It’s not surprising that Zampell’s founder, Tom Zampell, made a name for himself into the world of refractories. Son of a professional mason, Tom spent his youth helping his father build brick and stone walls throughout the North Shore of Massachusetts. He went on to work at GE as a refractory mason, working in the on-site furnaces and foundries. After 30 years of work at GE in Lynn and time abroad in the US Army Air Corps during WWII, Tom had successfully worked his way up from apprentice bricklayer to supervisor of construction and was looking for a new challenge. In 1966, at the age of 49, Tom—with the support of his wife and family—decided to open a business doing what he knew best: refractories. Given his skill and strong work ethic, he quickly built a small, local service business doing refractories throughout the local factories, hospitals, foundries, and tanneries. Tom started the company with a vision to build a culture where the business could simply be a great place to work with great craftspeople.
In 1976, Tom’s son, Jim Zampell, joined the family business as a sales representative and helped to expand and quickly double their business in the first year. In 1981, Jim took over the role of president, while Tom remained active in the company as chairman. Jim’s contributions, vision, and innovations were integral to Zampell’s exponential growth and success today. In the face of recession in the early 1980’s, Jim pivoted Zampell in many different directions, making the business more robust through diversification, both in services performed and industries served. As a part of this growth, he also formed new companies and divisions that expanded refractory material capabilities and added completely new business lines like commercial construction, renovation, and facilities management. Keeping true to the values of the business, he innovated new profit-sharing compensation programs that unified the company for mutual success.
Brian Zampell joined the business in 2006 after completing his education in civil engineering with an MBA. After spending time in the field for several years, his sights turned overseas, and he quickly spearheaded growth into the UK and Denmark by acquiring several fellow family businesses. In 2016, Brian took over as president from his father, passing family leadership of Zampell to the third generation. Brian continued his progress in growth and acquisitions, buying more companies that would expand Zampell on the West Coast and deepen Zampell’s foothold in the UK. With the pandemic years behind us all, Brian is excited to continue to grow Zampell, ensuring that Tom Zampell’s vision will continue for years to come.
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