Air Hydro Power was "born" in September of 1961 when R. L. "Bob" Littlefield made a dream reality by starting his own business. Bob and his wife did it all: sales were made during the day and company records and correspondence were done at night, as well as the packaging of material to be delivered the next day. Inventory was stored on five shelves that were three feet wide, one foot deep, and six feet tall, and there was plenty of room on the shelves! The office was their basement. From these roots, AHP has grown to be the premier fluid power distributor in the Kentucky and southern Indiana region.
When Bob started AHP, he represented one manufacturer: Parker Hannifin. The first month's sales were $295.84. Sales for the first 12 months totaled $65,289.00. Today, the total 1961 sales are done every day.
In July of 1963 Air Hydro Power purchased the assets of the Charles Weber company, a competitor, and acquired a number of new lines:
ATC, Norgren, and Veeder Root (now Danaher Controls). Bob hired his first employee: Art Hackmiller joined the organization. AHP was incorporated with two major stockholders: Bob as the majority holder. With the incorporation of the company, it was moved from Bob's basement to 4400 Bishop Lane. Art's and Bob's office was a 12-foot square and they shared inventory space with an International Harvester tractor distributor.
In 1965, AHP became the third Vickers distributor in the USA. This provided a tremendous boost to the company, since Vickers at that time owned the hydraulics market. From 1965 to the early 1980's AHP grew nicely, primarily in the hydraulic area due to the dominance of Vickers.
On February 21, 1983, Air Hydro Power, Inc. acquired Marlatt Controls, Inc., a competitor based in Louisville (Marlatt Controls was originally Neff Kentucky operation that Harry Neff, Jr. sold to Chuck Marlatt, Sr.). As with the first purchase, we also acquired a number of new product lines and some valuable employees. This acquisition turned AHP into a truly balanced hydraulic and pneumatic distributor: some of the major lines that came with this company were MAC Valves, PHD, Tolomatic and Bimba.
Another milestone was reached on March 27, 1987, when the Louisville office moved into its own building. The new facility at 3405 Robards Court increased our space to 21, 000 square feet.
Branches were added in Lexington in 1971, Henderson in 1981, Bowling Green in 1991, Parker Store (Louisville) in 1998, and Parker Store (Elizabethtown) in 1999. In 1999 the Bowling Green operation was moved to Glasgow and another Parker Store was opened.
In September of 1998, Art Hackmiller retired and sold the company to three of its managers: J. Richard Beaven, Thomas F. McGuire and Matthew W. Ott.
In addition to purchasing Air Hydro Power, a complete hydraulic repair facility was also acquire. This operation is Premier Hydraulic Services that has over 20 employees and has a complete machine shop, 2 hydraulic test stands, and field service capabilities.
The owners are all Kentucky natives. Dick started with AHP Louisville in April 1974 as Shipping Clerk. When he got promoted in February 1976, another Shipping Clerk was hired: Matt Ott. Dick moved to Henderson in 1981 and started a branch operation. Matt worked his way up through the internal structure of AHP. Tom McGuire joined AHP in January 1992 as Sales Manager. The MOB (McGuire, Ott, Beaven) are extremely active in daily operations, playing upon each others strengths to grow our operations.
Our goal is to continue the growth and success of the company by adhering to long standing company policies of excellence and customer satisfaction, while changing as needed to meet the demands of our customers.
The only way to attain our goals is with great people: people that care and gain enjoyment out of a job well done. People that like taking care of customers. People that like to have fun where they work. It is dedicated employees that have brought us to where we are, and when combined with great customers, it is truly a "Win-Win".
Strategic acquisitions have been important to the company: in January 2004, Louisville Metal Hose was acquired to expand the company offering in the industrial hose and belting area. Along with the products came an experienced team of sales and support specialists that know this industry. In March 2008, Mosier Fluid Power of Kentucky was acquired. This helped strengthen our breadth of products for the electrical and controls market, especially supporting the Japanese automotive market segment. Air Hydro Power is changing and adapting daily to meet the needs of customers.
In 2009, AHP expanded to Alabama with a branch opening in Montgomery, Alabama. In 2015, a branch was opened in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2016, AHP acquired Total Hose with two locations in Decatur and Huntsville, Alabama. Air Hydro Power also acquired Hose House in Corbin, Kentucky in 2016 making that AHP's twelfth location and totaling 190 employees.