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Last Update: Friday March 24, 2017

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Meet Howard Kent, Ironbound Valve

Howard Kent, founder, Ironbound Valve Actuator Company, Newark, New Jersey

The Ironbound District, Newark, New Jersey:  This Portuguese neighborhood is a perfect place to learn about distribution from a business that services builders and contractors. And, Howard Kent is a very good man to learn about  transforming an old family business by servicing his core clients in new ways.

Howard and his team are now known as Ironbound Valve Actuation. Like most of us, he learned his lessons the hard way. He now says, "Plan your work. And, work your plan, so... when you do succeed, it's not by chance and it's not by luck; it's just that you followed your game plan."

The old family business was called Ironbound Supply, a distributor for pipes, valves and fittings. In the same location since 1966, Howard sells the same type of pipes his father-in-law started selling when the doors opened. But, the valve actuation business is growing globally.  As well you can imagine, to go global, Howard constantly streamlines his systems with a mixture of old technology and new.

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Ironbound Supply in the Ironbound District of Newark, New Jersey

Every week we hear small business owners say, "Stay focused. Empower your people." In this episode of the show we hear it again.   We've traveled to the four distant corners of the USA and to many cities and towns in between. You've gone to Oxford to learn about leadership and to Sydney to learn about art.  Now visit, Newark, New Jersey to learn some  business basics.

Be Boring And Rich

2:57 | Play Now

Ironbound Valve Actuation demonstrates that some of the most boring and dirty businesses, including copper pipes, rake in the most cash. More...

Work Your Way Into Ownership

4:10 | Play Now

After ten years of working at Ironbound, Howard Kent gained a new appreciation for the profitability of pipes and arranged to buy the business.

Respect Technology

5:09 | Play Now  |  Ironbound has always used technology to run its business and now it puts technology to work to track inventory, generate sales and determine profitability.

Ask Veteran Employees To Think in New Ways

4:29 | Play Now

Howard Kent believes in teaching employees about the business, providing opportunities for them to demonstrate their talents and sharing in the business success.

Work Your Plan

0:59 | Play Now

Host Hattie Bryant discovers that Howard Kent believes in a written plan of action.

Stick To Your Knitting

6:11 | Play Now

Howard Kent teaches us when mistakes take you off course, learn from the experience and get back on track.