The second-generation owner and operator recognized as a changemaker and a community builder in Savannah.
(SAVANNAH, Ga.) The Wholesaler Magazine, a trade publication from PHCPPros covering the plumbing, heating, cooling and piping industry for professional engineers, distributors and contractors, named Chat Howard Jr., President of Savannah-based Sandpiper Supply, as the 2022 “Person of the Year.”
According to the “Person of the Year” article, Howard Jr. was an apparent choice because of his principles, which rest on a foundation of faith and servant leadership, that guide Howard Jr.’s calling to help others in both their professional and personal lives. Howard Jr. also demonstrates leadership skills that encourage and support others in the local community and the overall health of the PHCP industry.
“I would like to thank The Wholesaler Magazine, PHCPPros, and the industry leaders that noticed a family-owned company in a small market and took the time to highlight what we stand for and what we are trying to accomplish,” Howard Jr. said. “We hope this award will stand as a challenge to our industry to get back to being the pillars of the community.”
Howard Jr. also serves as president of the Southern Wholesalers Association. At the organization’s annual convention earlier this year, he delivered a standout speech detailing his involvement in the industry and the Association. The defining theme was gratitude, from the opportunity to serve his peers and colleagues, to the experience of maintaining a family business that his father started in 1977.
A Savannah native, Howard Jr. grew up working in the business started by his parents. “It was my daycare, my after-school job and my summer job throughout my childhood,” Howard Jr. describes. After graduating from Benedictine Military School in 1992, he attended The Citadel and graduated in 1996. After starting his career in software sales, he worked in the Charleston area for another company that designed software for nonprofits.
“I was fascinated by the culture of giving and the companies we were helping,” Howard Jr. explains. “I worked my way up the ladder and became a consultant, and I was able to visit nonprofit organizations around the world. I was amazed to see the work they were accomplishing.”
However, his dream of being an entrepreneur was still a priority for Howard Jr. who sought advice from his dad. Little did Howard Jr. know, but Howard Sr. was trying to sell the family business and the recent sale had fallen through. Howard Jr. told his dad that before the company went back on the market, he wanted to come back home and look at the opportunity.
He rejoined Sandpiper Supply in 2002 and focused on servicing their fiercely loyal customer base by listening to their challenges and responding with solutions. This helped the company thrive, despite the effect of big box stores and chain wholesalers on smaller family operations, and Howard Jr. eventually assumed the role of President in 2018 before taking ownership in 2021.
Along the way, Howard Jr. has built a company culture based on a healthy workplace environment, community building, and maintaining and cultivating new talent in the industry. He takes this commitment seriously and his actions have now been recognized by a national audience with The Wholesaler Magazine Person of the Year award. In response, Howard Jr. encourages his fellow industry leaders to get involved however they can.
Howard Jr. continued, “Take the time to slow down and look at the world around you. What is your legacy going to be? Are you going to be remembered as someone who was pretty good at selling toilets or are you going to be remembered as someone who truly made a difference? If you have the talent, means, time or skills to make the world a better place, stop waiting and go make a difference.”
For more information on the award, read the PHCPPros announcement article.