and Procurement. In his final position as Global Commodity Manager he was able to use his experience to partner with his 157 managed suppliers to maintain year over year cost reduction on the purchase of manufactured metal products.

John also holds 7 US patents for maxillofacial surgical equipment among other mechanical products.

Holding various leadership positions has enabled John to further organize our Metals Group, and now take over our new Deposition Products Business Unit.

Colorants Business Unit Manager

Charles DiComo

Charles graduated from Caldwell University with a BA in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. He would later earn an MBA in Marketing from the University of Phoenix.

In 1999, Charles began his career as a laboratory technician where he formulated printing inks for the Sun Chemical Corporation. For the next 23 years, he grew within the chemical industry and he has loved every minute of it. He held positions of increasing responsibility in research and development, technical service, and sales.

In 2022, Charles joined UMC as the Manager for the Colorants business unit where he oversees all colorants business activity, staff, and business partner relationships.

UMC Ingredients Sales Manager

Chris Gratch

Chris graduated from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He spent a year in technical sales for a flow meter manufacturer in South Carolina before joining Ashland Chemical.

At Ashland, Chris spent two years as the Plant Supervisor in Cincinnati, OH. He then joined Ashland’s Engineering group in Columbus, OH managing projects at manufacturing and distribution facilities across the US. Chris had numerous roles in management, engineering and organization orthodoxy before becoming the youngest Plant Manager in the company taking over two distribution facilities in Philadelphia, PA.. Chris then joined Ashland’s Fine Ingredients Division as a Supply Manager and was responsible for managing supplier relationships and negotiating distribution agreements for the Food & Beverage and Personal Care businesses.

Chris then moved to Atlanta, GA as the Southeast District Manager for Ashland’s Ingredients Division. In 2004, Ashland sold the Food Ingredients Division to Mitsubishi. Chris became the Eastern Regional Manager for Mitsubishi and managed the Corporate Accounts Team.

In November of 2009, Chris left Mitsubishi and joined a recently purchased company by the ICD group called JRS International. Chris was the General Manager of JRS, which now will be married into the newly formed Ingredients Division of UMC.

Additives Business Unit Manager

Aida Pleho

In 2016, Aida graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Not only did she excel in Organic Chemistry, Biotechnology, Technical Writing, Thermodynamics, and even designing a real chemical plant, she found success in Business Management, Marketing, and Finance. It was this affinity for chemistry, engineering, and business that catalyzed her focus into the world of sales and marketing with a specialization in chemistry.

In June of 2016 at a college fair, she was introduced to UMC and started her career in the Additives business unit. Aida began as a Technical Salesperson where she worked closely with the General Manager. Her ambition and potential was evident through her on-the job coaching and performance, and her innate ability with purchasing, inventory management, and client interactions. In 2018, she was promoted to Additives Assistant Business Unit Manager. Shortly thereafter, in 2022, Aida’s aptitude to lead led to another promotion into her current position of Additives Business Unit Manager. She oversees all sales activity and staff for the Additives business unit that serves industries such as pool and spa, water treatment, paint and coatings, adhesives, construction, and many more.

Outside of her role at UMC, she founded the ICD Young Leadership Club (ICDYL), she is a Board Member of the Eastern Coatings Show (ECS), and she is a member of the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) Emerging Leaders Program.

UMC Ingredients General Manager

Marty Towey

Marty graduated with a marketing degree as a Golden Bear from Western New England University in Springfield, MA.

At his first job out of school, Marty became a manager with the CVS Drug Store retail chain. Eventually while running it, that store became a top 10 store in the company. While at CVS ,he was promoted to Training Store Manager and enjoyed hiring and training future managers for them.

Marty joined EMD/Merck and worked there for over 18 years. During this time, he was employed in various divisions including pharmaceutical, nutritional and eventually the industrial and pearlescent pigments group. His roles accelerated from Marketing Coordinator, Sales Analyst, Product Manager and eventually Key Account Manager for their start-up distribution network. He pioneered special projects such as ISO and SAP.

He moved from the manufacturing side of chemicals and pigments to the world of distribution and joined UMC in 2015.

Key Account Specialist

Philip Avery

From being born in Syracuse, NY, studying in Dayton, OH, working in Tokyo Japan, to settling in the Oakland, CA area, Phil’s entire career has been in Chemistry.

Phil graduated with a BS in Chemistry from the University of Dayton in 1991.

Phil spent 13 years on the bench making thermochromic and photochromic pigments among other products and formulating inks and coatings for customers.

