The Venango Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize Webco Industries as the 2019 Business of the Year. One of Venango County’s largest employers, the company has continued to make significant investments in its local operations.
This past year marked Webco’s 50th anniversary. In 1969, F. William “Bill” Weber started the company, which manufactures carbon steel, stainless steel and other metal tubular products. He served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer until his daughter, Dana, took over as CEO in March of 2011. Mr. Weber died in September of 2018 at 92, at which time Dana became Chairwoman of the Board.
Bill Weber’s philosophy was to foster a culture: “Where people make the difference,” and from the beginning, he was dedicated to building a lasting company that would treat employees well. His legacy continues.
Encouraging & Investing in Employees
Webco, employing 171 at its Oil City plant and 42 in Reno, is committed to providing opportunities for employees to learn and grow. Employees are pulled from at least five surrounding counties.
Director of Operations Ryan Bell explains that over the last four years there has been an increased commitment to communicate company values to all employees, regardless of the position they hold. Staff meetings always begin with a focus on the company’s 16 principles, which are displayed throughout the facilities. All employees are thoroughly trained on the company history and culture through a program called Webco 101. The process encourages employees to ask questions and explore the reasons behind decisions that will impact their work and the work around them. Webco makes every effort to promote from within the company, whenever possible.
Webco has increased its starting wage to no less than $15/hour for entry level positions. Among other valued benefits are the Zero Card program, which offers employees access to many outpatient services. This means that many services are offered at no cost to employees including tests, surgery, and other medical related procedures. Webco continues to explore other wellness programs to be offered in the future. They also offer financial counseling and programs, hoping to ensure that every employee can look forward to a secure future.
Webco takes community stewardship very seriously. The company has extended sponsorships of local playground projects and participates in the “Adopt A Block” program. Recognizing that they are connected to Oil City‘s downtown landscape and the impact that can have on the businesses around them, they seek to always be a good neighbor.
Among the most visible of Webco’s investments has been the purchase of blighted properties located on Oil City’s North Seneca Street. This acquisition is beneficial to the operations of Webco, but they went the extra mile to build an attractive wall to screen the manufacturing operation and are working to minimize dust that is naturally created by the truck traffic.
In addition to helping create a more vibrant downtown, Webco supports local organizations through the United Way of Venango County, including the Oil City High School Food Pantry and Salvation Army.
Commitment to Education & Leadership
Ryan has taken a leadership role in local advocacy, serves on the board of the Venango Chamber, and has been very involved, along with his staff, in working with local educators to reach students about manufacturing careers in Venango County. Webco has taken a lead role in working with the staff of Venango Technology Center (VTC) to offer an advanced manufacturing certification.
They have worked with approximately a dozen other local businesses to establish a curriculum that is a nationally accredited certificate program. The program, which officially launched January 21st, will give high school students the opportunity to become certified as a production and/or logistics technician. The program is intended to be offered to adults and high school students not enrolled in vocational training at some point in the future, but is starting with students currently enrolled in VTC programs. These programs will benefit all manufacturers in the Venango region. Webco will guarantee an interview to anyone completing the program and are hopeful other businesses will as well.
“We are excited to be working with Venango Technology Center to help bring this educational opportunity to our area. There have been many local manufacturers, educators and community members who have all aided in these efforts,” Ryan said. “We believe this curriculum will provide students with a well-rounded skill set that will not only help them find employment in our area, but give them the tools to be immediately impactful in whatever manufacturing path they may choose.”
Among those educational programs that Webco continues to support is Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW), a statewide entrepreneurial program that is consistent with Webco’s core values and principles. Webco’s commitment to leadership extends beyond their training for internal positions, preparing employees to better serve in the community.
Join us in celebrating Webco Industries and the Oil City Main Street Program, our Partner in Business of the Year, at our Annual Dinner on February 19. Register here.
This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s February 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.