General Carbide Corp., a vertically integrated manufacturer of finished carbide tooling for a wide range of industrial wear and metalforming applications, marked a half-century in business with a picnic and carnival for employees and their families, as well as for customers and suppliers. The event took place on Saturday, July 28, at the company’s headquarters in Greensburg, PA, about 35 miles east of Pittsburgh.
“This occasion is the result of so many people’s dedication and hard work,” says Mona Pappafava-Ray, General Carbide’s president and CEO. “Any business that survives 50 years has been able to adapt to changing markets and business conditions. My father, Premo Pappafava, who started General Carbide, would be so proud of our transition from a manufacturer of unfinished carbide tooling to a producer of premium finished carbide tooling used in a wide range of industries. I am gratified that we have been able to uphold his commitment to innovation and high ethical standards, as well as maintain a family atmosphere. Those aspects of our corporate culture have continued to make General Carbide an industry leader and a great place to work.”
Mr. Pappafava passed away in 2002 at age 75, having run the business for 34 years. Prior to starting his own business, he put his chemical engineering degree from Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) to use at Teledyne Firth Sterling in the Pittsburgh area. Upon her father’s passing, Ms. Pappafava-Ray, who had been working in the business for nearly 20 years following her graduation from Carnegie Mellon, took the reins of General Carbide.
“Fifty years ago, entrepreneurship wasn’t as common as it is now,” says Ms. Pappafava-Ray. “My father put everything he had into the business, and it has worked out magnificently. One of his favorite sayings was ‘Take care of the business, and it will take care of you.’”
By reaching its Golden Anniversary, General Carbide is in exclusive company. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only 20% of all companies created in 1994 were still around 21 years later, in 2015. Based on that figure, Ms. Pappafava-Ray estimates that fewer than 10% of the companies in business today have been around for at least 50 years. Additional research conducted by the Family Business Institute reveals that only one-third of family-owned businesses survive into the second generation.
“I take tremendous pride in leading a company that has defied the odds,” says Ms. Pappafava-Ray. “By reaching this milestone, I am more determined than ever to help the company continue to thrive in the years ahead.”
General Carbide is a vertically integrated manufacturer of finished carbide tooling for a wide range of industrial wear and metal forming applications and a woman-owned business with certification from the Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). The company employs more than 200 highly-skilled professionals in its production operations and sells its products throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia.