JOHNSTON NAMED WINSUPPLY CEO Dayton, Ohio-based Winsupply, the 2015 Supply House Times Supply House of the Year (see Page 32), recently announced Jack Johnston has been named chief executive officer of the company. Johnston continues as company president. Rick Schwartz, who previously was CEO and chairman, is stepping down from the executive role after 17 years. Schwartz remains chairman of the Winsupply Board of Directors. “I’ve been with Winsupply for 43 years and served as its CEO the past 17 years,” Schwartz said. “After much planning and consultation with my wife, Jane, and the succession planning committee of our board of directors, I decided it’s time to pass the leadership baton to Jack who I know to be an exceptional leader and will continue to take Winsupply forward on its growth trajectory. He strongly believes in and will continue to execute our company’s entrepreneurial philosophy we call ‘The Spirit of Opportunity.’” Schwartz took over the CEO role upon the retirement of Dick Schiewetz, a founding investor and leader of the company. Since Schwartz became CEO, Winsupply became one of the leading wholesale distributors in the U. S. Sales tripled during Schwartz’s tenure as CEO to $2.5 billion in 2014, and earnings quintupled. Johnston becomes just the third chief executive officer in the history of Winsupply, which was founded in 1956 under the name Primus. “This is the culmination of a lot of work by our succession planning committee,” Johnston said. “I’m both excited and humbled to step into this important role. Rick and his predecessor, Dick, set great examples as leaders and I’m committed to carrying forward our company philosophy, principles for success and strategic objectives.” In other Winsupply news, the company is expanding its Dayton, Ohio regional distribution center by adding more than 15,000 sq. ft. Of usable space. Winsupply Vice President, Supply Chain Rick McCann notes the Dayton facility will be adding a mezzanine level that will double in size the “piece pick” area of the distribution center. McCann adds the total value of the project is an estimated $800,000 and includes both internal and external facelifts to the building. BECKER, TICE TO RECEIVE ASA HONORS The American Supply Association’s Executive Committee recently announced the 2015 Fred V. Keenan Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Joel Becker of Connecticut-based TORRCO at the ASA Annual Member Luncheon at Network2015 on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. The Fred V. Keenan Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to individuals with a long history of service and dedication to the industry. To be considered, individuals must have exhibited strong influence on the current status of the industry, project a positive industry image, be responsible for positively affecting the industry in general and have provided a history of dedicated service to the American Supply Association. Becker’s lifetime of dedication to building a stronger industry spans decades of service. ASA noted what impressed the organization’s nominating committee most was Becker being one of the driving forces behind the turnaround of ASA and the instillation of an annual strategic planning retreat. These annual planning events are credited for creating the vision and focus for ASA’s resurgence as the industry leader. “When many in the industry were outwardly expressing doubt that ASA would not survive as a national association, it was Joel’s drive and vision nearly 10 years ago that put in motion the changes that needed to be made to culminate in ASA once again leading the industry,” ASA Executive Vice President Mike Adelizzi said. ASA’s Plumbing Division Executive Council also recently announced the 2015 Plumbing Division Award of Excellence will be presented to Randy Tice of Lebanon, Pa.-based APR Supply Co,, at the Plumbing Industry Educational Forum & Breakfast at Network2015 on Thursday, Oct. 29. To be considered for the award, an individual must have a history of accomplishment and recognition in the PHCP industry as well as an overall influence on the current status of the channel. In 2012, ASA’s Plumbing Division Executive Council established the Award of Excellence to recognize outstanding achievements specifically related to the plumbing sector of the industry. Those who have been honored with the award have projected a positive industry image and have been responsible for positively affecting the industry as a whole. Tice first joined the ASA Board of Directors in 1981 representing the Mid-Atlantic Wholesalers and rose through the ranks as a volunteer of the national association until he was elected to serve as its president in 1991. He is one of only a select few to have served as both president of ASA and HARDI. When Tice became ASA president, his firm, APR Supply Co., was the smallest independent distributor to have been selected to serve the national association. ASA noted while APR was not one of the largest firms, Tice’s vision has always been large. EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP FOR LIBERTY PUMPS Family-owned for the past 50 years, Liberty Pumps recently implemented an Employee Stock Ownership Plan for its employees. “The ESOP will not change company operations,” said Charlie Cook, Liberty Pumps president and CEO. “Our current leadership team is outstanding and will remain in place. The ESOP will enhance an already positive culture where our members (employees) feel empowered, appreciated and respected. We believe the ESOP will take this to the next level. When a customer calls in, they will now be speaking to an owner.” Elkart, Ind.