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Specialty Pipe and Tube VP Granato Retires

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Specialty Pipe and Tube Vice President Ron Granato has retired after nearly half a century with the Mineral Ridge, Ohio-based master distributor. He joined the company in 1970, six years after Specialty Pipe and Tube’s founding.

Having worked in finance, sales, purchasing and supervision, Granato has seen the service center business from all sides. He says the most meaningful change he’s witnessed in his 47-year career was the transformation of ownership.

“The biggest change in the industry as a whole has been the move away from private ownership to corporate ownership, either private equity or part of a large publicly traded company, and the associated changes that go along with it,” he says.

When he started, mom and pop shops were the rule. But as they grew in sales and reputation, they became targets for larger companies.

“It provides positives and negatives. You have access to capital you might not have as a smaller company,” he says. On the other hand, companies now are accountable to the rules of corporate governance and the desires of the stockholders.

“When you own the company, you can make long-term assessments of the market. In a corporate structure, you can’t think that long-term. You’re reporting to management, which reports to a board, which is responsible to the shareholders,” he says.

As for the future, Granato says “globalization and commoditization of products is not going away. And the technology revolution is moving into steel service industry and most companies are not prepared for that.”

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