Tim Woofter was inducted into the STI/SPFA Hall of Fame in 2016. We recently had an opportunity to talk with Tim about his career in the steel fabrication industry, challenges he faced along the way, and advice he would give to the next generation.

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STI/SPFA: How did you get started in the industry?

Tim Woofter: Our business is a family business. It wasn’t too difficult. I started painting tanks with a brush when I was 12 years old, and I was welding tanks when I was 14. I left and went to Packard Electric – General Motors – for a year and a half, came back in 1970, and I’ve been back for 53 years.

My brother’s part owner. I’ve got some relatives that work there. But we’re second generation. I’m second generation. My dad started the company in 1947 and I was born in 1950.

We merged with a company in 1980, Red Tank and Welding. They were a member of STI, we were not. My dad was not a big joiner, but when we bought them, we automatically became members.

STI/SPFA: What has been your biggest challenge?

Woofter: Well, there’s lots of challenges for sure. A lot of it has been supply chain lately, at least since the pandemic. Supply chain and erratic pricing going from $0.30 to $1.00. I mean, big changes in pricing.

But the biggest challenge is probably people, staffing. You know, when you’re a relatively small company, we have 50 employees, there’s lots of different jobs, and you can only hire so many people to do one job. So, if you have one person doing that job and they quit, you’ve got to scramble to find somebody. People are difficult. And I’m not saying that the people themselves are difficult, but the staffing is difficult, very difficult.

30 years ago, when my dad put me in control of the company, he said, “You’re going to make mistakes. Just don’t keep making the same ones over and over.”

STI/SPFA: What advice would you give to the next generation?

Woofter: The next generation in the industry, I love the industry. I don’t really know what to tell them. In general, I would tell them to find something you like, stick to it, work hard at it. If you’re doing something you like, you’re not working.

STI/SPFA: What do you want your legacy to be?

Underwood: I did a good job for my company, that I treated my employees as equals, and was fair to them, and that possibly through my efforts with STI/SPFA, maybe I helped bring the industry a little further also.

STI/SPFA: What has STI/SPFA meant to you?

Woofter: If we did not have the affiliation with, at that time Steel Tank Institute, we’d be making a few farm tanks and whatever, but we would not have the technology available to sell that we have now. We would have probably dried up and died on the vine. So, I would say this institute, if you’re a tank manufacturer, you need to be here.

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  • News Article

Published Date

March 18, 2024

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