In Jan. 31-Feb. 6 issue
By Greg Wells
Times Journal Managing Editor
LEFT - Terry Stephens in his Russell County office
RUSSELL SPRINGS - Terry Stephens, the local owner of Stephens' Pipe and Steel, said this week he could not confirm the identity of the corporation that has reportedly purchased a 50 percent share in his company.
Stephens said he was waiting to make a joint announcement with the Kentucky-based firm, in the near future.
Stephens Pipe and Steel is the largest American-owned provider of fencing supplies in the nation, the proud owner said.
He and another man, B.J. Brown of Somerset, began the venture in 1974 and in 2000 Stephens purchased the Brown's interest in the company.
In that time he said they had gone from a small Kentucky firm with less than $100,000 in sales to a multi-million dollar business that now has 850 employees in nine states from Connecticut to Florida.
The full announcement is expected soon, Stephens said, and following that there is the possibility of other news that could mean more jobs in the community.
No matter what, Stephens said, there is not going to be any loss of jobs in the community and the headquarters will remain in Russell Springs with no changes in management.
Gene Royalty, the executive director of the Russell County Industrial Development Authority, said he had no knowledge of any transactions between Stephens' Pipe & Steel and another company.
Royalty said Stephens' is the second largest manufacturing company in the county, behind Fruit of the Loom.
"We've got about ten companies (in the county) that are the primary employers and they together employ almost 1,900 people with an estimated annual payroll of $50 million a year," he said. "So it's rather significant."
Stephens said he joined forces with the company he chose after serious thought and consideration of several offers from other companies.
"(They) are a company that can assure the continued growth of our business and they are committed to maintaining local control of the company," Stephens said.
He added that he has been at the helm of his company for 34 years and eventually there will come a day when he may want to step back from the operations. Having joined with this other company he said he is sure will assure that Stephens' Pipe and Steel will have the financial strength to continue as strongly as it has in any eventuality.
"I really feel good about this," Stephens concluded. "They have the same vision of growth for the company that I do and they are a very fine organization."