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.
In 1937, Reese William Warner and a friend opened a small plumbing business called Warner and 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.
The business name became R.W. Warner Plumbing and 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.
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.
By the mid-1980s, 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 and 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.
In 1988, Bill’s son, Matt Warner, started working for the family business full time after earning his Business and Finance degree from Mount St. Mary’s. 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 cutting-edge. By 1998, the transition to the third generation was complete, with Matt being named as CEO.