History of a Family Business
Since 1937, the Warner name has been synonymous with value, quality and integrity. Now into its third generation of family ownership, R. W. Warner remains committed to our core values and ensuring that the needs of our customers and clients are our first priority. We are exceptionally proud to share the story of our heritage with you!
1937 A Family Business is Born
In 1937, Reese William Warner and a friend opened a small plumbing business called Warner & Winpigler, which they ran out of the Warner home. The company “headquarters” was his kitchen table, with his wife Mary Jo handling the books. Finding ample work modernizing homes with indoor plumbing and heating systems, they expanded to a shop on South Market Street. Following World War II, R.W. began working for some of the area’s first post‐war housing projects.
1951 A New Name and a New Face
The business name became R.W. Warner Plumbing & Heating in the early 1950s, and R.W.’s young son began working for the company while in high school. In 1960, R.W., Jr. joined the family business full‐time and the company moved to 5th Street. “Bill” was particularly interested in pursuing commercial, industrial and government contracts; the firm continued to grow in that direction, incorporating in 1966.
1973 The Second Generation Takes the Reins
Bill took over as president in 1973, and R.W. became chairman of the board. By following his father’s unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction, the enterprise continued its expansion and moved to its current location on Monroe Avenue. Although he retired from daily business operations in the mid‐1980s, R.W. continued to serve on the board of directors, and was also appointed to the Maryland State Plumbing Board by the Governor.
1986 Smart Growth
By the mid‐1980’s, R. W. Warner, Inc. had established itself as one of the pre‐eminent mechanical contracting companies in the region. Recognizing the value of being able to offer a total mechanical package, Bill elected to grow through acquisition, and in 1986 purchased a long‐time subcontractor to the company, Kaempf & Harris, a sheet metal fabrication and installation company. With the ability to control the entire mechanical package from fabrication through installation, the company continued to expand its services to many of the regions most prominent general contractors.
1998 A Third Generation of Quality
In 1988, Bill’s son, Matt Warner, started working for the family business full time following his graduation from Mt. Saint Mary’s with a Business and Finance degree. Matt learned the ropes as a project manager, and quickly worked his way up to general manager of R.W. Warner. “One of the reasons our company has succeeded across generations was the relationship my father and I had in the business,” explains Bill. “He always allowed me to move forward and be creative. Now I’m doing this with Matt as he assumes responsibility for the day‐to‐day operations.” Matt has been instrumental in furthering the company’s growth, having established Warner Construction in 1993 to support the mechanical division, and ensuring the company’s technology remains cuttng edge. By 1998, the transition to the third generation was complete, with Matt being named as CEO.