Page 34: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (August 2016)
The Shipyard Edition
oices orldwide Metric is Constantinos Contos, who immigrated ric opened its ? fth distribution center in joyed steady growth over the past 16 a worldwide dis- to the U.S. from Greece in 1969, found- Livonia, Michigan to serve the Midwest years, in times good and bad. While tributor of pipes, ed the company. Soon after, he began and central Canadian markets. With op- there are many descriptors of the Con- “W valves and ? ttings, receiving an abundance of requests for erations now in ? ve U.S. locations, the tos business style, but perhaps ‘slow and specializing in metric components,” said metric valves and ? anges from foreign company plans to open additional distri- steady ahead’ is most apt. Always ahead,
George Contos, CEO. “We have bridged vessels, but despite the demand, metric bution centers both nationally and inter- carefully eyeing cash ? ow and eschew- the gap between the East and the West replacement parts weren’t easy to ? nd in nationally. When the second generation ing debt along the way.
when my dad brought metric here.” the U.S. World Wide Metric was born, took command in 2000, it started a new “Could we have grown faster” by ac-
The company was founded by Con- as Constantinos Contos improvized and era that would effectively grow annual cumulating debt?, Contos asks rhetori- stantinos Contos, a man who saw a need started to ful? ll the need. At ? rst he took sales from $3 million to more than $20 cally. “No doubt. It was hard enough to for metric-standard products and wanted an American valve, cut off its ? anges, million, its number of employees from keep up with the demands of growth, let to create a business he could pass along welded on a piece of plate, then drilled the low 20s to 58, with its number of alone make it happen faster than it natu- to his family. The WWM story is one of holes to match the existing pipeline, and individual products sold approaching rally could or should. Too many mistakes innovation and re-birth, of family ties put the valve back in service. Realizing 60,000. happen when you try to go too fast.” and family values that extends far and this was not an optimal solution, he saw Contos is ? rst and foremost a people beyond the Contos clan. an opportunity to address the shortage of A New Era person, and from the start his company metric parts in the U.S. George Contos is CEO of World Wide beefed up on outside sales and customer
A Brief WWM History Eventually Contos gave up the ship Metric (WWM) since 2000, but just support in its effort to build revenue.
Founded in 1970 as World Wide Ship repair segment and moved the company two years prior it appeared that his time “Yes, we are a distribution company
Repair in Brooklyn, NY, today World from Brooklyn to New Jersey, focused with the company was done, as he left selling metric products, but it is our peo-
Wide Metric (WWM) is a leader in the solely on delivering an increasingly in 1998. “Dad and I didn’t necessarily ple that do the selling. It is our people international distribution of valves, ? t- diverse array of metric products to the see eye-to-eye in terms of the business that are our culture. It is people who are tings, tubing and ? anges serving the U.S. market. Today, the company that and how we felt things should be done. our customers, our vendors, our fami- maritime, energy, industrial ? ow con- a father started has grown considerably I was coming into my own, and my dad lies. People are everything in business,” trol and ? uid power markets. As George under the tutelage of his three children, was in his prime of running the company he said.
Contos likes to repeat “WWM links the George, Theo and Anthee. To further ex- … so we were butting heads more often To Contos people and pace are impor-
East and West” by consolidating the sup- pand the company’s presence in the U.S. than not and the family dynamic was tant, as is focus. He has seen ? rst-hand ply of products and technologies of the coastal regions, the company opened dif? cult.” After a two-year stint at Dale the perils of growing too fast in too many
European, Far Eastern and American a fourth distribution center in Ft. Lau- Carnegie, George was approached by his directions. “My dad always said, if a fox marine and industrial markets. derdale, Florida in 2004, and by 2008, father and brother to return to WWM, is hunting one rabbit, it will come home
The creation of today’s World Wide World Wide Metric was stocking more and rejoined the company as its CEO at with one rabbit. If it is hunting two rab-
Metric is not unlike the creation of other than 50,000 products and relocated their the age of 32. bits, it will come home with none.” businesses in other industries, the child of corporate headquarters to a larger of? ce The rest, as they say, is history. George “Choosing where to focus is the most an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. and warehouse in Branchburg, New Jer- Contos has a clear vision of WWM’s important, and sometimes it’s not about
In this case, in 1970, former ship captain sey. In October 2015, World Wide Met- future, and under his tutelage it has en- what you need to add, but what you need
The Product Line
Worldwide Metric can provide everything from a single prod- uct to a complete system.
“Worldwide Metric is a worldwide distributor of pipes, valves and ? ttings, specializing in metric components,” said George
Constantinos Contos children
Contos, CEO. “We have bridged the gap between the East and – Theo, Anthee and George – the West when my dad brought metric here.” With more than have effectively grown the busi- 60,000 products and growing daily, WWM is situated to meet ness from $3 million in 2000 the need of its diverse client base, whether that’s a single to more than $20 million today.
piece or a full array of components for a complete system solution. According to Contos, the key to his company’s suc- cess is not simply pushing product, but working with clients to understand their true needs, and to supply the solution that best suits their need. For the full range of the WWM products, visit: www.worldwidemetric.com 34 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • AUGUST 2016
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