Al Mazoch began his career in the gases and welding industry working as a sales representative for Linde Air Products Company, a division of Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation in Houston, Texas. In 1963, Al decided to venture out on his own, when he began Coastal Welding Supply in Beaumont, Texas.
Nearly 60 years later, the company continues to thrive under the leadership of Al’s son, J.C. “Chuck” Mazoch. The company has grown and evolved from a single service location in Beaumont to 200 associates and 13 distribution sites located along the Gulf Coast Petrochemical and Metal Fabrication corridor of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast.
Growth and Evolution
“Coastal has always been heavily involved in the metal fabrication industries including barge construction, shipbuilding, offshore oil drilling and production platforms,” says President Chuck Mazoch. “Power generation and petrochemical plants have been an ever-evolving industry and offered us an ongoing opportunity for both pipe and structural steel fabrication welding and industrial sales growth. We have used these business platforms to build upon throughout the years. Coastal has expanded our refinery footprint to include the production of high purity petrochemical refinery gases, calibration standards, and environmental monitoring gases.”
He continues, “Our growth has always been gradual but consistent and has allowed us to provide a high-quality product and high level of customer service.”
Of the company’s 13 distribution facilities, three have been acquisitions, while the other 10 were grass root startups. And while many of the core values that Al put in place when he opened Coastal in 1963 remain today, the industry has evolved in new and exciting ways.
“In my early days, one reason I was excited to be in this field was I could see the new developments coming down the road,” Chuck says. “Technology has been an important part of the growth and development of our industry and our organization. We still set a torch and regulator the same way, and we still cut with oxygen and fuel gases, but the development of processes like plasma/laser cutting and welding are just an example of how far the technological changes have come. On the welding side, we have grown from manual stick welding to mig and sub-arc automation to the latest game changer, the introduction of welding Cobots.”
From its inception, Coastal has had a strong relationship with Linde/Praxair as its primary atmospheric gas partner.
“We have a very strong relationship with many major equipment companies like Lincoln Electric, ITW Miller Electric, ESAB, and Hypertherm Plasma,” Chuck notes. “These suppliers have all been excellent business partners by providing industry leading high-quality products, technical training, and excellent sales support. Coastal, from the beginning, has always strived to offer our customers the most current technology, highest quality products and superior service. These suppliers have always been there for us and have worked with us to maintain that level of both quality and service.”
In addition to offering the highest quality products from the most trusted brands in the industry, Coastal’s strong company culture and servant leadership have allowed it to flourish.
Six decades after its founding, Coastal continues to build on the mission and vision that Al put in place in 1963. The company’s mission statement is to, “Provide our customers with a single source for all their industrial and specialty gas requirements in a safe, timely and economical manner, while working together with our customers to build a mutually beneficial partnership.
“Al Mazoch was not just a business owner, but a cultivator, teacher, and mentor to our staff and the organization,” Chuck says. “His roots run deep in our business, and we always strive to make him proud, even though he is not with us anymore. His business philosophy is alive and well in our organization.”
He continues, “We push to be the best and always strive to finish on top. We work to be the leader and best at whatever we do. I have always worked to continue that culture, legacy, and leadership within our organization.”
For 60 years, Coastal Welding Supply has prided itself on providing its customers with in-house technical expertise and a staff of seasoned professionals in all areas of its operations. From the industrial gas sector to the industry supply sector, continuous advanced training of Coastal’s staff has allowed it to provide cutting edge products and processes to its industry partners.
Says Chuck, “We have a fine group of senior and young talent that I know will help bring us to the next level in our growth and organizational development.”
To continue that pipeline and keep the culture strong, Coastal utilizes several sources for recruiting talent.
“We have added talent from local colleges, training facilities, military centers, and the online job recruiters,” says Chuck. “We are always on the hunt for good people. They come in a multitude of skill sets but we work to help them start a career they can build upon.
In addition to Chuck, Al’s daughter, Barbara Mazoch Nelson, and her son, David Nelson, are both active at Coastal, keeping the Mazoch legacy strong within the business.
In addition to its steadfast devotion to ensuring a secure future for the company, Coastal has shown an equal devotion to ensuring the future of the industry. For more than a decade, the company has had a vision to host a one-day, annual event that would bring the local area school districts and technical school’s AG and welding instructors together to experience new advances in the industry. To recognize that vision, Coastal created the Emerging Technology in Metal Fabrication program at its Beaumont location, and partnered with national vendors for classroom information and hands on demonstrations.
Most recently, spearheaded by 19-year Coastal Sales Representative and Education Leader Louis Fontenot, Coastal took this event to its newest Corpus Christi location. Partnering with Del Mar College, more than 30 educators attended to see equipment and new applications that were not available in their schools.
Twelve different manufacturers were on campus to show off the newest equipment available and to provide a chance for teachers to learn the newest welding processes. Teachers and staff from 35 South Texas high schools as far away as the Rio Grande Valley as well as colleges from across the area were on hand for the expo. Coastal Welding Supply is proud to continue the support and awareness of the industry to educators and young welders, because, according to the company, “They are our future going forward.”
Technology and Moving Forward
“We will continue to build on our platform we have developed and look for continued growth opportunities,” says Chuck.
As automation in both the front and back office continues to grow, doing more with less has become the norm in large industries.
“The demand is placed on us to perform many of these functions or automate to do them for our customers,” says Chuck. “It’s a constant labor and computer challenge.”
And those technology demands extend beyond Coastal’s customer base to its own offices.
“I know we are missing out on some sales to the Internet shoppers,” Chuck admits. “We are working on several platforms to compete with that and regain some of that market. Our biggest drive is to make it easy to do business with us.”
Some of that drive toward Internet-use and automation was exacerbated by COVID.
“COVID was a life-changing event for our country. Many of us lost friends, loved ones, and business associates,” says Chuck. “But I don’t think any of this is permanent or a ‘new norm.’ I believe we are on the road to recovery. Every day we are transitioning back to a normal work and family environment.”
Coastal’s corporate focus on providing safe, on-time delivery of high-quality products has always fostered its corporate goal of enhanced performance for the company and its customer business partners. With a strong bedrock of corporate tenets, supplier partners, experienced associates, and a proven ability to identify trends and evolve with them, Coastal is well-positioned to ensure that its next 60 years are even more successful than the first.