In terms of innovation, AMERICAN is raising the stakes. In the wake of several successful new product developments – including the Earthquake Joint System introduced in June this year, a redesigned 36-inch Flex-Ring Joint, and the Amarillo Fast-Grip Gasket – the company named Joshua M. Tarpy to the newly created Innovation manager position in September.
Hailing from Ohio, Tarpy is poised to help the company take innovation to the next level. He sees three keys at the center of the effort – a clear strategy, flexibility and determination. “I’ve already met enough co-workers at AMERICAN to know there are very smart and experienced people here,” Tarpy says. “My role is to facilitate the identifying, prioritizing and developing of ideas so that we can execute on those that best serve our customers.” Tarpy comes to AMERICAN from Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., an international mining and natural resources company headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, where he served as Global Marketing manager.
The Innovation manager reports to Vice President of Sales Mike O’Brien. “We are pleased to welcome Josh and excited about exploring ways to bring even more value to our existing and new customers in the water and wastewater industries,” O’Brien says. “We place a high priority on making our customers’ lives easier by meeting needs that no one else has met, and we believe Josh will help us enhance our success in that direction.” Tarpy’s efforts for now will focus on AMERICAN’s ductile iron pipe, valve and hydrant products, services, processes, markets and opportunities.
“Innovative companies have a meaningful strategy that people can easily identify with. They listen to customers, employees and market indicators to identify opportunities that position them to succeed over time.”
His innovation game plan boils down to a few essentials. “Innovative companies have a meaningful strategy that people can easily identify with,” Tarpy says. “They listen to customers, employees and market indicators to identify opportunities that position them to succeed over time. And, they are brave enough to try, and sometimes fail, on the road to success.”
“With today’s fast pace of change, successful companies know they need to anticipate change in order to maintain leadership in their industries.” Tarpy says. “A company must embrace its mission and take the necessary steps to follow it even if those are sometimes unique among its competitors. My role is to help foster a culture of strategic and agile thinking so that AMERICAN remains focused on market leadership.”
Tarpy is impressed with the resources and talent the company already devotes to innovation. “Everyone wants to see this company prosper for another 100 years, to continue John Eagan’s legacy of service to all stakeholders,” he says. “This will happen by continually evolving our products and processes so they best address current and future market requirements.”
Tarpy is busy meeting employees across all functions and locations. He sees this as the first step in developing the relationships that will become the bedrock of strategic innovation at AMERICAN. He’ll also spend time visiting and talking with AMERICAN’S ductile iron pipe, valve and hydrant customers.
“The concept of innovation is certainly not new,” Tarpy admits. “But the naming of an Innovation manager may be new territory for a traditional manufacturing company.” In his view, this is a clear signal to AMERICAN’s customers that “we’re not satisfied with the status quo. We want to continue to provide products and services of the highest caliber and stay ahead of the inevitable changes and disruptions to our industry.”
In addition to his experience at Cliffs Natural Resources, Tarpy has held positions in internal audit, risk management, business development and sales. He holds a Master of Business Administration from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ohio University.
AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company was founded in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1905. AMERICAN manufactures ductile iron pipe, spiral-welded steel pipe, fire hydrants and valves for the waterworks industry and electric-resistance-welded steel pipe for the oil and natural gas industries. AMERICAN’s diversified product line also includes static castings and high-performance fire pumps.