Harley Davis Webb, Jr. (1926-2005)
Founder of Webb Builders Hardware, Inc – dba WBH Industries
Harley Davis Webb Jr. was born on February 15, 1926 in Waxahachie, TX , was reared in Houston, TX and graduated High School in 1942. After graduating, he entered Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. Serving in the U.S. Armed Forces from 1943-1946 interrupted his college years. After fulfilling his commitments to the U.S. Armed forces and his country, he reentered the school of business administration at Texas Christian University, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in commerce in 1948. He was also active in the community and acted as president of the Fort Worth Optimist Club.
A short time after he graduated, he and another partner purchased the assets of Builders Hardware. The business was incorporated into Henderson and Webb, Inc. Harley was in charge of administration and the financial details of the business. In late 1955, he sold his interest and went into business for himself.
This was the beginning of his legacy. On March 1, 1956, Webb Builders Hardware Inc. in Fort Worth was opened and established as a corporation. The company handled a complete line of builder’s hardware, such as kitchen cabinets, bathroom accessories, door locks, and hinges, along with equipment retail. The company also featured a line of cast aluminum hardware, such as doorstops, window locks and coat & hat hooks. Builder’s supplies were carried for both residential and commercial buildings on a wholesale basis.
Around 1962, Harley moved his operation from Fort Worth to Arlington, which was the center of the greater DFW Metroplex. The growth of the company spawned branch locations in Houston, Washington D.C. and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Al Khobar, Rlyadh and Jeddah. The Saudi Arabia business was large enough that a West Germany branch office was opened in the late 70’s.
On the weekend of December 13, 1987, WBH had a 5-alarm fire that completely destroyed the corporate headquarters in Arlington, burning the building all the way down to the concrete slab. This fire, however, did not impede the operations of WBH. The operation moved to a temporary location and by noon December 28th, every employee had a desk and a telephone – with full operational capacity restored except for the computer system. With the heroic efforts of some key people in the organization, a new computer system went online at 2:45am January 11, 1988. Harley had a love and a passion for the business and was not going to let it be destroyed by a fire. The rebuild of WBH Industries corporate headquarters, on the existing slab, was completed on May 10, 1988.
After many years of long days, working 7 days a week, Harley decided to sell the company in 1991. He then served as a consultant, giving him more time to spend with his bride of many years. After he lost his wife in May 1993, and after learning that the company was in financial distress, he decided to buy back the company in 1994. At the time of purchase, the company became known as Webb Builders Hardware, Inc, dba WBH Industries. Harley had no doubt in his mind that he could breathe life back into WBH Industries. With Harley’s passion, zeal and leadership, the company recovered and is a well known, financially sound company in the industry today.
And through these doors, a number of future project managers were born as a result of his training and leadership.
Harley D. Webb Jr., His Legacy Lives On……