Tom Signor Hartness, who in 1940 founded Hartness International Inc. in Greenville South Carolina, passed away on December 3, 2009.
Known affectionately by his employees as ‘The Captain’, Hartness was a philanthropist and very active community leader, and just 10 days prior to his passing, he was at the Hartness International headquarters meeting and greeting customers.
"He was a brilliant man with a heart of gold and the mind of a giant,” says former Greenville mayor Max Heller, who served alongside Hartness on several civic projects. “He was wonderful to be around, and a wonderful person for Greenville. He was a great American. Tom was a very generous, sharing person who touched a lot of lives.”
An entrepreneur at an early age, Hartness purchased a local Pepsi-Cola bottling plant in 1940 when he was just 21-years-old in 1940. At the time, Pepsi held about a two percent share of a local market dominated by Coca-Cola, but when Hartness sold the franchise in 1982, his keen business sense had enabled Pepsi to earn a 65 per cent share of the marketplace.
“He was an innovator beyond imagination” offers current Hartness president, Bern McPheely. “He could fix anything and he knew how to make an operation run better. We’re going to miss him.”
Hartness International designs and delivers packaging solutions, including: case packers, conveyor solutions, shrink systems, laning, line monitoring, video capture, and also offers engineering and electrical control services.
To contact Hartness International, visit www.hartness.com.