Posted by Matt Register

We spoke to Henry Salem, President of Remington Valve, while at ValveWorld Americas in Houston, about the valve business and designing for critical applications.

Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.


Matt Register: Hey Guys, welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio. We are down here at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Valve World America’s Expo and Conference 2017. Valves are a big part of the economy here in Texas. In fact they have a piece of almost every industry within Texas has some valves associated with it. We’re here learning all about it and we have some great guests that are going to tell you all about the valve industry. I’m your host Matt Register, Jay Curry had to step out for a minute. In the co-host chair is my business partner George Walden. George, talk to me.

George Walden: Well, I’m excited about this episode. We’re going to talk about technology. In fact we’re talking about a technology for severe use applications and ball valves. That’s fascinating to me and I actually heard the term inline repairable when we were discussing this and that’s a term I’ve never heard before. So, I’m anxious to learn more about this process.

Matt Register: Yeah. No, no doubt. Guys, go ahead and get in touch with us 844-814-8144 is our 24 hour call in line. 24 hours. That means call in right now, call in later, call in at 3 o’clock in the morning, doesn’t really matter to us. We’re going to get the experts in here to get your questions answered. We’re going to jump right into it. Remington Valve is here at the show. We’re bringing you the best of Valve World America’s today. Remington Valve and Henry Salem who’s the president of Remington Valve. Henry welcome to the show.

Henry Salem: Thank you very much.

Matt Register: So, tell me a little bit about Remington Valve. What do you do? Who do you do it to?

Henry Salem: Remington Valve is a 6 year old company, that I started back in 2011, and we manufacture metal seated ball valves for severe service applications. So in your industries like; your mining industry, your petrochemical industry, your chemical and power generation industries, they have severe applications. Whether it be steam, corrosion, erosion, those processes need a valve to turn off and on that process and a metal sealed ball valve is what handles that.

Matt Register: Well, not only do they need a valve, I mean a lot of things need a valve. Right? But they need a valve that isn’t going to melt with the heat. That isn’t going to corrode with the stuff that’s going through it. If you’re watching from Texasbusinessradio.com, looking at video, we have one right here. Now the, the, the better mousetrap side of this, not only is this able to handle some of the heat, some of the pressure, some of the weird materials going through it, corrosive materials going through it. But it’s also repairable. Right? So, being somebody that’s, that’s a machine shop guy, right? I got to appreciate, you know, looking at this valve and seeing the ends that may get damaged, may have to get cut off. Right?

Henry Salem: Well, there’s no cutting in this valve and that saves the industry money. OK. So, traditionally when a valve fails you have to.. a welded valve, you have to cut it out. Take the whole valve out put a new valve in and weld it all back in. And that sometimes includes stress relieving. With this valve, you don’t have to do that. You can simply remove the center section. This whole thing comes up and you replace the ball and seat set and put it back in line. And it takes a fraction of the time and it’s safer method of doing things. And it justifies the cost because you do not have to cut out these in connects. Usually that cost is about six to ten thousand dollars each valve.

Matt Register: No. Understanding. What that means is, that you’re not actually buying.. you’re buying the valve once, you can use it multiple times. Right?

Henry Salem: Exactly.

Matt Register: You can replace the end. Talk to me a little bit about how that design came about because that’s not something that’s actually been in the market.

Henry Salem: It has not. So, you know, I’ve been building metal seated ball valves for over 20 years. My design engineer has been doing it for over 18 years and my salesman has been doing it for another 18 years. So we have a lot of years experience in the industry.

Matt Register: Sure.

Henry Salem: So we’re sitting around thinking about, what the industry needs. And that is inline repairable metals seated ball valve to handle the high pressures and temperatures that they, they, you know, turn on and off about. So, we said “well how do we do that”? Well there’s several options; you could put gray lock ends on the end and take the whole valve out and repair it. But we wanted to get away from that. We wanted to give the customers something that they could weld in, leave in and have many, many options of changing trim sets, changing upstream or downstream in connects. Any of that stuff, while leaving the valves in and repairing it inline. And so, we look at the gaskets that were out there in the industry as, as we speak and we said if we did this one modification to this gasket, then it will not leak through thermal cycling. We made that modification, tested the gaskets in live service and came up with a winner.

Matt Register: God Bless America.

Henry Salem: God Bless America. That’s right.

