Distributor of the Year finalist profile: Weldon Parts

Providing quality products and customer experiences has been a priority at Weldon Parts since day one.

Just take a look at the name: You can’t spell well done without Weldon.

“That comes from way back when we first started,” says President Dave Settles, referring to his company’s inception by his father (Leon) and uncle (Dean) in 1955. “They wanted to build well done skids; to do a job well done.”

More than six decades and 18 locations later, it’s clear the duo’s initial message hasn’t been overlooked. While nearly everything else about the company has changed, Weldon Parts continues to thrive because the people at Weldon Parts remain committed to a job well done.

“We’ve always tried to be more a resource than just a vendor [for our customers],” says Settles, the second generation of his family to lead Weldon. “We want to be a supplier, yes, but we also want to have ongoing relationships with our customers.

“We want customers to think ‘I’m going to reach out to [Weldon Parts]’ when they have a problem.”

That’s actually what brought Weldon into the truck parts business in the first place.

Weldon Industries was originally formed as a manufacturer of metal skids used in the paper industry. Dean was the builder and Leon made the sales. But not long after opening, the brothers began receiving requests for help from customers in other areas — specifically trucking.

By the end of the decade Weldon Industries also was providing truck repair and selling parts “out the back door” in an effort to please a growing customer base. Truck parts would become the company’s dominant business not long after.

It also would lead to the company’s largest change to date — a 1975 split that saw Leon debut Weldon Parts in Oklahoma while Dean maintained control of Weldon Industries.

For more than 30 years the two businesses operated separately on parallel tracks across the Midwest. Dean and his family grew the Weldon Industries brand in Nebraska, while Leon — and later Dave, his brother Darryl and other members of the family — expanded Weldon Parts into Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and even Florida.

“We’ve been in Orlando since the mid-’70s,” Dave says.

The two businesses eventually joined back into one in 2011.

Settles credits his veteran management team for making the transition nearly seamless.

“I’m a big believer in delegating, and you can do that if you have a lot of good people,” he says. “We’ve been fortunate that over the years we’ve been able to find and keep some very good people.”

He says they’re the ones that keep the ‘well done’ spirit alive.

“Our managers and all of our people that travel, they work together as a team to promote our culture throughout the business and you have to have that,” Settles says. “You have to be consistent with your messaging.”

And it’s clear from the company’s success that they’ve done that. Once a customer comes to Weldon, they stick around.

“We have long-term customers everywhere,” Settles says. “We still have original customers that buy from us.”

The Truck Parts & Service Distributor of the Year award is sponsored by Meritor and Minimizer, and stands as the independent aftermarket’s most respected and highest honor. Top performing distributors are chosen by peers, manufacturer representatives and other industry leaders. 

The 2016 Distributor of the Year will be announced in January at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week in Las Vegas 

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