The May PVF Roundtablemeeting in Houston means golf is in the air.

The annual Don Caffee Memorial Golf Tournamentis held annually in conjunction with the May meeting. But the tournament carries a much greater significance than just members gathering for a fun day of golf and networking.

Proceeds from the tournament go to the PVF Roundtable Scholarship Fund. At last year’s August Roundtable meeting checks of $50,000 each were presented to the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering and Texas A&M University’s Dwight Look College of Engineering (industrial distribution).

“I am very proud that as a group we rally around such a common cause,” PVF Roundtable President Joe Pro (Penn Machine) said. “One of the most exciting things to hear in our board meetings is the ability to have such a tremendous mission. We’re here to provide opportunities for participants of the PVF industry to network and to promote education of new persons coming into the industry. We’re to a point where we have the ability to raise this kind of money because we get tremendous support from our sponsors that has enabled us to move forward so rapidly at levels that have meaning. The critical mass we put forward will have a significant impact going forward.”

The scholarship fund has now expanded to include trade schools. That part of the fund is made possible by the proceeds from the fall TroutBlast fishing event, which the Roundtable recently took over. Pro said the group is looking at several schools in the Houston area that offer programs for such end-user positions as pipe fitters.

“There is a crying need for skilled craftsmen right now,” PVF Roundtable Scholarship Fund Chairman Harold Armstrong (Armstrong/Weatherly) said. “Major companies in our industry need skilled workers, but how do you get them? On this scholarship committee we have members who primarily work for major end users. They are helping us with guidance with this trade scholarship program and the needs these end-user companies have for skilled labor.”

Armstrong is thrilled with how quickly the scholarship program has grown, but stresses none of it would be possible without the help of PVF Roundtable member companies and individuals.

“What we are doing here is very gratifying,” he said. “It’s given renewed meaning to the organization in how we are sponsoring students at the two universities and with this trades program. We are impacting a lot of lives. Companies are stepping up by sponsoring our meetings, which helps defray costs so the money we generate from golf and fishing goes directly to students. It’s truly an amazing time.”

Pro said the Roundtable has a total of $125,000 budgeted for scholarships this year with $50,000 earmarked for the trades program and the remaining funds to be split between the two four-year universities.

Upcoming PVF Roundtable Events

Aug. 18: Summer PVF Roundtable.
Westin Galleria Houston.

October: TroutBlast. Matagorda Bay, Texas.

Oct. 13: Fall PVF Roundtable.
Westin Galleria Houston.

More information: www.pvf.org.

PVF Roundtable Directors

Harold Armstrong(Armstrong-Weatherly; Vice President), Ray Bojarczuk (Exxonmobil), Max Casada (Phillips 66), Joe Costanzo (Wolseley Industrial), Margie Dalton (IFC), Bob Hunter (Ta Chen), Dennis Fikes (Energy Metals), Kelly Kelsheimer (TWC Walworth), Steve Letko (Weldbend), Ron Merrick (Fluor), Sheryl Michalak (Welding Outlets; Secretary/Treasurer), Joe Pro (Penn Machine; President), Ginger Restovic (Cooper Valves) , Danny Westbrook (Westbrook Mfg.).

Recent New Members

Alloy & Stainless Fasteners

Western Forge and Flange

U.S. Metals

Thomas Enterprise Solutions

Total members: 210

This article was originally titled “Changing lives” in the May 2015 print edition of Supply House Times.