Global Fastener News

2008 FIN – Employees, Customers & Suppliers Tell the Porteous Story

May 24
00:00 2011


February 20, 2008 FIN- Porteous Fastener Co. marked its 40th anniversary by publishing more than 100 company stories from employees, customers and suppliers in a book entitled Porteous: Forty Years of First Class Service.

Subtitled “Four decades of stories and strategies”, the 109-page book is dedicated to founder John Barry (Bud) Porteous and his wife, Anne Weber Porteous.

Bud Porteous, born and raised in the Midwest, went through the Great Depression as the son of a pharmacist and a schoolteacher. While working in the family drug store he witnessed customers begging with tears in their eyes for credit to get medicine for their children.

It was something he never forgot, current CEO Barry Porteous wrote in introducing the founder.

Bud Porteous moved to California in 1946 after serving in World War II and went to work for his uncle at Russell Bolt & Manufacturing.

Twenty years later, using his severance pay and a loan from his wife, he founded Porteous Fastener Company after Russell Bolt was liquidated.

As fast as Bud could grow the new company, he had a ready-made work force of people left unemployed by Russell.

Porteous opened a 2,000 sq ft warehouse in downtown Los Angeles and couldn’t pay himself for three years. Two years later he opened a branch in San Francisco and commuted there for a year to make the branch profitable.

In 1984 Bud and Anne Porteous had to put everything they owned, down to the pots and pans in their kitchen, on the line to acquire International Fastener Company, which had Houston and Atlanta locations. In fact, we wouldn’t be where we are today had we not bought it, Barry Porteous wrote.

Fastener History

Though primarily about Porteous Fastener Co., even the company stories tell industry history. In August 1994 two typhoons struck Taiwan, dropping a combined total of 32 inches of rain.

The first suppliers PFC could get in contact with reported that Shin-lo Street, known as Fastener Row, was under water.

Only the roofs of fastener factories could be seen. Nut formers and screw machines were submerged. Wire drawing machines and forklifts were out of sight. Parts were rusting.

Barry Porteous began paying the open payment terms invoices quickly to give the factories cash to recover. The factories could plate the rusting parts and ship against plated orders until new production was possible.

In the early 1970s, Porteous Fastener survived the six-month West Coast dock strike with surplus inventory from customers and employees taking a 10% pay cut. Employees were repaid following the dock strike.

Though most of the book focuses on Bud Porteous, Mel Kirsner of Pell Mell Supply recalled a Porteous deliveryman who had a gal in the truck and a surfboard. Kirsner called Bud to tell him he shouldn’t tolerate this kind of behavior from his employees.

He says, “Mel, that’s my son Barry.” ©2008/2011 Fastener Industry News

Related Links:

• Porteous Fastener Co.

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