“From humble beginning come great things” is a quote that could adequately describe the story of brother-in-laws — Frank Martin and Steve Sholtis — who decided to partner and start a small fastener company in Mobile, Alabama in the late 70s.
According to the duo, who named their company Threaded Fasteners Inc. (TFI), the early days were modest. TFI began with “one chop saw and one rigid pipe threader in a borrowed warehouse” and has since grown to be one of the largest fastener and steel bolt distributors in the Southeast.
The company specializes in the manufacturing, custom packaging, and distribution of steel fasteners, including for tower and electric utility bolts, commercial marine construction, metal building manufacturers, the Department of Transportation fabricators, and others.
Granted, it took some time to build the company but not much. A little more than a decade after its start, TFI opened a second location in Pensacola to better serve its Florida-based customers. Then, another decade-and-a-half after that TFI expanded westward into Mississippi with the addition of a Gulfport branch.
Today, TFI “maintains $5.6 million worth of inventory across six distribution warehouses, from Alabama to Mississippi, Florida, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.” This includes its latest business — Quality Galvanizing — which launched in Semmens, AL in 2017. This plant is where many of the TFI products are galvanized against corrosion before packaging, sale, and distribution.
What’s more: TFI is an employee-owned company, meaning it offers an Employee Stock Ownership Plan or ESOP that’s primarily set up as a retirement plan for its workers.
“We want everyone to know how dedicated our employees are,” says Todd Hoffman, director of corporate operations. “Being a 100 percent employee-owned business, our team serves our customers with passion and dedication.”
All of these are great accomplishments. However, what’s most notable about the company has little to do with its success in the fastener industry and much to do with how it gives back and serves its communities. TFI says it began charity work at the same time as its inception in 1979, providing donations and volunteer fundraising for those in need.
In 2011, the company made it official and formalized a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation: the Threaded Fasteners Charitable Foundation (TFCF). “From providing food to residents of tornado-ravaged Oklahoma to cooking red beans and rice for those who suffered from flooding in Louisiana, the Foundation is pleased to be able to respond in times of need,” says a quote from the charity’s website.
TFCF has also partnered with Team Focus, which is a community outreach organization that supports youth (ages 10 to 18) who are without a father figure in their life. Team Focus does so through mentorship, social and leadership activities, tutoring and academic support and more. TFCF hosts an annual charity golf tournament as part of its efforts to give.
It’s been said that giving is the key to success and Threaded Fasteners Inc. seems to have this mastered. Although Martin and Sholtis are now retired, it’s clear their “humble beginnings” have turned into a great legacy of giving.
In the spirit of giving
‘Tis the holiday season and we at Fastener Engineering would like to give a shout-out to all of the fastener-related companies that — like TFI — try to make the world a better place by supporting others.
Here are just a few examples:
- K2 Fasteners, a Canadian-based company that established the K2 Foundation. This charity works with health officials in Malawi (which is consistently ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world) to provide services such as free health care clinics in rural areas, palliative care, and testing for cervical cancer and HIV, and more. Learn more here.
- Knapp Fasteners Inc. sponsors, donates, and volunteers, supporting more than a dozen charities to date. Here’s a list of a few of those organizations.
- Mid-States Bolt & Screw Co. that do volunteer cleanup work along the Interstate corridor and at the industrial park near where the company’s headquarters are located. They also support more than 14 school robotics teams in their county. Learn more here.
- Simpson Strong-Tie, which gives back to local communities where its employees live and work, and supports Habitat for Humanity International. “Since becoming a national sponsor in 2007, the company has donated nearly $3 million in cash and products. The contribution has helped support several Habitat houses across North America, as well as international programs.”