The History of AHE
For almost fifty years, we at Air & Hydraulic Equipment (AHE) have been providing manufacturers with solutions to their fluid power challenges. Our primary goal is to help customers identify the answers to their most technical issues with diagnostic questioning. With multiple locations, certified fluid power specialists on staff, and a state-of-the-art fabrication and manufacturing facility, it’s easy to see why AHE is considered an industry leader.
The Story of Air & Hydraulic Equipment
Since the early 70’s, we at AHE have been providing Tennessee, Northern Georgia, and Southwest Virginia with unparalleled hydraulic, pneumatic, electric, automation processes, and value-added services. We pride ourselves on delivering a high-quality products and services. Over the years, we’ve carved a name for ourselves as industry leaders with our superior level of expertise, and this success can be attributed to two men.
In the fall of 1970, James P. Halstead and James A. Campbell formed AHE when they purchased the distribution rights for C.A. Norgren, Inc., located at Jubilee Drive in Chattanooga. The acquisition was made from Air and Hydraulic Engineering Inc., to form Air & Hydraulic Equipment, Inc., but it wasn’t until January of 1971 that AHE Inc. was officially incorporated. The immediate success of the business required expansion, so the company moved into a larger facility in another part of Chattanooga.
Development continued throughout the 70’s and into the early 80’s to cities such as Nashville, Bristol, Knoxville, and Cookeville. By the mid-80’s the company had purchased three branches of the company Air Devices and expanded operations in both Bristol and Memphis. It was around this time that AHE acquired Southeast Hydraulics, which allowed for an amplified position in Knoxville. The momentum of this success kept our needle moving forward, and by the early 1990’s, AHE had established the ESOP.
Investing In Our Employees
Today, AHE is an authorized distributor for more than 60 manufacturers of fluid power components and other related products from our five locations across the state of Tennessee. Our team of industry experts is what allows us to provide customers with a such a high standard of work, and much of that success stems, in part, from the vested interest our employees have in the company. AHE made this possible by setting up an ESOP in 1993.
Employee Stock Ownership (ESOP), according to Investopedia, is “a qualified defined-contribution employee benefit plan designed to invest primarily in the stock of the sponsoring employer. ESOPs are ‘qualified’ in the sense that the ESOP’s sponsoring company, the selling shareholder, and participants receive various tax benefits.”
The idea is very similar to profit-sharing, but employees become stockholders and are therefore involved in much of the decision making and logistics of the company. The result is a genuine interest in working with the customer to deliver exceptional quality products and services. Internally, the same application transcends across all departments from engineering and fabrication to shipping and accounting. By working together, we at AHE have been able to surpass the expectations of our customers time and time again, fulfilling their needs with a unique team-driven approach.
Each year, we hold a shareholders meeting to elect members to the board. 2017 marked the 25th annual ESOP meeting, held in Chattanooga. At the event, awards are distributed to the “Employee of the Year,” “Top Sales of the Year,” and different appreciation awards for different milestones individuals have achieved with the company.
One of the many reasons for our success is our dedication to not only our customer, but to our workforce. The expertise and commitment to excellence demonstrated by our employees is what has allowed AHE attain a position as an industry leader. We are proud of what we have achieved as a team, and excited for the chapters of our story that have yet to be written.