At Compco, Employees Are Family

COLUMBIANA – Compco Industries, based in Columbiana, is a fourth-generation family business with seven members, representing three generations, involved in running the company.

Clarence Smith Sr. founded the company in 1954.

Smith got an early introduction to the business world, beginning when he was 10 years old. A homeless orphan in Youngstown, he was taken in by a grocer and became his apprentice.

The young Smith spent his days learning the business, sleeping in the basement of the shop at night.

Within 10 years, he founded his first business, Diamond Steel Construction.

Years later, he and partner Martin Poshner created Compco Metal Products to fill a need in the metal pipe hanger market. Before long, they recognized an opportunity in manufacturing tank heads.

As the company grew, so did its competencies. It branched out into a variety of stamping, cutting, welding, assembly and fabrication services.

Compco has dozens of employees and three plants in Columbiana County. And the Smith family’s practice of putting people and customers above all else has remained constant.

“We care deeply for our employees and strive for everyone to find opportunities for continuous improvement,” says Greg Smith, third-generation board chairman. “Communication is the key to our success through the years and now.”

Pictured: Clarence R. Smith Jr. and Rose Marie Smith, center, are the second generation to operate Compco. Standing with them are Greg Smith, Rick and Christy Kamperman, Gwen Smith-Darnell, Gail Smith, Brad Smith, Kim and Tom Varley.