During times of life-changing transition, the saying "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" can be somewhat of an anthem — but not so for Steve Goulette. He knew what he had, and he still wanted something more.
Over his 25-year career working in the hydraulic hose and fitting manufacturing industry, Goulette had held positions ranging from design engineer to manager of training and development to division manager. Having seen the business from all angles, Goulette had a broad understanding of its operation and decided to use that knowledge to follow his entrepreneurial dreams.
"Like many entrepreneurs, I had a vision and a passion to strike out on my own," said Goulette, 48. "Owning a business had been my goal for a number of years, but I wanted to be sure the concept I chose would not only employ my past experience but provide a needed service to the community."
Goulette's early research led him to PIRTEK, a hydraulic hose replacement company that picked up where his former employers left off. After meeting with company representatives, Goulette and his wife, Kathleen, decided to relocate from their home in Illinois to Jacksonville to open their own PIRTEK operation. They began servicing the greater Jacksonville area from their offices at 6000 Phillips Hwy.
"Moving halfway across the country for a job is a deal-breaker for some, but for me the opportunity was just too great to pass up," said Goulette. "Jacksonville is a growing area and a desirable location for many people to live and work. PIRTEK's brand recognition is particularly strong in Florida, and businesses that would benefit make the potential for growth very exciting."
PIRTEK offers a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week hose service to a range of industries including construction, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, and engineering, among others. PIRTEK vans carry the component parts necessary to manufacture hose assemblies on site, and hose and fittings can also be purchased over the counter at PIRTEK's national network of service centers that serve as home bases to its mobile fleet. There are nearly 40 PIRTEK service centers nationwide and over 170 PIRTEK mobile service vans serving major metropolitan markets throughout the country.
PIRTEK was founded 25 years ago in Australia, and franchise owners now operate more than 300 service centers and 1,500 mobile service vans in 13 countries. The company plans to open eight additional service centers in 2008, increasing to 16 in 2009, and Goulette notes that he would like to play a role in that expansion by opening a second location within five years.
He also hopes that his actions will empower more people to realize their goals in business ownership.
"What I represent is the dream of a lot of people," he said. "They work a good share of their lives and have successful careers.
"But instead of riding that wave out to retirement," he added, "I have parted with the safety net and started over."