Strickland joined Apex Supply July 17, 2001 as vice president/sales and marketing, after spending 22 years at Hughes Supply, Orlando, Fla.
This marks a major change in leadership for the wholesaler, which has been run by members of the Rodbell family since its founding. Apex Supply Co. traces its roots to a scrap business, Capitol Hide and Metal Co., that was started in Atlanta in 1912 by Joseph Rodbell, father of Clyde Rodbell and Clyde's late brother, Leonard Rodbell. The business evolved into Apex Plumbing Specialties Co. in 1947 under the direction of Leonard Rodbell, father to Sidney Rodbell, and that became the foundation for the company today. Clyde Rodbell joined the business in 1949 as an equal partner with his brother. Sidney Rodbell joined the company in 1968 and became its president in 1997. Leonard Rodbell died in 1988.
Clyde and Sidney Rodbell are becoming vice presidents of Home Depot Supply, the umbrella organization, Sidney Rodbell told Supply House Times. "We will work with both Apex Supply and Home Depot, but our function will be less operational," he said. They will report to Jim Stoddart, president of Home Depot Supply.
"Clyde and Sidney built Apex into one of the most respected organizations within the supply industry," Stoddart said in a statement. "After being acquired two and a half years ago, they led the transition of Apex into Home Depot. Now I'm looking forward to continuing to use their combined 87years of experience on other business challenges."
"This is something that we had planned for very carefully," Clyde Rodbell said in a statement. "Sid joined our leadership team a year ago as vice president of Apex's plumbing, industrial and showroom divisions. He knows our business and has earned the total respect of the Apex team and our customers. He has all the personal and professional qualities to take over the leadership of our fine company."
Home Depot has treated the two Rodbells exceptionally well, Sidney Rodbell said in a statement. "They have been a very professional partner and we have accomplished a great deal together. Clyde and I strongly believe that being a part of Home Depot will continue to be a wonderful opportunity for both Apex's customers and its associates."
Strickland, who was not available for comment, said in a statement that he pledges to carry on the Rodbell's legacy of quality and superior customer service. "We have inherited responsibility for a superb organization, and by taking full advantage of the talents of our associates, we will continue the Apex tradition of providing outstanding service to our customers," he said.
"Sid Strickland is an excellent leader and has always had the respect of those around him," said Stewart Hall, former president of Hughes Supply (Orlando, Fla.).
Hall spent 28 years at Hughes Supply, eight as president, and many of those years overlapped with the 22 years Strickland spent at Hughes. For the past year and a half Hall has been working with his son at ASHcorp Inc., an Orlando-based business that designs, administrates and markets healthcare plans for companies with part-time, hourly or contracted workers, associations, the self-employed, unions, membership groups and affinity organizations.
"The years that Sid spent with Hughes gave him a very diversified background," Hall told Supply House Times. "He worked his way up through the company and spent time in just about every aspect of the business, including purchasing, personnel, trucking, inventory. Having worked for a much bigger company that went through a decade of substantial growth certainly qualifies him to take over the reins at Apex Supply," he said.
"He brings a lot of fresh ideas about how to grow a business and how to do it profitably and he has an especially keen skill for developing quality personnel," Hall continued. "He is extremely effective at finding people that fit well into an organization, growing their skill sets and providing the proper training and guidance. As a person, he is assertive enough, aggressive in pursuing tough issues, and high in people skills. Sid has a sense of urgency about getting projects done, but pays attention to detail. He is willing to take risks on new ventures.
"He was a tremendous ally to me at Hughes," Hall said. "He will make a good president/COO. This is a great opportunity for Sid Strickland and Apex Supply has to be thrilled to have found someone with so much industry exposure, so experienced in the fundamentals of running a business."
Apex Supply distributes plumbing, PVF, heating and air conditioning, kitchen cabinetry and industrial tools. It has 21 branches located in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee and more than 500 associates. The company has two distribution centers in Georgia, one at its corporate headquarters and one in Lawrenceville. Twice it has been named Wholesaler of the Year by Supply House Times - in 1984 and 1998. Home Depot acquired Apex Supply in December 1999.