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issue: May 2006 APPLIANCE Magazine

Jerry Segal of Dormont Manufacturing Company

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Jerry Segal

Growth is an important element of business for Jerry Segal of Dormont Manufacturing Company. Throughout his career, he has focused on the growth of the business and even experienced his family growing into the industry.
Segal has spent 50 years in the business and has had quite a few achievements along the way. He recently was honored with the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association’s (GAMA) Distinguished Service Award, which is presented to an individual in recognition of lifetime achievement in the industries served by GAMA and its members.
Segal was the inventor of both the stainless-steel gas appliance connector and the commercial “quick-disconnect” gas connector. He has also played an active role in the development and upgrade of gas connector industry standards and helped author the upgraded ANSI Z21.69/CAN6.16 Standard. The revisions require all gas appliances in commercial foodservice kitchens to use commercial-grade gas connectors and prohibit the use of residential-type gas connectors.
Before changing the gas appliance industry with the invention of innovative gas connectors, Segal attended the University of Pittsburgh to receive both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration.
He became the president of Dormont Manufacturing Company from 1955 to 1993. Segal held the position of chairman from 1994 until 2005, and now is currently the chairman emeritus. In this new position, Segal plans to maintain an active role in strategic planning, new product development and the advancement of codes and standards.
Segal says past experiences have taught him to utilize a well-thought, reasoned, logical approach to make important decisions. “These decisions are ideally based on fact, knowledge and experience,” he tells APPLIANCE. “It may also be valuable to consider multiple scenarios and to develop a contingency plan. I work with our management team to utilize these concepts as we successfully grow our business.”
Even with a logical approach to business, Segal has seen his share of challenges. Segal notes that in the early years of the company, Dormont developed a reputation as a manufacturer of copper replacement coils for gas water heaters. “While this represented an attractive market niche, it was clear that these products did not have a viable long-term future,” says Segal. “Armed with this knowledge, the challenge that we faced was to develop new products to survive and grow in the business.”
Other ways Segal anticipates possible challenges include working with the management by using responsible delegation and letting them run the day-to-day operations of the business. Segal believes that hiring talented people and letting them use their skills is an important leadership quality.
One example, Segal says, is his own son as over the years, Segal’s family has grown into the company. After joining the company in 1987, his son Evan became president of Dormont in 1993. “As a parent, it is a wonderful experience to work with your children in a successful business,” Segal said. “Evan’s experience outside of Dormont allowed him to grow both professionally and personally.” According to Segal, this experience allowed his son to bring new ideas that went on to create new opportunities for Dormont.
When he is not hard at work, Segal enjoys spending his spare time with wife, six children and eight grandchildren. He also takes pleasure in painting, daily walks with his dog in the park, exercising, and playing billiards.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Dormont Mfg. Co.

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