Springfield, MO

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2014 40 Under 40 Honoree: John DeLong

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John “J.W.” DeLong isn’t just an executive of his father’s 20-year-old plumbing company. The way he sees it, he is the company.

“I do not feel I am just the president of DeLong Plumbing; I feel it is my honor to be DeLong Plumbing,” he says. “I am not focused on the title, but on getting the jobs that need to be accomplished done in such a manner that I would be proud to put my name to it.”

He supports his staff by not only being focused on treating them with respect, but also by rolling up his sleeves where he can, whether that means cleaning the parking lot or using his skills as a set designer to build a booth for the local Home Builders Association trade show.  

DeLong joined the family business in 2002 and five years later, he was named vice president of operations. In 2012, DeLong stepped in as president when his father became ill and retired.

“It is not easy to become the boss to a group of people who have known you since you were 10 years old,” DeLong says. “We have all worked hard to continue increasing the company’s integrity and success and have not lost any profit, even in an uneasy economy.”

In the position, he restructured the business to bring key personnel into leadership roles and revamp job descriptions.

“We have been able to streamline our business as a whole, having more open lines of communication,” DeLong says. “I am proud of my father’s legacy and proud of what we are all continuing to contribute to that legacy.”

He’s also put a focus on attending a variety of trade shows to promote the company as well as taking advantage of everyday networking opportunities.

For the past eight years, DeLong has been a member of the Business Networking International’s Springfield Business Connection group.

“I am a true believer in Business Networking International and work hard to follow and enforce all BNI rules. I also work to recruit new members,” he says. “I have made lifelong friendships, as well as business connections.”

Since 2009, DeLong has worked to better the community as a member of the Springfield Sertoma Club.

“It is a great service organization that provides funding for the Boys & Girls Clubs. I have led by example by being a faithful contributor and working many events, including Wingapalooza, Chili Cookoff and Cashew Craze,” DeLong says.

DeLong says he strives to help others when able. In 2011, he helped Chad Adams and Mark Donnell start a manufacturing company called Mag-Grips, which makes rubberized grips for specialized weapons.

“We are now manufacturing more than 10 different products and are now able to sell to nationwide distributors.”[[In-content Ad]]


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