Joe Bergfeld established Pittsburgh Pipe in 1977 with his business partner, Bill Manser. Bill has since retired, but Joe has remained actively involved with the Pittsburgh Pipe team. Even since handing off his position as president to current president, Kevin Coan, Joe remains actively involved as Pittsburgh Pipe’s CEO and the leader of the senior management team.
We had the opportunity to speak with Joe about where Pittsburgh Pipe started, and where he sees it going in another 40 years.
Why did you start Pittsburgh Pipe?
The steel pipe distributor I was working for in 1976 went out of business. I had a strong desire to stay in the industry which I had grown to love, and was able to find someone who believed in me and provided me with the financial backing that allowed me to establish Pittsburgh Pipe.
What was your first major project?
We were a small company with limited financial resources, so for many years, our business was comprised of lots of small projects rather than major projects. As our business grew, the size of the projects we became involved with grew as well. The first order that made me feel like we could run with the “big dogs” was a 2.2 million dollar order for pipe piling. The customer paid for the pipe in a single payment. I still carry a copy of the check in my briefcase! Thanks to the great team we’ve assembled at Pittsburgh Pipe, we’ve been awarded quite a few projects for more than double that amount.
What was your journey like to get where you are today?
As with so many other people, the road I’ve travelled over the past 40 years has been both smooth and bumpy. There have even been some major potholes! I choose to focus on the good parts of my journey, and there have been many. Without question though, the very best part has been the confidence and trust that so many wonderful people have placed in me, and the opportunities they’ve given me to succeed.
What are you most excited about for 2017?
The economic activity in the markets we serve is showing significant growth for the first time in several years. Our team is very excited to have the opportunity to deploy the many resources we’ve developed to participate in the recovery that’s underway.
Where do you see Pittsburgh Pipe in 40 years?
I said to our employees at our Annual Banquet this year that I truly believe our company’s most exciting period of growth and development is in front of us. We’ve been blessed with success over the past 40 years, but thanks to our great employees and other stakeholders, those past successes are going to be the foundation upon which we are going to build an even greater company.
We couldn’t be more proud of the great products and services that we have supplied our customers for 40 years, and we look forward to providing them with the right pipe right on time for many years to come!