A family affair

  • Whipps Inc. in Athol. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/3/2018 10:48:16 PM
Modified: 5/3/2018 10:48:28 PM

Whipps Inc., founded in 1977 by George and Pauline Whipps, has been a leader in the production of water control gates across the country for years, and although Pauline died a few years ago and George died in February, their original vision for Whipps lives on.

President Ron Niedzwiecki called George Whipps an innovator and said Whipps Inc. plans to continue to uphold his vision for the company moving forward.

This past year, the company expanded its local Athol facility with a 15,000-square-foot addition for manufacturing space. Niedzwiecki said the company also brought in new cranes and minor equipment, along with the added space.

But this isn’t the first time the company has expanded. In 2000, Whipps moved out of its original production facility at 38 South Main St. in Athol to its current location at 370 South Athol Road.

Though Whipps sells its products worldwide, including in Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong, the company’s roots have been in Athol all these years, and even employs multiple generations of the Whipps family to various positions throughout the company.

Elizabeth Whipps, George’s and Pauline’s daughter, is the chief financial officer of the company. Her two daughters, Isabelle Johnson, a human resources assistant, and Olivia Johnson, an accounting assistant, all work for the company. And her son, Derek Lewis, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, works with the company’s engineering team.

Tim Clark, George and Pauline’s son, is the director of manufacturing. His son, Sam Clark, works in replacement parts ordering, while Susannah Whipps, their daughter, juggles the job of contract manager and state representative for the Second Franklin District. Richard Adams, their grandson, is the director of sales.

According to Niedzwiecki, Whipps currently employs around 70 to 80 people. The company has a western sales office in Oregon and an engineering office in Florida. About 90 percent of Whipp’s business is in North America, said Niedzwiecki. Last year was also a success for the company in terms of shipments, he said – the company’s second-best year in the category.

In August 2016, the television series, “How It’s Made,” visited Whipps in Athol to learn more about how its products are made. The series takes a peek behind the scenes at how everyday products are manufactured. The episode first aired in October 2017, investigating the science behind floodgates, and is available on the Science Channel’s website.

Niedzwiecki said the company had an exceptional first-quarter sales this year, and hopes to continue the trend. Though a local company run by Whipps relatives, the company’s reach continues to grow outside its small hometown.


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