Bard Manufacturing Co. has reached its 100th anniversary as a fourth-generation, family-owned manufacturer of heating and cooling products.
Since Dale Bard founded the company in 1914 in his hometown of Bryan, OH, the company has grown from a small heating and plumbing contracting business into a world-wide supplier of wall-mounted heating and cooling equipment for the classroom, telecommunications, modular building, and light commercial markets.
“Today Bard represents the ethics of a century gone-by,” said Paul Quigley, vice president of sales and marketing, “and is poised with the resolve and fortitude that will carry the company forward for many more generations.”
Current fourth-generation family members involved in the management of the business include Bill Steel, president and CEO; Scott Bard, vice president of sales administration; and Pam Bard Steel, marketing communications and president of the Bard Family Foundation.
Dale Bard patented his first oil furnace design in the 1930’s. Like many manufacturers in the early 1940’s, Bard Manufacturing retooled its production capabilities to aid the war effort, manufacturing specialty items like steel bullets, tank parts, and B-29 Bomber controls. In 1944, a fire completely destroyed the Bard facility while Dale was in a coma suffering from a debilitating stroke. The company founder ultimately passed away never knowing that his factory had been burned to the ground.
Randolph Bard’s decision to rebuild his father’s company after the fire became the first of many strategic decisions that would lead Bard Manufacturing into the future. Introducing its first air conditioner in 1961, engineers would soon expand the offering to include wall-mount air conditioners and heat pumps, which continues to represent the company’s primary product offering to this day. A full line of residential products would continue to be offered until the late 1990’s, when the company made the strategic decision to exit the general residential market and focus resources on its growing commercial markets.
To celebrate its centennial, Bard Manufacturing selected a two-word 100th anniversary theme dedicated to all those who have been a part of the milestone. The company says “With You” reflects the appreciation for the loyal distributors that make sure customers have Bard products where and when they need it, the dedicated suppliers who jump through hoops to help the company meet production deadlines, and the communities that have supported its three production facilities over the years.
“Of course, the most important ‘you’ of the ‘With You’ theme is dedicated to our employees that go about their day-to-day business as if their family name is on the building,” said Bill Steel. “The term ‘family business’ is often a misnomer, and there would be no Bard Manufacturing today if it weren’t for the dedicated effort, insight, and leadership of all our non-family employees.”