Cfm Distributors Inc. is in the business of solving its customers’ problems, Vice President Phillip Martin says. “In the industry, we are known as the company people go to solve problems and get the job done right,” he says.

Kansas City, Mo.-based cfm is a wholesale distributor of heating, cooling and refrigeration products. Founders Amos Roberts and Bruce Huffman started the company in 1969 after working as sales representatives for a manufacturer. 

Today, cfm operates as a 100 percent ESOP, which has noticeably benefited the company. “It adds a whole new level of customer service and engagement from our employee-owners,” Martin says. “Our customers enjoy the family atmosphere and the care that they are given.

Caltrol Inc. CEO Joe Taormina is quick to emphasize one of the most important characteristics of the company he leads. The organization is employee-owned, a significant benefit that has delivered meaningful results for the industrial process automation representative.

The Las Vegas-based company, which was established in 1934,is an employee-owned stock ownership plan (ESOP), which provides the workforce with an ownership interest in the company. Caltrol has been employee-owned since 1986.

B&D Industrial’s simple yet powerful corporate philosophy is nothing more than a slight twist on the golden rule. “We treat our customers the way we want to be treated,” President and CEO Andy Nations says.

Andy’s father, John Nations, founded the company upon that axiom in 1947 when he started Bearings and Drives – the oldest and original B&D Industrial company. Today, B&D Industrial is the corporate umbrella for three specialized divisions: B&D Technologies, B&D Service and Scale Systems. The company recently celebrated a milestone with sales topping the $100 million mark.

The three divisions have more than 30 locations in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Louisiana. This allows B&D Industrial to provide advantageous in-stock products with inventories and repair services customized to local industries. 

Achieving 75 years in business is no small feat, and Auer Steel & Heating Supply Co. has much to celebrate. Founded in 1940 in a single small building on Milwaukee’s Auer Avenue, the company is today a full-service distributor of high-quality indoor comfort products.

“What sets us apart is service, training, inventory and reliability,” Vice President Joe Curtes says. “The customer is king. We have to not only sell to our customers but also help them sell to their clients.”

Atlanta Light Bulbs has established itself as the premier lighting source in metropolitan Atlanta over the past 34 years and is always innovating to provide more value-added services. The company this year formed ALB Energy Solutions to offer turnkey energy solutions for its customers. “The response has been great,” CEO Doug Root says. “What we are trying to do is offer customers significant savings through energy-efficient solutions.” 

Root’s father, Gary Root, started an electrical and control components business in 1978, selling control panels, gears and fuses with a three-person staff. After a few years in business, one of his customers inquired about lighting products and Gary Root found lighting services to be in high demand. In 1981, he started Atlanta Light Bulbs.

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