50 years at 1 company is something to celebrate | Sheila Long O’Mara

A lot was going on in the world back in 1974.

The long-running sitcom Happy Days made its debut on ABC. Following impeachment hearings and the Watergate Scandal, Richard Nixon became the first U.S. president to resign.

Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and George Foreman met in what is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a heavyweight champion battle in which Ali regained the title in a knockout in the eighth round.

Author Stephen King published his debut novel, “Carrie.” The 55-m.p.h. speed limit was imposed in the U.S. to preserve gas use, and worldwide inflation sent the cost of fuel, food and manufacturing to all-time highs.

The Sears Tower in Chicago became the world’s tallest building, and the Charles de Gualle Airport opened in Paris.

Also in 1974, Bob Steelman went to work for foam supplier Carpenter Co. right after graduating from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., where he was a member of the Mountaineers football team. And since joining the company, Steelman has remained a member of the Carpenter team.

Fifty years — that’s a long time at one company and, these days, a rarity as people tend to change climb the corporate ladder through job changes to other companies. Think about that. Fifty years of mutual understanding and respect.

“Bob has been the face of our bedding business throughout his career here,” said Michael Faus, executive vice president for the company, Steelman’s boss and another Carpenter long-timer with nearly 42 years under his belt. “He is an absolute rock and a solid face to our customers throughout his tenure.”

During his 50 years with the company, Steelman has represented Carpenter in a variety of locations including North Carolina – his home state – Kentucky and Florida.

Carpenter took time out of the International Sleep Products Expo last month in Columbus, Ohio, to toast Steelman with a surprise gathering of colleagues and industry partners. He was told an important customer was coming to the space, all in good fun, of course.

Taken by surprise by the more than 80 people surrounding the space, Steelman stood with Brad Beauchamp, president and CEO of Carpenter, to soak it all in. The company compiled a video the included customers, teammates and his family — children and grandchildren — congratulating him on his corporate longevity.

Steelman teared up as the video played and quickly quipped that he didn’t see retirement in his windshield yet, and quickly turned the subject to drink and merriment with an invitation for all to “eat, drink and be merry.”

Congrats to Bob on the milestone and to Carpenter for keeping in the family for the long haul. Both, I’m sure, are richer for the relationship.

See also: Mattress industry gathers at ISPA Expo

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