CLEVELAND—Parker Hannifin Corp.'s Seal Group and one of its strongest distributors—Sealing Devices Inc.—is celebrating the 50th anniversary of their partnership.
Sealing Devices was founded in 1963 by Terry Galanis Sr. with an initial investment of $157 in Parker O-rings.
"Independent distribution is such an important part of how we go to market, because our market portfolio is very diversified," said Derek Feltner, vice president of sales and marketing for Parker's Seal Group. "We service a lot of different markets. With our distributors, it allows us to service those markets more effectively."
Since that initial investment, Sealing Devices has grown to $55 million in sales—with 65 percent of its business in fabricated materials—and 1,800 customers. Parker's Seal Group remains its major supplier, but the company has expanded to include hundreds more, including Chomerics (another division of Parker), Garlock Sealing Technologies and the Flexitallic Group.
Sealing Devices is also approaching the 50th anniversary of its partnership with Flexitallic.
Sealing Devices is one of Parker's 15 distributors that have the Sealing Technology Centers designation. STC is a level with greater requirements than that of a Parker authorized distributor.
In order to receive an STC designation, a distributor must demonstrate technical ability, have ISO quality approval and a strong track record. But the most crucial requirement is that its technical resources must focus on seals.
"We really treat all of our distributors as an extension of Parker, especially the STCs, because they've invested the resources and people so that when customers call, they have a good experience, whether it be a logistics question, inventory question or technical question," Feltner said.
The Seal Group utilizes 95 distributors in North America and 225 globally. Sealing Devices became the 13th to have a partnership tenured at 50 years. The average tenure among the Seal Group's distributors is 34 years.
"They are very, very service-oriented to their distributor organizations," said Terry Galanis Jr., Sealing Devices' president. "My father knew that these specialized distribution companies were starting to develop, and he wanted to be one of the first of those."
The elder Galanis saw an opportunity for O-rings in the Buffalo area while working with Hercules Packing in the 1960s. After being fired from Hercules, Galanis Sr. used the relationship he developed with one of Parker's regional sales managers to purchase its new line of O-rings, despite being strapped for cash.
He operated Sealing Devices out of his home with the help of his wife, three daughters and son. The family room became the office, and the garage became the warehouse. The younger Galanis said he and his sisters would help package O-rings by the hundreds every Sunday night while watching the television show "Bonanza."
"There was no hardship because we didn't have any money, and we always helped my parents out," the younger Galanis said. "My father never really forced us to do anything. We always did it for him. My three sisters and I would just help out."
Now the company employs 170. While the 95-year-old Galanis has turned the reins over to his son, he still comes into the office every day. He works with his son on the company's profit sharing and pension plans, and he enjoys maintaining his relationships with his employees.
"He has good charisma; he's good for the company, a good leader," Galanis Jr. said. "My father writes everyone a birthday card on their birthday, and he'll come into their office and talk to them for a half hour. People feel really good about that."