In 2000, Phil moved to distribution sales where he covered Northern California and Northern Nevada serving mainly paints, coatings, inks, rubber, construction, composite, agricultural, and filtration companies.

In 2022, Phil joined UMC where he covers the western states including CA, OR, WA, ID, NV, AZ, NM, and TX for the Additives, Colorants, and Cosmetics business units.

During Phil’s professional career, he has been in the leadership of the Golden Gate Society (GGSCT) since 1996 and served for four years on the BOD of the Western Coatings Symposium. Phil also served as a 25-year member of the American Chemical Association (ACS).  Personally, Phil has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America for 20 years and raised three Eagle Scouts.  Phil has raised a software engineer, an aerospace engineer, and has another software engineer in the making.

Inside Sales Operator

Robert DeLillo

In 2020, Rob completed his undergraduate degree in Business Management from Ramapo College of New Jersey. During his time there, he gained an interest in sales and finance through interning as a Sales Representative at Enterprise Holdings and as an Assistant Financial Advisor at Allied Wealth Partners.

Rob’s professional career began as a Logistics Coordinator for David Yurman Enterprises. By the end of 2021, he joined UMC as a Customer Service Representative where he managed the logistics and order fulfillment for various FTL and LTL shipments of Additive products.

In 2023, Rob’s knack for operations and attention to detail led to his move to the Deposition Products business unit as an Inside Sales Operator. In his current role, he is tasked with assisting the entire Deposition sales team with order management, logistic updates, and general sales maintenance.

Deposition Products Technical Sales

Claudio Goncalves

Claudio graduated with a BS in Industrial Technology and Electronics.

For 6 years, he worked in the Biomedical Industry for Hudson Robotics, a producer of molecular biomedical automation equipment, where his main role was in system services. For another 8 years, Claudio worked in the Semi-Conductor Industry at Rudolph Technologies, a manufacturer of metrology equipment. There, he was involved with worldwide technical support. Claudio organized and performed installs, upgrades, and service on a wide variety of systems all over the world.

In 2019, Claudio joined the Deposition business unit. He leverages his technical expertise with system installs in addition to his sales for high purity metals, components, and systems.

Key Account Specialist

Noel Kavanagh

Noel was born in Ireland and came to America in 1991. He worked in logistics for Kraft Foods, Circuit City and CSX Railroad.

He joined JLM Chemicals, Tampa FL in 2000. He initially wanted in the purchasing department, then moved into sales; which involved Industrial, Food, Pharma and Performance Chemicals.

From 2012 to 2018 he worked for F2 Industries and became well known for his expertise in the area of Water Treatment and Pool Chemicals. In 2018 Noel joined UMC to play a key role in our water chemistries business.

Deposition Products Business– Sales

Tom Kocovic

Currently a member of our Deposition Products sales force, Tom came to us from the New York City Board of Education where he was the assistant to the Stationary Engineer.

During his time there he coordinated daily operations at The Roosevelt Educational Campus.

He graduated from Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering in 2018.

Additives Business – Operations & Sales

Michael Prelevic

In 2003, Michael graduated from University of Iowa with a BS in Economics. During his time there, Michael was involved in a number of organizations such as Students in Free Enterprise, Hall Government, and Intramural Soccer.

Following his graduation, Michael was hired by ICD Group International (ICD) in NYC, the parent company of UMC, where he gained invaluable experience trading Panel Products, Noble Alloys, and Minor Metals.

In 2017, he took on a new role within ICD by organizing UMC’s Petrochemical sales and operations. In this role, Michael was able to capitalize on his trading experience while developing a strong relationship with UMC.

In 2021, Michael joined the UMC team permanently. As a member of the Additives business unit, Michael manages a wide range of internal and external operations as it relates to Construction, Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants and Elastomers, and Water Treatment industries. He serves as a direct link between UMC’s suppliers and customers, internal logistics team, and the entire US sales team with the primary goal of ensuring world class experience for all.

Key Account Specialist

Paola Rocco

Paola graduated with a marketing degree from State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz in New Paltz, NY.

She began her career by working in hospitality for the Dream Hotel Group. It was in this position that Paola discovered her love for interacting with people and sparked her desire to have a career in sales.

Paola’s strong background in creativity and interacting with people led her to her first sales position. For four years, she worked for Ultrafabrics as part of their professional sales team where she demonstrated her keen sense of people skills, developed tradeshow expertise, and honed her ability to grasp technical information quickly.

In 2021, Paola joined UMC as a Sales Professional in the Colorants business unit. Her aptitude and professional ability led her to expand her coverage to the Additives and Cosmetics business units for the domestic US East Coast. During her tenure at UMC, she has further developed her industry knowledge by serving a wide range of products, industries, and customers. Paola also proudly serves as part of the executive board of Metropolitan New York Coatings Association.

