Happy Fiftieth Anniversary to Us!

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Well, a big day in the life of our company came and went this Tuesday.   I suppose I forgot to recognize it because it is just another casualty of 2020.  November 3, 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of Pinson Valley Heat Treating Company.  We wanted to have a big celebration like the one we had for our 40th Anniversary at Vulcan.  The COVID shutdowns cancelled that.  I am beyond tired of so many wonderful plans being cancelled this year.  I make this commitment.  We will have a 50 Year Celebration for our company as soon as we can.  Everyone here deserves a great celebration!

Fifty years ago, our grandparents took everything they had and put it into this company.  That was all their money, and more importantly their whole heart and soul.  When I see this plant now, with all the buildings and furnaces and other equipment on 17 acres, it is hard to recall when it was just one furnace and an old metal building on a half of an acre surrounded by a vegetable garden.  Many great things begin small and grow, like a mustard seed grows to a great tree.  It happens just a little every year, then over 50 years…there has been quite a lot of growth!

Our Grandad was the founder of the company, T. A. Parker.  He left school and went to work as a teenage kid after leaving school in the ninth grade.  He worked in several jobs through his early years and earned a “working education” in practical engineering.  He was one of the best engineers I have ever known.  When they started our company, he hired a bunch of “kids” and taught us about heat treating and solving problems using “common sense and reasoning”, one of his favorite sayings.  The thing Grandmom and Granddad enjoyed most about their company was people: employees, drivers, customers….   They were passionate about appreciation for their customers and finding ways to get them what they needed. Another of his favorite sayings was, “God is my partner”.  In all he achieved he gave God the credit and the thanks.  And they made sure they tithed at least ten percent of what they made to God’s work.  He told me many times, “You can’t out give The Lord.”

I was blessed to join Pinson Valley after college and worked with him for ten years before he died.  I know God used those years with him to build many of his values into me.  I hope I can be half the leader and man he was.  When I wrote the Fundamentals, I tried to imagine Grandad teaching them to us.  The success and growth of the company in the early years was because of the team he built around him, and the culture he built into that team.  As we grew from less than ten people to over 50, it became more difficult to keep that same culture throughout the whole company. I didn’t want to lose that culture he had built, so the Values and the Fundamentals were written to describe and set expectations for who we are, how we think and how we act at Pinson Valley Heat Treating.  They describe the culture Grandad built here 50 years ago.  I wanted our company to continue to honor the legacy he built.  The Fundamentals form clear expectations for everyone who works here, they and are an invaluable tool that those of you in leadership can use to communicate what we expect here to those you lead.  I see evidence that you have used them well.  Everyone on our team thinks and acts in these ways more and more each day.  The various departments work together in these ways.   It is who we are.  Thank you.

In my judgement, the team we have here today is the best we have ever had in the history of our company.  We are fortunate to have people of good character and competence leading every area of the company.   Fifty years after our company started, it still comes down to the fact that the most important thing, and the thing I enjoy most, is people.  The intentional focus on our company Values through the Fundamentals align us so that we can think and make decisions knowing and understanding the ideals that we hold in common will guide us together to get the results we and our customers need.  There are discussions about the best way to achieve those results, but those various options considered are all within the boundaries of our values.

Through the fifty years of this company’s history there have been good economies and recessions.  World events have unfolded: The end of the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the fall of the USSR and the Iron Curtain, two Gulf Wars, September 11, and now “2020”.  We have seen the manufacturing landscape in Birmingham and our region change drastically, with many companies and whole industries shrinking or disappearing.  Some no longer exist, and others have been moved to other countries.  Our company is still here and successful because through all the changes in the world and here in Alabama our team has continued to find new opportunities and adjust to the new landscape.  We change and evolve and grow our people, so that we can stay relevant and competitive.  We achieve ISO-9000, then AS-9100, operating at higher levels of quality for the companies that demand that.  There is ITAR and DEFARS and many more acronyms.  We use technology to help us be better at everything we do: Micromain, Unipoint, Bluestreak, the cloud, computers, iPads, smartphones, SSI electronic data, spectrometers, Zoom, scanners….  These are all tools to help us to be safer, more accurate, more consistent, more informed, better trained, more productive.  They help us communicate with each other and customers.  But they are just tools.  By themselves they do not do anything for anyone.  But in the hands of a strong accountable team of people with a mission, they are powerful and essential to our success.  Without evolution of our team throughout the years, we simply would no longer be in business.  Period.

As I look back at the forty years I have worked here, we have weathered many storms.  I am grateful for those good times, when things are going smoothly, and profits are high.  But I am also grateful for the rocky times when things are hard, like this year 2020 and the month of October, when the virus hit our team.  In those times we find out who we really are.  And it is those times of trial that God uses to stretch us and test us, for the good purpose of making us better, building endurance and growing us so we are lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4).  God’s Word tells us that when we face trials with faith in God, looking for what God is doing through them, the result will be proven Character and Hope (Romans 5:3-5).  I look back at the hard times with at with appreciation and thankfulness.  I appreciate how our team came together with one purpose and worked with one heart and mind to overcome adversity.  I have been proud of our team many times throughout the years, but I’ve never been more proud of you than what you did in October getting through 26 of our teammates getting the Corona virus in two weeks and being out. Everyone who was left standing pulled together for our customers, doing what it took to get them what they needed.  And everyone who had the virus did whatever they could from where they were to help, too. It was heartwarming to see everyone caring about each other.  It was a truly heroic effort!  Thank you all. I appreciate what I learn through tough times and how God uses them for my growth.  I hope every other person grew in good ways through them, too.  I am thankful that God carried me through those times and teaches me how dependent I am on him to get through every day, even when I think everything is going so well that I have this on my own, because I Never have it on my own.

After fifty years, a lot has changed.  After fifty years, the most important things are still the same.  The greatest, and most important part our company is each Person and our Team.  We appreciate our Customers and strive to deliver Legendary Service.  Our Culture is critical to our continued success and making this a great place to work.  And we are God’s partner in His plan.  We can do nothing without Him.  Thank you for the years you have put into making our company what it is today, whether you have been here for one year or over 30 years.  Happy Fiftieth Anniversary to US!

Don Hendry

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Pinson Valley Heat Treating Co. has been servicing the fabricating, machining, forging, and casting industries as well as other similar customers around the southeast since 1970. The employees at PVHT are dedicated to Quality Work, Quick Service, at a Fair Price. If you have a question or have something we can be of service, please give us a call Monday thru Friday 7:30 am-4:00 pm

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