Miami-based industrial supplies-PVF distributor Traeger Brothers & Associates recently opened a new branch in Houston.

The new northwest Houston location features 12,500 square feet and operates with a full staff serving the power-gen and refining industry, as well as chemical process plants domestically and around the world.

 “This new location reflects our commitment to service excellence. We have the capacity and talent available to cope with high expectations and the most ambitious projects, Traeger Executive VP Jeff Tolle explained. “With four fully stocking industrial supply warehouses, Traeger Brothers continues to offer pipe, valves, fittings, gaskets, fasteners and instrumentation in shipping locations positioned for prompt supply.”

The Houston branch joins other Traeger locations in South Florida, central Florida and Curacao. Traeger is a private family-owned company that started in 1924. The company was founded by Joe Traeger, who started the business by shipping used tractor parts to Cuba on banana boats, a service need he discovered while traveling home from Cuba on a boat that malfunctioned and left him adrift for six days.

During his time adrift, Traeger used the time to speak with the crew and learned about the islands’ need for U.S.-supplied materials. As a result of that conversation, the company was started.

“We are small enough to care about the details of our customers’ success, but we are capable of competing at the highest levels of domestic and international commerce,” CEO Howard Traeger said. “Our single-point-of-contact philosophy allows for efficiency, productivity and succinct communication, which is a direct benefit to our customer.”

In other news related to the Houston opening, Traeger named Don Watson its Houston branch manager.

“We have strengthened our ability to meet the needs of our customers with this expansion of new location, stocking warehouse and distribution team,” Howard Traeger said. “Don Watson is a standout in our industry. His commitment to integrity coupled with his comprehensive understanding of both management and PVF sales is an integral component of our continued success. We are confident Don will help us build on our proud family tradition.”

Watson, formerly an outside sales representative for North America at Newdell from 2011-2017, is in charge of managing and developing Traeger’s Houston presence.

Traeger also named Jeff Witemyre senior sales associate at its Lakeland, Fla., location.

“Jeff has many years of experience that will benefit Traeger Brothers and help us grow our business in new markets and new territories,” Howard Traeger said. “Jeff believes in helping the customer to operate their plant more efficiently, safely and reliably, which is a win/win for both the customer and Traeger Brothers.”

Witemyre was a salesperson at Florida Pipe and Supply from 1984 until his recent departure. Witemyre was part of several FPS incarnations including being acquired by Hughes Supply, Home Depot and Capital Bankers.

“This is another investment that Mr. Traeger is making in developing his people, which solidifies the long-term commitment his employees have,” Witemyre said.

Witemyre, Traeger Brothers noted, is a self-proclaimed “valve doctor,” and has focused on valves and valve automation throughout his career. As a past employee of Powell and Xomox valves/actuators, Witemyre stands on a foundation of linear and rotary valve products, the company stated.

“As a ‘doctor’ we ask a lot of questions about the process and make a recommendation (prescription) on how to best fix the problem,” Witemyre said. “There is an element of trust involved in this unique relationship, which enhances our customer connection. I have learned there are advantages of working with a smaller company where you are part of the ‘family.’ The attitude, teamwork and culture are genuine, not the same in a large corporate company run strictly by the numbers. I see many successful salespeople at Traeger have developed cooperative/partnering relationships with their customers and I am glad to be part of that team dynamic.”