For Milwaukee Valve's sales representative firm HEBCO Inc. of Independence, Missouri, 2020 was already planned to be the year that everything changed. HEBCO began the transition of leadership from one generation to the next. But the foundations of success remained strong, including acceptance by the engineering community, preference from the contractor and end-user markets, and continued support from distribution partners.
Because of years of dedication to specification work, and building relationships and trust, as well as seeking and accepting guidance and help, HEBCO was able to generate an increase of more than 40% quarter-turn sales growth, winning Milwaukee Valve's Ron Stockstell Memorial Award in recognition for HEBCO's success.
Milwaukee Valve created the Ron Stockstell Memorial Award to celebrate the agency that has shown the greatest sales growth in quarter-turn products over the past year. In spite of the challenges presented by management transitions, and not to mention the trials presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, HEBCO came through.
The Stockstell Award is named for Milwaukee Valve's first quarter-turn product manager, who was hired in 1986 to supervise the development of the company's bronze and brass ball valves and iron butterfly valves. Prior to his arrival, Milwaukee Valve imported a few brass ball valves and a very limited offering of iron butterfly valves. Under Stockstell's guidance, Milwaukee Valve began to design and manufacture its own valves, and he spearheaded the projects adding the industrial offering of carbon and stainless-steel ball valves.
Before the design process was completed, Stockstell lost a difficult battle with cancer in 1994. In his short tenure with Milwaukee Valve (only eight years), Stockstell radically changed the focus of the company from commodity valves sold on price, to a focus on the specification market, which changed how Milwaukee Valve products went to market and how sales representatives serviced their prospects. Stockstell also served as a mentor to the engineering team, charging them to focus on the needs and requirements of the specifying engineering community and the installing contractors, an effort that continues today.