In 1979, Bob Hunter started his PVF career in sales with O’Neal Steel. In 2021, he retires after many successes in the industry.
“As the years passed, I worked up through the ranks in the industry from sales into management while working on acquisitions, building facilities, developing new products in stainless steel, traveling extensively around the world, testifying on international trade cases and meeting many incredible people,” Hunter shares. “One person among the many that I truly enjoyed discussing business ideas and methods over the years with is Robert Shieh with Ta Chen. We always had interesting, dynamic discussions.”
Hunter is an avid golfer and fisherman and a highly dependable volunteer for the PVF Roundtable Charitable Foundation.
“One of the many books that inspired me, I received when I was about 16 from my aunt — ‘The Greatest Salesman in the World’ by Og Mandino,” Hunter says. “My mother and father taught me to have integrity and work hard, make good decisions, and to stay curious. My wife (Cindi) and my daughter (Kelly) encouraged and supported me and kept me focused.”
Mike Mixon of Ta Chen International said: “I didn’t know what to expect from Bob when I first came to work at Ta Chen 10 years ago, but I quickly learned that he was all about working with people any way he could to help them get their jobs done. He was a very patient boss and loved to lighten the mood any time he could with a joke or prank.
“We have grown to be close friends over the years, and I’ve learned a lot from him about this business. Bob loved the chance to visit and swap experiences. We spent many hours after work sharing stories about PVF Roundtable events, fishing trips, our families, his hometown of Augusta, Ga., and our favorite golf tournament — The Masters. Those will always be great memories for me, and our friendship will continue to be close even after he moves into retirement.”
Kim Kello shares: “We will miss you, Bob, so very much. He has been a wonderful and kind boss to me. Bob would always be there to listen and help! Always help! Learning from him and getting even just a bit of knowledge that he loved to share is a great gift. I wish him all the luck at his next adventure.”
And Eric Almaguer congratulates Hunter, saying, “Congratulations on your retirement, Bob — now the real work begins! Enjoying life and taking on new adventures. Your title has officially changed from boss to a true friend. You taught me a lot over the past several years; some things I will never forget and some things I should definitely forget, LOL. You have worked hard your entire career for this moment; enjoy and never look back!”
Hunter is an integral part of the PVF Roundtable board of directors. His commitment and dedication to the charitable organization are worthy of admiration. He has helped raise more than $1 million in scholarship funding for future pipe, valve and fittings industry leaders.
“As a child, I could never have dreamed of the life I have lived,” Hunter states. “I grew up in the country just outside of Augusta, Ga. I always loved creating and managing businesses. I can’t thank the people enough here at Ta Chen Houston and Ta Chen around the country who have supported me in helping achieve our goals here in Houston. I will never forget them.”
Hunter plans to move back to Augusta to help his mother while making time to fish, read and golf. It seems spending time with his family is of most importance to him, as it should be after such a successful career in the PVF industry.
Krystal Hatfield is the chief marketing officer for OK Pipe & Fittings and a PVF Roundtable board member.