At June 10th’s Dinner on Dewey 90th Annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet, 2006 Citizen of the Year award and former American Heritage Bank CEO, Bill Berry, gave a heartwarming introduction of this year’s winners.
He said that “an entrepreneur is defined as a person who pursues a business undertaking and assumes all that work hoping for economic growth, financial security, and greater freedom for their family and associates,” and that “all successful entrepreneurs,” including the evening’s recipients, “share at least three traits: 1. Their business life will be filled with both ups and downs. 2. A strong work ethic and never ending passion for their business is required and their commitment to success is an ‘all in’ commitment. There is no ‘one foot in and one foot out.’ Without all three there is no road to success.”
Berry went on to explain that unlike in past years, this year the “recipient is not one person, but a partnership.” They had “a commitment to pursue their dream together. Their accomplishments are Sapulpa’s gain.”
Native to Muskogee County, in 1963 these partners married and moved to Sapulpa, both obtaining jobs in the area, one at Horner Box Co. in Sand Springs, and one with Sapulpa Public Schools. Both of their children were born at Bartlett Memorial Hospital and graduated from Sapulpa High School.
“In 1966 Recipient #1 entered active duty in the United States Army, serving in the Vietnam War in 1967-1968. That experience changed the lives of our recipients and to this day hanged the lives of many of us,” said Berry.
Their lives of entrepreneurship began when they purchased a small local machine shop and tool company on Hobson Street in 1970, Berry said. “In 1974, they expanded their business into the oilfield surplus reclamation and sales business. Shortly thereafter they moved from Hobson Street to the edge of town. By 1980, 41 years ago now…they expanded again; their company had grown into something much greater. Their one time dream had grown into a business that has supported up to 650 employees. This employment base is a significant asset for Sapulpa’s sales tax and property tax growth. Their product line is the product of choice throughout the United States and the remainder of North America…Today, Paragon Industries is one of the leading manufacturers of pipe in the world.”
Berry lauded the recipients, saying that they “and their business interests have supported everything good in Sapulpa. That ranges from volunteer groups, first responders, FFA, Little League, to the Route 66 Car Museum. These are all important,” said Berry, “but what would Sapulpa be without the over 250 American flag salute we enjoy each and every day along Highway 117? It is a reminder to us old folks and a lesson to our younger folks of how lucky we are to be Americans.”
He conclusively revealed the recipients’ identities by asking, “and what would Sapulpa be without the Christmas light display that adorns [their property] each and every Christmas season? It is not only beautiful, but a reflection on the values of our recipients and Paragon Industries.”
“It is my great honor to introduce this year’s Citizen of the Year recipients—Jack and Linda Wachob, accompanied by their family,” concluded Berry.
Mrs. Wachob, her son and daughter, and her grandchildren accompanied her to the podium where she accepted the prestigious award.
Mr. Jack Wachob is now semi-retired, while Mrs. Wachob has remained working full-time. Son Derek is now the CEO, continuing to lead Paragon Industries to excellence in its industry and as significant contributors to our community.