Working at Palmer-Donavin | Glassdoor

Palmer-Donavin Overview

Columbus, OH
201 to 500 employees
Company - Private
$100 to $500 million (USD) per year
Founded in 1907 by Fred Palmer and John Donavin, the company got its start making sheet metal and tin ware. Palmer-Donavin is now a leader in the wholesale distribution of residential building supplies and entry doors. Employee-owned and operated since 2007, our mission is to ... Read more

Mission: To create value for all stakeholders through innovation, performance, and integrity.

Palmer-Donavin – Why Work For Us?

Palmer-Donavin was voted one of the Best Places to Work in Central Ohio in 2015!


Palmer-Donavin is a Midwest leader in two-step distribution of building materials, flooring, and kitchen cabinets. We purchase our inventory directly from manufacturers and sell primarily to independent lumber yards and national retailers. 

In March of 2007, the existing shareholders sold the company to the employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, also known as an ESOP. Palmer-Donavin employees now participate in the benefits of ownership and share in the company’s growth. 

In 2012 we purchased Seal-Rite Door, an industry leader in the custom fabrication and finishing of quality residential entry and patio door systems.  This expanded our locations from Columbus, Cincinnati, Delphos, and Masury, OH to include Hebron, OH, Rockford, IL, Lansing, MI, and Burnsville, MN.

What is an ESOP anyway?

Palmer-Donavin became an employee owned company in 2007. Technically, it’s called an ESOP, or Employee Stock Ownership Plan, which is like a retirement plan. Employees are granted company stock into their ESOP accounts on an annual basis. The company continues to add more stock to employees’ accounts throughout their careers, which keeps their accounts growing. This provides a great way to reward long-term employees for contributing to the success of the company. Employees have ownership of 100% of their ESOP account after six years of service. Then if the employee leaves or retires, they receive the full value of the stock in their account.

The details of an ESOP can be quite confusing, but the essence of being an employee owned company is clearly reflected in our company. Every employee is an owner, and therefore every employee has a personal financial stake in the overall success of the company. That fosters a collaborative, family mentality that really charges the energy of this company. The camaraderie is clear at any branch of the company and fuels the decisions made. For example, instead of segmenting off into office space somewhere in the city, corporate makes an effort to always remain onsite at one of the branches even when that requires moving the office across town. Furthermore, when hiring we look for people who will complement our culture and become part of the family here in a long-term way. Being an ESOP stretches far beyond financial elements; it truly shapes the culture and relationships at Palmer-Donavin.


You don'€™t get to be over 100 years old without building and cultivating solid customer relationships. At Palmer-Donavin, we understand that our success depends on the success of our customers and our employees. For our customers, that means delivering quality products and exceptional customer service at fair prices. For our employees, that means sharing the profits of our company.

Our recipe for success is no secret. We have thrived as a company since 1907 by sticking to our principles and being true to ourselves and our customers. We make money the old fashioned way, through hard work, where honesty, integrity and fairness guide our daily operations.

Our employee owners truly drive our culture. We work hard, but we also know how to have fun while doing it. Look below for testimonials from our employees and be sure to check out our other reviews!


“In my years at Palmer-Donavin, I’ve learned that this place is more than a company, it’s a family. The people here care about each other and the company treats everyone like they matter. Employees aren’t just numbers here. I’ve learned that if I work hard and show I’m committed to this company and its success that they’ll give me opportunities to grow and support me all along the way. It is a privilege to work here, and I’m honored and thankful that I get to be a part of this great company.”

- Testimonial from Bina Smith, HR Recruiter

“Since working for this company I have built strong relationships with co-workers and leaders. I feel blessed to work for a company that treats you well, encourages development, and makes you feel like family.”

“Palmer-Donavin is a fantastic company with the right culture for success. I'm very excited that I'm part of the team, and I look forward to working very hard at helping the company and my co-workers succeed in the future.”

“Palmer-Donavin treats its employees well. There is a sense of comradery that you do not see very often. I have been a part of multiple organizations, but I feel that Palmer-Donavin is doing things right. They believe in the company and the people behind it, and it shows.”

“Great company with a substantial amount of growth in the coming years. Company goals and objectives are clearly defined. Leadership treats employees with respect. Being employed with Palmer-Donavin means you'll feel part of a team with company success and growth as the central focus.”

“We are 100% employee owned and always do things that benefit the shareholders. We have multiple employee events throughout the year where employees are rewarded and recognized.”

“Palmer-Donavin is a great place to work. Any company trying to grow will have hardships and changes which some employees do not like and do not want to stand by, but they are necessary changes for growth. Being an ESOP and receiving appreciation pay are the greatest benefits of this company. A great decision made by the same company leadership still in place and planning for PD's future.”

