Who Are We?
W&O’s origins begin with entrepreneur Herbert E. Goelz, a graduate of Kings Point Maritime Academy and chief mate on liberty ships during World War II. He combined his love for the marine business with his vision to be in every major port in the United States to make W&O the only nationwide supplier of pipe, valves, and fittings to the marine industry.
Herb started Ship Supply in the early 1960’s. Herb, his wife Gloria, and a driver started in a small, rented warehouse near the downtown shipyard in Jacksonville, FL. Ship Supply was a ship chandler selling everything incoming vessels might need -- from bath soap to deck chairs to rope.
In 1961, Herb added a new venture called Gulf Atlantic Valve to repair valves for marine and industrial customers based on the demand he was seeing in the Jacksonville maritime and industrial market. As Ship Supply and Gulf Atlantic Valve grew, Herb made additional acquisitions to broaden maritime products and services and relocated Ship Supply to larger facilities.
Meanwhile, W&O Engineering was established by Bill Weedon (the 'W') and Percy Oberman (the 'O') as an engineering firm in the early 1970s. W&O Engineering’s focus was tube and retube operations to repair, clean or build heat exchangers, condensers, and chillers for boiler systems. In 1975, Goelz sold Ship Supply (the chandlery) and purchased W&O Engineering. Goelz modified the name to W&O Supply and began supplying ships and shipyards with piping products. In addition, Goelz combined Gulf Atlantic Valve and other foundry, tube and fabrication businesses into a single, separate company now known as Flotech. Herb served as CEO of Flotech following his departure from W&O.
Between 1975 and 1999, W&O Supply grew their strategic network of branches into top ports in North America. Charleston, SC and Ft. Lauderdale, FL in the 1980’s. Norfolk, VA, Tampa, FL and New Orleans, LA opened in the late 1970’s. Houston and the West Coast (San Diego, CA, Long Beach, CA, and Seattle, WA) in the 1980’s.
In February of 1999, Pon Holdings, based in The Netherlands, purchased W&O from Goelz seeing tremendous opportunity in the fluid control industry for both marine and commercial applications.
It's never business as usual in today's maritime industry. Serving the needs of shipyards, owner/operators, cruise lines, the military and more takes a 'round-the-clock, do-whatever-it-takes attitude. And that kind of performance is what sets W&O apart.
W&O is now one of the world's largest suppliers of pipe, valves, fittings as well as actuation and engineered solutions to the maritime and upstream oil & gas industries. Among our premier offerings are valve-automation services provided through our Engineered Products and Automated Services division. W&O serves all segments of the marine industry, including commercial shipping, the U.S. Navy, Military Sealift Command, MARAD, U.S. Coast Guard, cruise lines, barge owners, offshore oil and natural-gas rigs, and shipyards that build and repair vessels of all sizes. W&O is proud to represent the most recognizable brands and to offer more products at more locations than any other marine-products distributor in the United States. We provide convenient access to complete valve-automation networked systems that are assembled, tested, delivered and ready to install in ships or offshore platforms being built or repaired.
Today, W&O remains headquartered in Jacksonville and operates a strategic branch network of stocking locations worldwide. Outside of the USA, W&O has branches in Canada, Europe, and Asia. Now led by President Todd Nestel, W&O continues their legacy of service to the maritime industry that was the vision of its founder many years ago.
How We're Different
Unlike other companies, W&O focuses solely on the maritime industry with products and services that go far beyond the expected. We represent the most recognizable brands in the industry and offer more products at more locations than any other marine products distributor in the US, which is why we have been the go-to solutions provider in the maritime industry for 40 years. No one knows the business better, and no one puts more time, energy and resources into serving our customers specific and unique requirements. We serve all segments, including commercial shipping, the U.S. Navy, Military Sealift Command, MARAD, U.S. Coast Guard, cruise lines, barge owners, upstream oil and natural-gas rigs, and shipyards that build and repair vessels of all sizes.
W&O understands the unique needs of ship building as well as the repair and retro-fitting industry for all types of maritime vessels which is why we keep over $60 million dollars of standing inventory. Our global footprint allows us to service your needs from anywhere in the world and provide exceptional customer service. We provide convenient access to complete valve-automation networked systems that are assembled, tested, delivered and ready to install in ships or upstream oil and gas platforms being built or repaired.