Waukesha-Pearce Industries (WPI), the Houston, Texas-headquartered supplier of products and services to the gas compression industry, is marking its 95th year of operation this year.
The company was founded in 1924 as the Portable Rig Co., by Louis Pearce Sr., who saw opportunity in the Texas oil boom. The company became the Texas distributor of Waukesha engines in 1933 and opened its first branch operation in Greggton, Texas, the same year.
In 1934, Louis Pearce Jr. joined his father, and the duo soon opened additional branches in Dallas, Wichita Falls, Corpus Christi and Odessa, Texas, and New Iberia and Shreveport, La. In 1944, the company ceased its drill rig manufacturing operations and incorporated itself as Waukesha Sales & Service, Inc.
When the energy sector lagged in the 1950s, WPI diversified its portfolio and formed the Pearce Equipment Co. to market and service construction machinery. A third generation of the Pearce family, current president Louis M. Pearce III, joined the family business in 1962 and in 1967 Waukesha-Pearce Industries, Inc. was formed as a merger between Waukesha Sales & Service and Pearce Equipment Co. Diversification continued, as today WPI markets Waukesha and GE Transportation engines for power generation and Generac power generation systems, along with a range of earthmoving and mining equipment from manufacturers such as Bomag, Gradall, Takeuchi and Komatsu, and recycling equipment from suppliers that include Sennebogen and Komatsu.
“Time and again when others failed, we prospered,” said Louis Pearce IV, WPI’s OEM business development manager. “We attribute this to our continuing ability to innovate and boldly predict future market trends, strong work ethic and culture. Innovation helps a business keep up with constantly changing times, especially in this era of technology and research. And, WPI has never shied away from embracing change in form of new ideas and technologies.”