Pye-Barker specializes in creating engineered solutions to help industrial companies in Georgia with their compressed air, pumping and blower/vacuum systems.
We help our clients create engineered solutions specific to their needs. We then deliver and are certified to maintain and repair all the equipment we supply to our clients.
Many of our clients are ‘lifers’ – we recently went through our records and found that 166 customers who did business with us in 1984 are still doing business with us today. It will take a special project to dig further into our history and see how long our longest continuous client relationship is.
The point is, you don’t get that kind of client relationship unless you are doing something right. ‘Something right’ in this case is being dedicated to ‘customer service’ and the ‘old school’ way of doing business, which were the values that John Pye and Ben Barker followed when they founded the company in 1936. You can read more about our history below.
John Pye and Ben Barker weren’t trying to make history when they started our company back in 1936. They were just trying to slit some conveyor belts.
At the time, the Georgia Tech grads were working for Goodyear out in Akron, Ohio. Both had engineering backgrounds, and both were interested in more than just being “company men.” Like all entrepreneurs, they were waiting for opportunity’s knock, eager to run to the door as soon as they heard it.
That knock came in the mid-1930s, when Mr. Pye invented a conveyor belt slitter that could take up to a ten-ton roll of belt and slit it to customer specifications — up to a mile long, if necessary. He built the thing, and then convinced his friend Ben to come back to Atlanta and help him set up shop.
Mr. Barker did just that, and next thing they knew they were pitching their plan to their old employers: send us the belts and let us get them to your customers after cutting and slitting them to size ourselves.
Goodyear liked the pitch — they liked it a lot, in fact. It saved them a lot of hassle, and pretty soon Pye-Barker was more than two guys with an idea. It was an industrial supply company with headquarters in west downtown Atlanta and an exclusive line on Goodyear’s belts.
They supplied belts to high-profile clients like Georgia Power, Georgia Marble, U.S. Steel in Birmingham, the coal and aggregate industry, and others across the region. Mr. Pye was president, Mr. Barker handled the sales force, and together they were in business!
And business was booming, in no small part due to the forward-thinking founders. Pye and Barker were quick to add other suppliers to their list, and they signed lines with 3M, Rust-Oleum, Falk, Rexnord, and others.
Many of those early vendors are still around to this day, and that’s not a coincidence. Our company has always prided itself on doing business with like-minded suppliers, and we pick partners who we feel will be around as long as we will.
By the end of their first decade in business, Mr. Pye and Mr. Barker were at the helm of one of the largest industrial suppliers in the state of Georgia and all that “soap, dope, and rope” they were selling meant they needed a bigger base of operations.
In 1951 they moved to a new warehouse at the corner of Pryor and Garnett in Atlanta. It’s all gone now — they tore it down and built a MARTA station — but at the time it had been the site of the original Ford dealership in the city.
A few years later, Mr. Pye passed the reins over to the next generation — and another Georgia Tech engineer named W.H. “Hub” Lindsey became company president. With I.A. “Ike” Scott as his sales manager, Hub grew the company in a direction he knew would be profitable: larger-ticket, engineered items.
Conveyor belts were starting to be less profitable, but that was alright. Hub started a Hydro-Air Engineering division to the company, with a vision of giving customers a comprehensive pump and compressor service. Pye-Barker would sell, maintain, and fix this equipment in our in-house shop or right there in the field if necessary.
Hydro-Air proved very profitable, and a group of new and old faces joined the division in late 1960s and early 1970s. These men — John Lunsford, Ed McDonald, Bill Spencer, Leroy Childers, and others — took the company in the profitable direction that Hub had envisioned. Soon enough, that meant another move, this time to Forest Park in 1974.
We’re still at that location today, and we still focus heavily on Hydro-Air and other engineered solutions. We may not know what customer needs and challenges the future holds, but we do know this: we’ll be the first ones there to address those challenges head on, just like we always have.
John Pye and Ben Barker might not recognize all the equipment we work with (although it wouldn’t take long to explain to a couple engineering whizzes like them!) but they’d be intimately familiar with the hard work, dedication to service, and old-school way of doing business that we’ve practiced every single day since opening our doors in 1936.
After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.