-based Mid-City Supply Co. Recently opened a new full-service branch in Galesburg, Mich. The new branch is Mid-City’s seventh locations and offers York products and systems. The new location is located at 9946 Miller Dr., in Galesburg and is open from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Brian Clark is the branch manager. A grand-opening celebration and steak fry was held in late August. OBITUARY GENE HURST Clifton Eugene “Gene” Hurst, 79, founder and CEO of Hurst Boiler & Welding Co., died July 22 in Coolidge, Ga. An entrepreneur, skilled engineer and devoted family man, Hurst is remembered by all for his kindness, dedication, vision and inexhaustible will. Not only did he grow Hurst Boiler into a successful boiler company, he helped to transform the boiler industry through innovation. “We lost one of the greatest men to ever live, a man adored by many, a man of true character, a man that meant so much to so many... my hero, best friend and my grandfather,” said Chad Fletcher, Hurst’s grandson and Hurst Boiler’s director of after market parts and sales. Gene Hurst started his family business in 1967 with his wife, Edna, in a shop behind their home in Thomasville, Ga. He moved the business to its present location in Coolidge in 1970. The company manufactures a full line of solid waste-, wood- gas-, coal- and oil-fired steam and hot water boilers and related equipment in a 314,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility on 17 acres. Forty-eight years later, the business Gene Hurst began remains in the family, currently under the direction of the Hurst children: Tommy, Hayward, Teri and Jeff. It is the largest employer in the area, maintaining more than 350 employees at full production capacity. FERGUSON ADDS 13 NEW COMPANIES DURING FISCAL 2015 Ferguson continued its expansion, averaging one new deal a month and purchasing 13 new companies in News, Va.-based company July 31. The acquisitions spanned coast-to-coast and multiple business types, including waterworks, HVAC and plumbing distributors, in addition to e-commerce companies, and appliance and lighting showrooms. “We have no set or goals or targets around acquisitions,” Ferguson CEO Frank Roach told Supply House Times. “We had a very good year and acquired very good companies across the board among all our businesses. We look at organic as well as acquisitive growth opportunities.” The 13 acquisitions in 2015 come on the heels of the company making four acquisitions in fiscal 2014 and three in fiscal 2013. “We’re always looking at increasing market share and improving our customers’ experience with Ferguson — that’s our No. 1 priority,” Roach said. Ferguson noted the company’s acquisition activity aligns with KPMG’s M&A Outlook, which reported mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. have reached pre-crisis levels and found acquisition momentum is expected to build throughout 2015. In other Ferguson news, the company completed its first acquisition of fiscal 2016 when it acquired Central Pipe & Supply’s Mobile, Ala., business in an asset transaction in late August. Ferguson Fire & Protection will operate its business from the former Central Pipe & Supply location in Mobile and the existing management team and all associates will remain in place. HOME DEPOT ACQUIRES INTERLINE BRANDS The Home Depot recently announced its entry into a definitive agreement to acquire Jacksonville, Fla.-based Interline Brands, the parent company of plumbing brands such as Easy-Tite faucet parts, Easy Wrap pipe-joining tape, Blue Spot flush-valve bulbs and Proplus garbage disposers. Interline also is the parent company of distributor Barnett. Under terms of the agreement, The Home Depot will acquire Interline for $1.625 billion in cash, subject to customary adjustments. The acquisition, which has been approved by the shareholders of Interline, is expected to be completed during The Home Depot’s fiscal third quarter, which ends Nov. 1. The deal is subject to applicable regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions. AFFILIATED DISTRIBUTORS ANNOUNCES Q2 RESULTS Affiliated Distributors reported sales for all its members across all seven group divisions grew by 4% in the second quarter of 2015 to $16.7 billion. “AD members and our supplier partners continue to work together to take share and win in the market place,” AD Chairman and CEO Bill Weisberg said. “Our industry executives and member-led divisional boards are working hard to provide growth opportunities for our members through innovative new initiatives such as e-commerce, HR professional services, as well as conversions, marketing and incentive programs. We also are actively recruiting growthoriented distributors and best-in-class suppliers to join the organization.” Weisberg noted during the quarter the buying group announced a merger with Canaplus, which marks an expansion into the Canadian plumbing and heating industries. “New markets, new geographies and core member growth are three pillars to our strategic growth plans,” he added. By division, AD member secondquarter sales grew as follows: U.S. Electrical up 5%; Canadian Electrical up 11%; Industrial up 1%; Plumbing up 5%; PVF up 3%; HVAC up 7%; and Building Materials up 11% year over year. VP SUPPLY HELPS ROCHESTER FAMILY Rochester, N.Y.