Jeff Worly is the President and COO of Worly Plumbing Supply. He lives and breathes the business and he’s breathing new life as a next generation business owner. He answered some of my questions on his history and what it takes to move forward in this ever-fast paced global playing field.
Danielle Galian: Tell me a little bit about your history with Worly Plumbing Supply.
Jeff Worly: I have been working within the company for most of my life. I worked many summers in high school as well as my college years. I started full time with our company in 1997 when I worked in our Cincinnati location and then moved back to our headquarters in Columbus in 2000. I worked primarily on the sales side of our business until 2006 when I was made vice president of the company, where I oversaw the sales department and handled the business development for the company. In 2014, I became president and COO of Worly Plumbing Supply where I oversee the day-to-day operations for our company.
DG: With over 60 years of history, what is the #1 take away for you as the next generation when looking into the future of the industry?
JW: It is very important to know your customers. Understanding their needs is crucial and also be willing to adapt as their way of doing business changes i.e. more technology such as the web and apps.
DG: What qualities do you bring as the next generation of the business that you think/know make a profound impact?
JW: I always try to think outside of the box and challenge our people to do the same. You can’t always do things the way they have been done over the years, but rather to be more proactive than reactive. If you can show people a different perspective of business, then they are more likely to follow your vision.
I treat all of our employees like family as they all know I have an “open door policy” where they can discuss whatever is on their minds. By doing so, this creates camaraderie that sometimes lacks in all of business today.
DG: What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
JW: I enjoy spending time with my wife, Laurie and kids (Alex and Abby). I enjoy attending and watching any sporting event especially my Kansas Jayhawks on the basketball court as well as the Ohio State Buckeyes on the gridiron. I also enjoy traveling to new places and I’m fascinated with the weather- if not in this business would have been a meteorologist.
DG: What are you most proud of at Worly Plumbing Supply?
JW: I am proud that our company conducts our business in an ethical and above board manner. We do things the right way and treat our customers and employees with the respect they deserve. By adopting this philosophy, it makes it easy to sleep at night knowing that you have treated people right in all aspects.
DG: Who is your mentor in the business?
JW: My father, Jay Worly, has certainly been my mentor in so many different ways in business. He has been there to give me guidance and also there to be critical when needed. I respect the company he has built over the years and I know that he respects my new ideas as well.
DG: Is there a motto or phrase which you find yourself constantly referring to?
JW: Treat others like how you want to be treated whether it is our fellow employees or our customers. I also encourage our people to “Think Outside the Box”.
DG: What types of challenges have you experienced in the business that have helped you gain further insight?
JW: Obviously, my last name was a challenge when I first got into the business. I had to prove to many people that I was dedicated to this business. I had to be careful not to overstep my boundaries when it came to working in the business. As time went on, I think I gained the trust and confidence of our people to help lead the company to where we are going. Listening to what our customers want is as equally important to empowering our employees.
DG: Being a part of a family business can have its challenges. How do you keep the two separate but equal?
JW: So many times in a family business, there is always some type of power struggle but within our company my dad and I get along great and his help and ideas are always appreciated as he still comes to work every day to make a difference.
DG: What is your "top-tip" to be successful in the industry?
JW: It is crucial to listen and respect your people and customers while making sure that you take care of the company at the same time. Do things the right way. With this balance, I believe that Worly Plumbing Supply will be successful for many years to come. 2