On this day, not only is International Pipe & Supply celebrating its 40 year anniversary but my father, Al Karchmer, the oldest known steel pipe distributor, is turning 98 years old.
As I celebrate my 33rd year alongside my father, I reminisce on our beginning in a small 10’X12’ rented office. With a small loan, Al to this day will say, “I don’t know how I operated, contracting everything out, it’s just what I had to do at the time.” Growing year by year, my father purchased a two-acre yard with a mobile trailer, one 1958 Hyster forklift, and a part-time employee. We made the most of what we had!
The fondest memory I have is opening the window on the far end of the trailer and shouting to our forklift driver which pipe to load. With very little technology in those days, we set the foundation for International Pipe and Supply! Following in the footsteps of my dad who was my coach and mentor, I was able to learn our products, our purchasing, and developed relationships with other pipe distributors.
Our company is celebrating 40 years of growth and success, and I am celebrating 33 years working alongside my father. I have been fortunate to have learned from a legend in the pipe business. Although I now operate our business, our operations would not be possible without our incredible management and dedicated staff. Each member of our team strives for excellence every day, and more importantly, they look out for one another. It is a team of do’ers, a team that has been instrumental in our success. We are truly a family.
Every day, I marvel as my father talks with customers and vendors and works with staff, to always improve our process and mentor our team. He is a WWII veteran who inspires each and every one of us with his incredible work ethic and his vision of the American dream. His dedication, hard work and entrepreneurial spirit is contagious. Al continues to mentor and coach our associates from different generations.
My deepest gratitude and love for my father for teaching and mentoring me throughout my life both personally and professionally. I believe all of the International Pipe and Bison Pipe associates would agree, that from that one room office to our present-day facilities, Al has positively changed the life of so many individuals. Isn’t impacting others in such a positive way a part of a life well lived and what business is all about?
Cheers to my father and our founder, Al Karchmer on his 98th birthday. I thank you for the leadership, opportunity, vision and entrepreneurial spirit that has driven this company for over forty years.