-based VP Supply Corp. is partnering with Flower City Habitat for Humanity to rehab a vacant home on Cuba Place in Rochester and make it available for purchase to a low-income family through the Flower City Habitat for Humanity Homebuyer Program. Construction started in mid-July and the home is scheduled to be finished and ready for purchase this autumn. VP Supply noted the collaboration is one way the distributor is celebrating its 50th year in business supplying plumbing, HVAC, kitchen, bath and renewable-energy products to contractors and homeowners. In addition to its Rochester headquarters, VP Supply has branches and retail showrooms across New York state and Erie, Pa. VP Supply serves as sponsor for the Cuba Place rehab project, providing volunteer labor and complimentary products for the home’s kitchen and bathrooms. More than 15 VP Supply associates will volunteer more than 100 man hours to aid in the renovation. “Like Flower City Habitat for Humanity, VP Supply is a community-oriented organization that helps families enjoy homeownership,” VP Secretary/Treasurer Louis Curwin said. “Giving back is important to us. And being a family built company, it seemed fitting to celebrate our 50th anniversary by taking the opportunity to help another hardworking family in our own backyard.” AMERICAN STANDARD TO OPEN TENNESSEE DISTRIBUTION FACILITY American Standard Brands recently announced it will open a new manufacturing and distribution facility in La Vergne, Tenn. The company said it will invest $22 million in the facility and create about 600 jobs in Davidson Co. This is the first new U.S.-based manufacturing facility for American Standard Brands in more than 25 years. The company noted the new facility will allow it to expand its operational footprint and increase efficiency through enhanced supply-chain connectivity. “The quality workforce and favorable business environment in Davidson County made a compelling business case for us to select Middle Tennessee for our new operation,” American Standard Brands CEO-CFO Steve Delarge said. GENERAL PIPE CLEANERS CELEBRATES FOUR GENERATIONS A fourth generation of family members has joined the General Pipe Cleaners team. Nine high-school and collegeage kids— all great-grandchildren of General founder Abe Silverman — have been working this summer at the company. “And believe it or not, that’s not all the kids in Abe’s fourth generation,” General Vice President of Marketing Marty Silverman said. More than 40% of General’s workforce remains multigenerational with children often working side-by-side with parents and even grandparents. The company noted the multigenerational theme translates to its customers where General products are used by grandfathers, father and sons. “Some individual machines have even served their owners for two or three decades,” said Silverman, who added the company’s stable of manufacturers reps also reflects multiple generations representing General Tools. HARDI DISTRIBUTORS REPORT JUNE INCREASE HARDI’s monthly TRENDS report shows average sales for member distributors increased by 12% in June. The annualized growth through June 2015 was 5.3%. This rate, HARDI noted, has been declining since last fall but the latest report shows slight improvement from May totals. “The weather was challenging for HVACR sales for much of the country in May,” HARDI Market Research and Benchmarking Analyst Brian Loftus said. “June caught some of that delayed activity and had one extra billing day than June 2014.” Loftus noted the West region had 37% more cooling-degree days in June than a year ago, which helped boost sales 22.8% vs. a double-digit gain the prior year. The DSO (days sales outstanding), a measure of how quickly customers pay bills, is now at 49. “The U.S. economy is in its fourth month of deceleration,” HARDI Senior Economist Connor Lokar said. “We expect growth to continue to slow through the second half of the year, but have seen improvement for two consecutive months in the ITR Leading Indicator and three straight months of rise by the U.S. Leading Indicator. These inputs are signaling reacceleration we expect for the U.S. economy in early 2016.” SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES WINS APEX HONOR FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR Supply House Times recently was honored in the 27th annual Awards for Publication Excellence competition. The annual awards program recognizes excellence in publications work by professional communicators. The APEX awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. Supply House Times won in the Covers category for its December 2014 front cover, which shows PHCP and American Supply Association-member distributors Ted Green (Pace Supply), Scott Weaver (APR Supply), Sam Williams Jr.(Gateway Supply), Karla Neupert Hockley (Consolidated Supply), Scott Robertson (Robertson Heating Supply) and Brian Tuohey (Collins Pipe & Supply) in the casino area of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. The group of distributors participated in the joint Supply House Times-ASA roundtable interview session that occurs during each Network convention. The photo was taken by Supply House Times Editor Mike Miazga with the approval of Bellagio casino management. This is the third year in a row Supply House Times has own an APEX award. In 2014, it was honored for its cover showing a group of five distributor executives on the Capitol Hill lawn during Network 2013 in Washington, D.C. In 2013, Supply House Times won for its July 2012 cover that showed a MRC Global valve distribution center.
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