T&S Brass: Committed to Sustainability and Employees

High standards for both their product and employees makes T&S Brass a highly sought-after company, both as a producer of food service and plumbing products and as an employer.

The T&S legacy began in the mid-1940s in a small Long Island, NY garage. Sixty-eight years later, T&S has blossomed into a company that calls Travelers Rest home.

In 1947, brothers-in-law George Theisen and Carl Spatt began their venture manufacturing plumbing products, including a pre-rinse unit—a product that has become an industry standard equipment in all foodservice operations. By the late 1970s, the company had expanded significantly and decided to headquarter their facility in Travelers Rest, SC. Today, they have 260 employees worldwide, with facilities in California, Shanghai, and Holland.

The T&S founders were ahead of their time in terms of pioneering sustainability practices and environmental safety in the manufacturing process. In a world of disposable products, T&S is determined to build an enduring product. Clay White, VP of Manufacturing, said, “We have customers still using products that are 25 years old.”

Keeping material out of landfills has always been a priority of T&S. “Although the green movement has been around for a few years, T&S began its commitment to sustainability long ago with our attitude,” White said. “George Theisen was very aware of the environment and the effects that we all have on the planet. His attitude set the standard many years before it was popular.”

T&S has been awarded the Compliance Excellency Award eight times by Renewable Water Resources (ReWa), an Upstate South Carolina waste water-treatment facility. The award recognizes T&S for being an outstanding industrial environmental steward in its manufacturing process and by demonstrating exceptional compliance with environmental regulations.

T&S takes green-mindedness a step further: All of their products are comprised of 98–99% recycled materials. Brass and bronze are the primary materials used in T&S products. The company works with their material suppliers to assist them in the recycle chain. Sending the brass and bronze chips and scrap back to the original vendor allows for more control of the recycling process. White said, “We could buy cheaper brass with a less consistent make-up, but would not be able to certify our products to meet the high standards required in our markets.”

T&S doesn’t just take pride in their products, but they also hold their employees in high regard. T&S believes their work force is their most valuable asset. Mary Alice Bowers, VP of Human Resources, said, “We have great people at T&S. Turnover is low because the family atmosphere permeates the culture. We enjoy working together and share a lot of respect for each other.”

Last fall T&S launched the “T&S Faces” campaign. The campaign provides the opportunity to get to know the many different individuals responsible for T&S’s legendary “Reliability Built In” reputation. Jayne Ferrer, public relations consultant for T&S, said the campaign was a huge success. “It’s generated tons of positive comments and employee interaction, doubled our Facebook followers, and even won an award in a national PR competition,” Ferrer said.

Positions at T&S are much sought after, especially with employee satisfaction being one of the most impressive in the state. Current employees nearing their 40th anniversary with the company still sing its praises:

Loretta Beacham with Human Resources said, “T&S is a good company with excellent benefits; they’re well known and respected for their involvement throughout the Travelers Rest community. Everyone is treated like family, with everyone being on a first name basis."

Earleen Center, a receptionist said, “T & S took care of me during seasons of medical needs. Since the very beginning, the owners have made us feel like family; they know everyone by name. We are a big family of dedicated and loyal employees.”

Earlier this year, T&S was recognized by IndustryWeek Magazine as one of the best plants in North America. This honor not only rewarded T&S on their production of high-quality products, but also their ongoing loyalty to their staff.

T&S embraces its extended family. Bowers said a strong camaraderie exists amongst employees, which may explain the low turnover at the company. “We ‘do life’ together,” Bowers said. “We celebrate achievements and support one another through difficult seasons. T&S is a very human company where individuals are celebrated.”

Article by Deb Peluso