GPSA FLASHBACK! Black & Veatch and Parker Hannifin Hold Eight Decades of Membership Status

By Gary Dollahon

Since 1928, GPSA members have been supply chain partners to GPA Midstream in advancing the energy industry. In this final installment of our three-part series highlighting GPSA’s six longest-tenured members, we honor our two 80-year-olds: Black & Veatch Corp. and Parker IFP (PECO) Parker Hannifin Corp.

When Black & Veatch joined the association on May 27, 1944, the United States was two years into World War II. On the day they joined, the U.S. Army’s 41st Infantry Division landed on the island of Biak as part of General Douglas MacArthur’s Southwest Pacific Area offensive.

War dominated the headlines and weighed on peoples’ minds, so distractions were welcomed. One bright spot was baseball, thanks to President Roosevelt’s “Green Light Letter” in 1942.

Thousands of major and minor league players served during the war, including stars Joe DiMaggio, Bob Feller, Ted Williams, Joe Garagiola, Yogi Berra, Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson. Many participated in games on and off military locations to the delight of thousands of fans.

On July 7, 1944, the day Parker joined GPSA, a news photo pictured DiMaggio (Army) and Reese (Navy) autographing baseballs for their respective commanding officers before an interservice championship game.

Black & Veatch has grown dramatically throughout its more than a century in business.

Black & Veatch Corp.

Overland Park, Kansas

GPSA member since May 27, 1944

Black & Veatch began as a partnership between former University of Kansas graduates E.B. Black and N.T. Veatch. The August 12, 1915, issue of Engineering News reported Black’s previous firm, Worley & Black, had reorganized to Black & Veatch. The new company employed 12 people and established an office in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

As the country struggled through the Great Depression, and utilities endured financial troubles, Black & Veatch tapped into a new area of business: appraisals and rate studies. After weathering that storm, the company moved ahead in full recovery. By 1935, having experienced dramatic growth, the business relocated to Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza. Founder Black died in 1949 with the knowledge of his company’s success. Throughout the 50s and into the 60s, Black & Veatch outgrew its offices, broadened its scope of work, increased its client roster and expanded internationally.

The early 70s found the company operating under a new partnership plan and maintaining its growth. Veatch retired in 1972 and Tom Robinson was named managing partner. By the mid-70s, the company was experiencing dramatic growth — one of the strongest periods of its first 60 years.

When the digital revolution erupted in the early 80s, Black & Veatch was at the forefront. Quickly and strategically, they adapted to the new technology. By the 90s, the world was being connected by the internet and Black & Veatch was right in the middle of the prospering U.S. economy to make the most of it.

In 1999, Black & Veatch transitioned to a 100% employee-owned company. Today, Black & Veatch is a world-leading engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company, building critical human infrastructure in energy, water, telecommunications and government services. The company has a long and well-respected reputation for serving the midstream industry with its expertise.

“Our company has been built around a culture of having the best in people, knowledge, products and services as available resources, and then bringing those elements together to provide innovative solutions to our clients’ needs,” said Black & Veatch Associate Vice President and Project Director Kevin Currence. “We are proud to continue our GPSA membership. So many of our professionals have benefited from involvement with GPSA activities over the years and we are excited about the future of the midstream industry.”

Early days of Parker IPF (PECO) Parker Hannifin Corp., which was founded as The Parker Appliance Company.

Parker IPF (PECO) Parker Hannifin Corp.

Cleveland, Ohio

GPSA member since July 7, 1944

Arthur L. Parker founded the Parker Appliance Company on March 13, 1917, with business partner Carl Klamm. In the early days, the company built pneumatic brake systems for trucks, trains, buses and industrial machinery, as well as leak-free fittings for the pioneers of aviation.

Parker shuttered his business to serve in World War I. His patent for a two-piece flared tube fitting helped restart the company when the war ended. Detroit Edison, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, and the U.S. Navy were among the first to adopt use.

The emerging aviation industry also depended on his fittings and valves. When Charles Lindbergh made his 1927 transatlantic flight, it was Parker’s fuel system aboard the pilot’s “Spirit of St. Louis.” The historic event sparked a relationship with the aerospace industry that continues to this day.

During World War II, the U.S. government was Parker’s only customer, and the business flourished from the military’s reliance. Upon Parker’s sudden death in 1945, his wife, Helen, invested the life insurance proceeds back into the company and inspired the new management’s decision to diversify.

In 1957, Parker acquired the Hannifin Company. The purchase of the cylinders and valves manufacturer allowed Parker to supply all components of a fluid power system to the broader industrial world. In the early 1960s, Parker became a publicly traded company and quickly achieved Fortune 500 status.

From the 90s into the 2000s, the company continued to grow and diversify, and it created an unmatched internal culture around products solutions, support, and customer service.

In 2017, CLARCOR was acquired and joined Parker’s Filtration Group. Along with proprietary media, industrial and process filtration products and technologies, and a broad portfolio of replacement filters, Parker added more than a dozen respected brands, including PECO.

Parker’s Industrial Process Filtration Division is known today as a leader in serving midstream customers with filtration solutions for complex contaminant management issues.

“Our long-standing affiliation with GPSA has greatly enhanced our brand and position in the midstream market,” said Business Development Manager Marty Riddle, Industrial Process Filtration PECO Oil & Gas Products. “The knowledge and relationships that our partnership has forged have been invaluable to our success — past, present, and future,”

“The origins of Black & Veatch and Parker Hannifin symbolize how so many of our GPSA member companies built their companies around an entrepreneurial spirit predicated on adaptability and a never give-up commitment to succeed,” said Joel Moxley, GPSA President and CEO. “The stories speak to how these companies worked to achieve success through customer collaborations based on solving problems. That grit and mentality remains true throughout the GPSA membership today. Congratulations, Black and Veatch and Parker, on your 80 years of association membership! Your companies are examples of what ‘service’ meant, and continues to mean, to all with livelihoods in the midstream industry.”