The Macomb Group has gone from less than $1 million in annual revenue and one small shop to revenue of $150 million with 17 branches — in only 20 years. Owners Bill McGivern and Keith Schatko both joined the company on the shop floor, completing odd jobs like sweeping up and running errands. They credit the company’s employees for its success.
McGivern and Schatko grew up together winning Little League championships. Right out of high school, McGivern got a job at The Macomb Group, then a mom-and-pop pipe supply company. His uncle worked for the company and was able to get him a job. He put himself through college with his gopher type job, learning the nuts and bolts of the business. Once promoted to the office, McGivern helped his childhood buddy Schatko get a job at the company.
McGivern tested the waters of other pipe supply companies and even moved to California to be a stock broker in the late-80s. He realized, though, there’s no place like Detroit. The former owner of The Macomb Group was ready to retire just as McGivern was looking for an opportunity to move back home.
McGivern, Schatko, and another partner signed a deal for the one-shop company, which was pulling in under $1 million in revenue in 1991. The former owner gave them a motivating parting message: “There is no reason you guys can’t double the size of this company.”
The best people in the business
The partners and their team met that challenge, and today the company is generating $150 million in revenue with 17 branches expanding through the Midwest and into the South. After 20 years, The Macomb Group holds its own with mega-conglomerate pipe supply companies 50 times its size.
McGivern and Schatko credit the kids in the shop with the broom for the company’s success — metaphorically speaking, of course. Their employees are the backbone of the company, they report, and the people who work at The Macomb Group are the reason the company is so competitive.
The two owners have made it their priority to hire the smartest, most talented people in the business — and keep them.
“Our success is built on the backs of folks who are tenured here, many for 15 to 20 years. Some have been here the whole time we’ve owned this company,” says McGivern. “They are also experts in their given field, and our customers rely on that. A lot of the skill sets in this industry have become rare with the advent of new technologies and mega-corporations. That’s an opportunity for us because we have the most talented and skilled people on our team.”
Building a place where people want to work
The company’s average tenure for employees is more than 15 years. McGivern says he sees it as his job to create a working environment where talented people want to work and stay throughout their careers.
Hiring smart, talented people is one thing, but keeping the brightest industry experts in the piping supply industry is where the real secret to success lies.
“We have people who don’t just show up to work, but really help build our business and support our customers,” says McGivern. “This has allowed us to really thrive and serve our customers very well.”
From owner to employee, the work ethic of the company holds true to today. McGivern believes in doing the right thing even when it’s the hard thing to do.
“We do the right thing, always, whether we feel like doing the right thing or not. Ultimately, people can trust you when you do the right thing. It removes an awful lot of uncertainty for the customer when they know that’s what you’re going to do,” says McGivern.
“Those values matter to our customers. We come through for our employees, our employees come through for our customers, and our customers come through for us. It’s the circle of life,” McGivern says.