Andy Markowitz reflects on the past 10-years and the pride he has in the Integrity Stainless team.
When Andy Markowitz, Olympic Steel’s President of Specialty Metals, opened Integrity Stainless in 2005, his goal was to build a small brokerage and do a few million in sales. He was working on his own out of the back office of his father-in law’s architecture firm in Solon, Ohio. Andy started working in the metals industry in 1994, and wasn’t happy with the culture at his previous company. The name “Integrity Stainless” is a direct reflection of his intention to do business differently.
Says Markowitz, “I started the Company to have my own brand that was able to operate honestly and ethically in building partnerships with my customers.”
It wasn’t long before Andy invited the first three members of this team, Richie Markowitz (Andy’s brother and now a Regional Sales Manager at Integrity Stainless) and Marty Markowitz (Andy’s father and now a Sr. Inside Sales Representative for Integrity), followed not long after by Jerry Gideon (now Integrity’s General Manager). Andy had been steadily growing the business and taught his new team everything he knew. Richie, Marty and Jerry took to it quickly, and before long, Andy felt the pressure to take the business to the next level to help him provide new opportunities for his team.
Remembers Markowitz, “I was comfortable with the size of the business. We had hit $10 million in sales, and I was happy to stay steady at that pace. But, my team was ready for bigger challenges, and I wanted to keep them engaged and give them the ability to accomplish more.”
Enter Andrew Greiff, a long-time friend and colleague of Andy’s. Andrew joined Olympic Steel in 2009. When Andy shared his desire to grow his business, Andrew introduced Andy to Olympic Steel’s then Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Siegal, and President and Chief Operating Officer, David Wolfort.
The businesses were a natural fit, and the leaders began working on the acquisition process to bring Integrity Stainless into the Olympic Steel family of businesses.
By this time, Andy’s team had grown and he was more focused than ever on helping them through the transition and ensuring they all had plenty of opportunities.
Said Markowitz, “This is my family. I wanted to make sure they were taken care of.”
Andy knew his team could flourish with the resources that a public company was able to offer. Most importantly, though, Olympic Steel’s Core Values made him feel certain that this was the right partnership.
And, the rest, as they say, is history. Integrity Stainless has since gone on to multiply its business more than ten times, and new members have joined the team.
Reflecting on the past ten years, Andy is proud of many things – his team and what they’ve accomplished, their role in growing Olympic Steel’s specialty metals business and the mentorship he’s received from Olympic Steel’s leadership. He’s also appreciative of the opportunities being part of Olympic Steel has provided, including his professional and personal involvement with the Make-A-Wish Foundation® and his role on the organization’s Northeast Ohio chapter Board.
Most of all, Andy value’s the culture and environment at Olympic Steel. It’s this culture that allows Andy the ability to work with his father, Marty, on a daily basis.
Michael Siegal, former Olympic Steel CEO and current Executive Chairman, once said, “I want to build a workplace where people want to bring their friends and loved ones to work.” It’s a sentiment that resonated with Andy, and it’s one of many reasons Integrity Stainless joined the Olympic Steel family of businesses.