Key Account Specialist

Steve Sanchez

Steve grew up in a small town in the “Coal Region” of eastern PA, and he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at Lebanon Valley College in 2008.

For nearly ten years, Steve worked in different fields including information technology and teaching before moving to manufacturing. In 2013, Steve became the Chemist and Lab Manager for Sargent Art in Hazleton, PA where he over saw all research and development, product regulatory compliance, and quality control. In 2017, Steve accepted a position in the “Jersey Shore” as the Chemist and R&D Manager for Ranger Ink in Tinton Falls, NJ. At Ranger Steve developed new product lines for the art/craft materials industry, oversaw production quality control, and became the safety training lead. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Metro New York Coatings Association. In 2022, Steve moved to chemical sales by joining UMC as a Key Account Specialist. Steve appreciates being able to leverage his experience as a chemist as he engages in customer discussions on the practical applications of the many materials UMC offers to diverse industries.

Above all, Steve most enjoys spending his time with his wife and daughter in a small, quiet town outside of Indianapolis, IN.  Together, they are active in their Catholic faith and love going on road trips in their little Miata.  Steve is an avid Indianapolis Colts fan, and when he has the time, he really enjoys working on his cars.

Key Account Specialist

Ed Tysl

A real ZIP from the University of Akron, Ed was a Business Major with concentrations in Marketing.

Ed has been a true warrior in the Chemical Sales business, with stops at JH Hinz, a Cleveland based distributor, and Laporte Pigments (later to become Rockwood, now Huntsman). Then on to Itochu Chemicals, a Japanese corporation based in Tokyo, and involved with the importing and exporting of products produced by such well known Japanese companies as Toyo Aluminum, Mitsubishi Gas and Nippon Shokubai.

His last stop before coming to UMC was with Matteson Ridolfi for 10 years. There he principled such lines as those produced by Cabot Corp., Hexion, and Eckart Effect pigments.

Regulatory Manager

Preston Hykes

An NJIT Highlander, Preston sports a BS in Chemical Engineering and a Six Sigma Black Belt Certification.

He has 30+ years’ experience in industrial production supervision and plant engineering; both specialty chemicals and solids processing.

His background includes safety and environmental compliance program management, employee training, and primary liaison with regulatory authorities.

Customer Service Manager

Joanne Slevin

Joanne was one of the lucky ones who knew what type of career path she wanted to take when she was in high school.  She graduated from high school and two weeks later started her working career at United Mineral & Chemical.

Joanne began as the Pigments Division secretary and shortly thereafter, was promoted to Customer Service for that same division.  She had great mentors that helped her learn logistics and customer/supplier relations.   After 30 years as the Pigments Division Customer Service Rep., in May of 2018, Joanne was promoted to the newly created position of Customer Service Manager.

President Emeritus

Mike Sansonetti

Mike completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry in 1976 from Fordham University.  With a minor in Education, it was always his thought to teach the Sciences and coach.  In 1976, Mike decided to join ASARCO Inc (American Smelting and Refining Company) as a salesman in their by-product’s division.

After three years, he left to be an Assistant Sales Manager in the Chemicals and Pigments Division of a small importing company in lower Manhattan.  40 years have gone by since joining UMC, and several job positions along the way brought him to the Presidency in 2015.

In July of 2022, after 7 years as President, Mike has taken on the role of President Emeritus at UMC.  He will continue to be involved in company culture and mentoring the new group of UMC personnel that will take UMC into the future.

Golf, youth sports & pin collecting are his hobbies.  And, although drawn to his family in Tampa, Fl, Mike has indicated he has no plans for retirement….yet!

Manager Special Projects

Dave Kotowski

A Falcon from Bowling Green University (and a catcher on their Division I Baseball team), Dave graduated in 1980 with a BS degree in Business Administration, specializing in Sales and Sales Management.

His business career at Ashland Chemical.  From a Technical Sales Rep in the early 80’s in their Akron, Ohio location, to General Manager of the Lansing, MI location in the mid-80’s, then Back to Cleveland in the late 80’s where he was responsible for a $30 million operation as the GM.  He ventured into Specialty distribution in the early 90’s as a Vice President and Partner with Palmer Suppliers.  However, he is most well known as a full Partner and GM of Specialty Chemical Sales for 20 years.


UMC Corporate Headquarters located at 160 Chubb Ave. Suite 206, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071
+1 (201) 507-3300




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