Appellation Pre-Fab: An entrepreneur’s success

William Emick worked in the gas industry his whole life as a welder and worked his way up to building his own company, Appellation Pre-Fab. His success recently awarded him the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Business of the Year award.

Appellation Pre-Fab a piping fabrication manufacturing company, was started in 2009. The company installs pipes in gas wells, so natural gas can be transported. Pennsylvania is a big gas area, and is a hub to store natural gas for parts of the east coast. The pipes that Appellation Pre-Fab installs, collect the gas from the wells to filter and clean it before it is transported to market. After a long planning process, the company sends workers out to the well to install the pipes, said Emick.

After working in the field as a welder for 28 years, Emick decided it was time to build his own company. He knew the gas industry was going to remain in the area for a long time and knew he had contacts in the gas industry to get started, so he took a leap of faith.

“I knew the business from the ground up,” said Emick

When he decided to start Appellation Pre-Fab, he did not apply for any loans from the state or federal government. Instead, he saved up $300,000 of his own money to pay for the lawyers and paperwork that was needed to start the business. His cousin then co-signed a construction loan with him. He went out to different gas companies and used his connections to get contracts for the company. From there, Appellation Pre-Fab was in business, said Emick.

Starting his own company did have its struggles for Emick. At age 39 he went to college and enrolled in the Pennsylvania of Technology Welding Engineering program. While in school he had to learn computers, algebra and much more. When he started Appellation Pre-Fab he had to learn how to do taxes, workers compensation, banking insurance etc.

“I didn’t take too many construction management courses. What I learned on how to run a company and build a company, was day-to-day learning, asking questions and calling people,” Emick said, “There are so many aspects to owning a company that most people have no idea how much paperwork and other factors are involved.”

While hiring employers at Appellation Pre-Fab, he made it a priority to have a staff that knew the gas industry as well as he did. He employed many people that worked alongside him when he was a welder, and made it a priority to hire people who had a lot of experience in the field.

“I know what their capabilities are,” said Emick.

Most of his employees come out of the union hulls, but he does offer a helper program for people who have some mechanical skills and wants to be a laborer in the industry. The helper program allows the potential employee work alongside long-term union members, through a trial program, and learn the gas industry hands on. Through the program the helpers are able to try to get into the Union, said Emick.

“Most of the time they really like the work and they like the money,” said Emick, “It takes years and years to figure out how to do this type of piping.”

Emick believes that having faith in the Lord is his key to a successful business.

“If I didn’t have faith in the Lord, I wouldn’t have made it this far.” Emick said.