MANSFIELD -- The Gorman-Rupp Company has been a part of James Gorman's life since 1933. That's when his father, J.C. Gorman, and his partner, Herb Rupp, sought to find their own success, despite the Great Depression.
James Gorman was only a boy at that time. He would often sweep floors and do other odd jobs for the business, but he didn't know then how much it would come to mean to him in the next eight decades.
Recently, Gorman, 94, announced his intention to step down as chairman for the company's Board of Directors. He notified Gorman-Rupp that he will not stand for re-election at the company’s 2019 annual meeting of shareholders scheduled in April, at which time his term will expire.
Gorman has served as a director of the company since 1946 and as chairman since 1989.
That's 73 years at Gorman-Rupp, and it won't be the end of his tenure. Gorman plans to continue his involvement with the company in a non-executive officer capacity.
"Yes, I want to stay involved," Gorman said. "I enjoy it. I'm one of those people who couldn't go home and sit in front of the television. I just enjoy coming to work every day."
Gorman served as a pilot in World War II and studied industrial management at The Ohio State University upon his return home.
His experience in WWII encouraged him to further his education and instilled a lifelong love of flying. In fact, Gorman met his late wife, Marjorie, while at the airport.
"One day, I was at the airport over here and a young lady came in, and I got talking to her," Gorman said. "She was a pilot, and she was flying airplanes, too. One thing led to another, and we got married."
Both their children, Jeff and Gayle, also enjoy flying. Jeff is the current president of the Gorman-Rupp Company.
"I hope the company continues to grow as it has for the past few years under the leadership of my son," said James Gorman, who was born and raised in Mansfield, and now lives in Springfield Township.
In his years at Gorman-Rupp, James Gorman has enjoyed making sales and solving problems for customers.
"One of the things I've always enjoyed is somebody presenting a problem on pumping water or something like that, and asking us to come up with a solution on how to do the job," Gorman said.
Beyond that, he says, he's done "nothing unique."
"I've just enjoyed seeing the company grow," Gorman said. "And of course, you don't do that by yourself. We've been very very fortunate in this company in having some tremendous people work here."