 “A great company that prides itself in service. Palmer-Donavin is the first place I've worked that recognizes work-life balance. People here are genuinely kind and down-to-earth as they are extremely diligent and hard-working.”

Palmer-Donavin encourages employees to volunteer in their communities through work promoted activities as well as independently on their own time by providing grants to eligible organizations based on the number of hours volunteered in a calendar year. We regularly get involved with United Way, Mid-Ohio Food Bank, Palmer-Donavin House, Meals on Wheels, Salvation Army, and Rebuilding Together just to name a few.

Here are a few ways our employees have recently gotten involved:



Palmer-Donavin employees in Columbus participate in a weekly Meals-on-Wheels route to provide hot, nutritious meals to people in need.

Employees from Palmer-Donavin Columbus and Seal-Rite Hebron and their families helped with maintenance and repairs at a nearby home through Rebuilding Together Central Ohio.


Palmer-Donavin House: With the help of vendors and business partners, Palmer-Donavin funded a respite care facility in Grove City in 2007.

Each location collected various items throughout the year to donate to local homeless shelters.


Vern Parker from Seal-Rite Hebron hosted a teacher from Newark City Schools for a Summer Teacher Externship Program to share the skills and values our future workforce needs to be successful in positions within our company.


We are not looking for employees. We are looking for business partners in many different fields to contribute to the success of Palmer-Donavin. What everyone in the Palmer-Donavin family has in common is a commitment to ownership. As an ESOP, we offer the unique experience to work like an owner with a vested interest in the success of our company. Here are some of our rewarding career opportunities available.

  • Sales
    • Working with clients to ensure satisfaction and building life-long relationships.
  • Purchasing
    • Finding quality products at the right prices to fill our clients’ orders.
  • Delivery
    • Getting stock from A to B on time. A vital part of the success of our company.
  • Warehousing
    • Honest work with a multitude of products in a good environment.
  • Fabrication
    • Creating quality products for our quality clients.
  • Administrative Support
    • Picking up the details and helping in a variety of ways to oil the gears of a successful company.
  • Accounting
    • Numbers, problems, and solutions keep the team healthy and happy.
  • Credit and Collections
    • Tough but fair, this position collects payments and keeps the business running.
  • Information Technology
    • Solving problems and providing support sustains the entire company’s success.
  • Human Resources
    • Interacting with people across the company to ensure satisfaction and hard work.

We look forward to our next 100 years and do hope you will give consideration to building your career with us.

Palmer-Donavin Reviews

Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Palmer-Donavin President and CEO Ron Calhoun
Ron Calhoun
16 Ratings
  • "Great Place to Work with an Awesome Team & Culture!"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Grove City, OH
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Grove City, OH
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Palmer-Donavin full-time (More than 8 years)


    Employee-owned, excellent benefits, great work-life balance, cultural diversity, yearly performance reviews, quarterly bonuses, and lots of potential for growth and advancement in the company.


    I have found no downsides to working for Palmer-Donavin!

See All 17 Reviews

Palmer-Donavin Photos

Palmer-Donavin photo of: A beautiful spring day at our Columbus office!
Palmer-Donavin photo of: Seal-Rite Hebron employees on hat day.
Palmer-Donavin photo of: Happy Halloween from our Cincinnati employees!
Palmer-Donavin photo of: Seal-Rite Hebron employees acting silly during crazy hair day.
Palmer-Donavin photo of: Palmer-Donavin Columbus employees loved crazy hair day.
Palmer-Donavin photo of: Eric, our Chief Information Officer, took charge as grill master during Spirit Week!
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Palmer-Donavin Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview





    Dock Worker Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience


    I applied online. The process took 1+ week. I interviewed at Palmer-Donavin in November 2017.


    After phone interview, they set you up for a face to face but only if you take the initiative and call them back. At the face to face there are three interviewers, but only one asks the most questions. None of them are minorities, so if your black don't expect them to understand any of your day to day struggles. They ask lots of questions about what you like and dislike about your former employers and what they may or may not like/dislike about you. Which I think is ridiculous, because how would you know how someone else feels about you? They really pick you apart based on the negative things that you said about yourself even if you have a hard time thinking of bad things about yourself. I always know if someone doesn't like me by their handshake and if they grab you by the knuckles instead of the palm of your hand and allow you to get a good grip is a good indication that they are discriminating against you. Overall I still like the concept of the company, but I'd have to meet a successful black person in their company to believe that I didn't get hired for any reason other than my race.

    Interview Questions

    • What would your former employer say your weaknesses are?   Answer Question
See All 3 Interviews

Palmer-Donavin Awards & Accolades

  • Best Places to Work in Central Ohio, Columbus Business First, 2015

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