Matt Register: Well, I tell you what, growing up we used to tell customers all the time, when I had my shop. You can have it fast. You can have it cheap. You can have it good. Pick two. Right?

Henry Salem: Right.

Matt Register: And so we we’re talking during the break that one of the things you guys do is you are a quick turnaround shop. You need somebody that can get on a project. Somebody has something that breaks, you can jump on it, you can get them back up and running, you can get that company back, that process plant turn, you know, moving again. Talk to me a little bit about your thought process and how that came about.

Henry Salem: So Matt, in, in, where we’re located in south Houston, in a, in a 10 mile diameter, I have over 100 machine shops. Okay? Generally family owned businesses.

Matt Register: Sure.

Henry Salem: The guys have been doing machining for years and years. I know what materials I want in, in my valve.

Matt Register: Sure.

Henry Salem: So, I buy those materials and I can get them within a day. OK? I can send this to five different qualified shops, that I have and some of them may not be as busy and they can turn this material within a few days.

Matt Register: Sure.

Henry Salem: Okay? Then I can get the coding done. I can process the entire valve, including the lapping and coding within a few short weeks and that’s what the industry needs. So if a Valero Coker goes down, they can get a coker valve out of me within three or four weeks. The other companies in the industry are filled with red tape. We are a lean manufacturing company. We are a lean office. We have to be that because it’s all of our own funds involved in this company. So I can’t go out there and hire the highest price people in the industry. But I do have the experience. I do have the qualifications and the qualified machine shops to turn it around.

Matt Register: Well and I tell you what. That’s something that a lot of people don’t realize, that as a smaller company, as a none billion dollar company. Right? There are times that you can run laps around those guys. Just because, you know, before they check their email, you’ve already got the material ordered, already, already moving down the line.

Henry Salem: Exactly.

Matt Register: Tell, talk to me about when you open your company. 2011 is not very long ago. Talk to me about how that process started because you haven’t always been a valve guy. Right?

Henry Salem: Well, no, I haven’t. Back in 1998, I was working for a law firm put myself through school. My uncle, who worked at a valve manufacturing company called me up and said “hey would you like to come be inside sales over here”? So I said “Sure, why not”. I’m in an engineering field. I’ll take that job. Worked for that company for over 10 years. Ended up being general manager of that company and then started another company for a, here in Houston, for a group of investors. And I stayed with that company for three years. We took sales way up charts. And I finally decided OK, I’m going to open up my own company. And in October of 2011 I did just that. It was myself, my engineer and a few guys in the shop. We made a couple of valves for GE and I actually put those together in my garage at my house. They worked fine. They’re still in service today. So not to worry. But my next project was 1.2 million dollar project from Occidental Chemical, out on the west coast. Occidental Petroleum. I supplied over five hundred valves to Occidental Petroleum. In their Lost Hills production facility and that put us on the map and that financed the business for, to where it is today. OK. So we made a hefty profit. We were able to put some money in the bank and we started out, I’d say with bearskins and knives. And now we’ve got a little bit we’re on our side

Matt Register: Well, that’s one. And I tell you what, I love stories where somebody identifies a gap in the market.

Henry Salem: Yeah.

Matt Register: Right? They, they, they build a better mousetrap.

Henry Salem: Yes.

Matt Register: And over time that better mousetrap starts becoming accepted as an industry standard. Right?

Henry Salem: Brand recognition, brand recognition.

Matt Register: Now everybody knows, everybody that listen to this show has known what oldfield has done over the last couple of years. Right? I mean Houston has been, I think bloodbath was the economic term somebody used for it. Right? But you guys are continuing to grow and you’re growing by taking market share. Right?

Henry Salem: Market share and the power generation industry and also in the refining industry. Yes.

Matt Register: Wonderful! Henry Salem, president and CEO of Remington Valve, out of Houston. Thank you very much for joining us.

Henry Salem: Thank you Matt.

Matt Register: Now, easiest way to get in touch with you, should somebody want to.

Henry Salem: 832-413-4400.

Matt Register: All right. And that’s Remingtonvalve.com. Guys, as always, don’t take notes. We’re going to have links to everybody we’re talking to. Thank you very much for joining us, Henry.

Henry Salem: Thank you.

Matt Register: And we do have a couple of bills. We’re going to go to a quick break. We’re going to be back with more of the best of Valve World America’s 2017. Here at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Don’t go anywhere.

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About the Author
Matt Register

Matt Register

In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.

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