By Stephanie Matas
Harold Armstrong began his career over 40 years ago, as an accountant. He then went on to sales, entering the fittings industry. After educating himself further through technical publications and magazines, he found a passion for PVF. He learned that a manufacturer’s representative was as important as a sales team, and as he enjoyed all aspects of his past work, he decided to venture out on his own.
Starting out with just a typewriter and an investment of USD $3, his company now employs 32 people, combining over 200 years of PVF industry experience. Harold has seen challenging years and overcome many obstacles, but it has all advanced his knowledge and furthered his position as a well-respected expert in the field. His deep involvement with social issues affecting the greater PVF community have exponentially expanded as he continues to push forward, gaining more attention, traction, and funding for worthy causes.
Scholarships & Funding
Many universities are not aware of its students’ struggles, financially or otherwise, that may arise during their education. Organizations such as the PVF Roundtable Scholarship Foundation help students overcome financial barriers and support the future of the industry.
The PVF Roundtable scholarships began as endowment programs at the University of Houston and Texas A&M University, by awarding students within the PVF field. After several fundings through the universities and many success stories, the programs developed into a scholarship. It has since grown to now include seven schools and cover other PVF-related fields of study.
The programs use the scholarship funding for tuition, fees, and supplies for students. It also has recently expanded through the Current Use Scholarship funds program to include Houston Community College, Lee College, San Jacinto College, as well as Larmar Tech in Beaumont, TX, and Associated Building Contractors program in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, LA to encourage students to follow through with their studies.
There is also a tremendous need for raising funds and awareness for food pantries across the United States. Harold saw the need firsthand while visiting college campuses to bring awareness to the PVF industry and its scholarship fund. He came face to face with students struggling with hunger who while learning and training for a new career, often had to sacrifice food to pay for their books and education.
He and the PVF Roundtable stepped in to show how the industry supports the trades — in both body and mind. With the creation of the PVF Stock the Pantry fund, contributions are donated directly to help stock the food supply to those college campuses and trade schools that are helping to foster the care and direction of future PVF leaders.
Importance of Training
Armstrong’s passion for helping to guide, mentor, and make a difference in the PVF industry are sincere. He closely monitors how the funds are used and aligns the PVF Roundtable with trade schools and programs that meet and keep the obligations. The programs’ direct impact on student lives is unmistakable, and as such Harold is constantly on the scene of the campuses to offer lectures, advice, and feedback to them. Inducted into the PVF Hall of Fame last year for his dedicated efforts both in and out of the field, Harold exemplifies what it means to do it all, then give it all back. “When you meet the students, they are just incredible,” he said. “America is in good hands. All we have to do is educate and train them.”
Armstrong has seen people age out of the industry, and highlights that as one of the reasons the PVF Roundtable board is so important. Bridging the knowledge gap between new, potential engineers and tradesmen, and those approaching retirement is imperative to solidify the industry’s continued success in the future.
Join Harold at Valve World Americas
Events like the Valve World Americas Expo & Conference offer attendees a glimpse of what the industrial community has to offer emerging students, that is why attendance is complimentary to all students in related industry programs. Harold looks forward to sharing his insights on the PVF industry, what scholarship opportunities the PVF Roundtable offers for students, and how companies can further support their communities through social initiatives at the event this October.