GPSA FLASHBACK! Emerson and Vinson Process Controls share industry ties and 79 years as members

Emerson founder John Wesley Emerson.

By Gary Dollahon

Since 1928, GPSA members have been supply chain partners to GPA Midstream in advancing the energy industry. This year, we're celebrating six companies that have been GPSA members for more than 75 years. In part two of our three-part series, we’re highlighting Emerson and Vinson Process Controls. Both companies have identical 79-year memberships and more in common than their GPSA anniversaries.

Vinson has been a distributor of Fisher control valves in the industry since 1939; Emerson owns Fisher-branded products. Additionally, Vinson is an Emerson-certified strategic partner in the Southwest, responsible for delivering Emerson’s automation solutions to customers in the region.

Emerson and Vinson each have an inspiring history of business evolution and industry development, so today we’re pleased to shine the GPSA spotlight on the two companies.


St. Louis, Missouri

GPSA member since January 1, 1945

In 1890, about 10 years after Thomas Edison introduced the first practical electric light bulb, former Union officer, judge and lawyer John Wesley Emerson provided the financial backing for a business opportunity to develop a reliable electric motor. It was the start of Emerson Electric Manufacturing Company in St. Louis, Mo.

Their electric motors led to widespread adoption of electric fans, and ceiling fans. By 1903, Emerson’s design breakthrough to one-half horsepower motors were used to power washing machines, sewing machines and more. As the demands for electricity grew, so did Emerson. By the end of World War I, company sales approached $3 million — about $67 million in 2024 dollars.

Emerson’s metal working capabilities were called on during World War II to produce brass shell casings and airplane gun turrets. Post-war transitions led the company’s return to more traditional commercial production, and new challenges. Throughout the 50s and 60s, the company shifted focus to research and development and creating foreign markets. By 2000, after more technology advancements and a series of acquisitions, including Rosemount process control instruments and Fisher Controls, Emerson was on a fast track to global success as a technology leader with a diverse portfolio of products and services.

Additional acquisitions and innovative support strategies have continued since, and Emerson’s operations technology software today is helping customers in the global power industry and other end markets digitize operations to improve energy efficiency, reliability and incorporate renewable energy sources.

As a global technology and software leader, Emerson provides innovative solutions for the world’s essential industries, including helping hybrid, process and discrete manufacturers optimize operations, protect personnel, reduce emissions and achieve sustainability goals.

"The midstream industry has been an essential part of Fisher’s, now Emerson’s, business for well over a century," said Sue Ocel, Director of Sales, Emerson Actuation Technologies. “Our differentiated brands such as Fisher, Shafer and Bettis have been providing reliable customer solutions for decades and our portfolio has grown significantly to provide the most comprehensive process control products and services anywhere in the world. I am proud to represent Emerson as a GPSA member and to carry on the tradition of advancing the midstream industry through innovative solutions today, tomorrow and beyond.”

Early days of Vinson Process Controls, then known as Vinson Supply Company. Photo courtesy of University of North Texas.

Vinson Process Controls

Dallas, Texas

GPSA member since January 1, 1945

Handshakes must have been a strength of Bailie Vinson, because it seems that personal touch had a lot to do with his fast start in the oil and gas supplier business, and his successful career. In 1939, it was a handshake deal between Vinson and Bill Fisher that gave upstart Vinson Supply Company in Tulsa, Okla. the opportunity to distribute Fisher control valves and regulators to an emerging process industry. A focus on service and having what was needed in the field, drew customer support and fostered the company’s growth in product lines and business.

Early-day Vinson signage and flyers advertised Fisher control equipment, Nordstrom plug valves, Crane valves and fittings, Ladish welding fittings and flanges, Chase brass condenser tubes, National seamless pipe, and more.  

In the 1950s, Vinson was shaking lots of hands and networking while serving as a national committeeman for Oklahoma. A newspaper archives photo shows him meeting with President Dwight Eisenhower in Denver, and its caption noted the two later went for a round of golf at the Cherry Hills Country Club. In 1960,

Vinson was involved in orchestrating a Tulsa visit by future president Ronald Reagan, serving on a platform committee that included energy executives from DX-Sunray Oil, Keener Oil Company, AnSon Oil Company, and baseball legends Mickey Mantle, Allie Reynolds and Warren Spahn, as well as rodeo champion Jim Shoulders.

Vinson Process Controls today serves a broad industry base, including oil and gas production, midstream, storage and terminal, refinery, chemical, power generation, and pulp and paper. The company sells and services industrial equipment and software including process control systems, remote automation systems, valves, instruments and actuation.

Vinson has remained committed to their foundation built around a firm handshake and world-class customer service.

“Midstream business has been a significant part of Vinson’s history and a reason for success dating back to our beginning,” said Sam Line, Systems Account Manager, Vinson Process Controls. “Our 79 years of GPSA involvement have led to many business opportunities and great customer relationships with midstream companies, but also with numerous OEMs and EPCs who serve this industry. GPSA and GPA Midstream are excellent resources to our company on many fronts, including employee education about this critical industry we serve.”

“Emerson and Vinson Process Controls show how GPSA members achieve success through collaborative efforts while staying true to their own objectives,” said Joel Moxley, GPA Midstream President and CEO. “GPSA is an organization where companies work together to identify and resolve issues and grow as a result. With each new success, comes another potential best practices solution to the benefit of midstream. To me, 79 years of membership says a lot about companies making the most of their GPSA involvement. Congratulations — and thank you — Emerson and Vinson.”