I visited Indiana Oxygen to film our fourth episode of the We Supply America campaign. As I walked the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (home of the Indy 500) with Wally Brant—the owner of Indiana Oxygen—I was struck by the way he talked about the company’s mission. He said that the company’s mission is to support the employees, and the family culture that exists at Indiana Oxygen exists to support the “family” of employees. We had one of those chicken-or-the-egg conversations, and Brant pointed out that the workplace operates like an ecosystem. Everything exists to support the other elements of the system.
Gary Halter, president of the company, has put that ecosystem into practice in the operations of Indiana Oxygen. He amplifies the mindset of finishing strong—a reference to the Indy 500 drivers (the company’s logo includes the checkered flag of the famous speedway). Finishing strong means recognizing your potential and going for it. It means coming together to create solutions that help customers succeed. And, for leadership, it includes ensuring that their employees have what they need to excel and support their families.
It’s been a few weeks since the episode aired, and plenty more since I was on-site filming, and I wanted to catch up with Gary to hear how things had progressed on their end.
Dirk Beveridge: What compelled you to be a part of We Supply America?
Gary Halter: First of all, I’ve been following you for three or four years. I get emails from you, and I’ve read some of your articles. When COVID-19 hit, some of the things you put out there really hit home for me. Especially the comments about coming out stronger on the other side—they resonated with me. You put a program together called “Power Together,” and I got a tremendous amount out of it.
And I liked you, that’s all there is to it. If we lived in the same city, I think we would probably be friends.
DB: What was your experience like while filming?
GH: I was spearheading the process, and it was very busy. I wanted to make sure that those being interviewed were ready to go, I wanted you and your crew to be comfortable.
But it all played out really well. Our people did a good job of representing the goals of We Supply America. So it was a good experience.
DB: Do you have any stories or takeaways from the filming?
GH: Our employees watched the episode, and it hit home for them. There were some wet eyes in the group, and people enjoyed it. We are grateful you were here and grateful for the world of Wholesale—you do a great job championing that goal.
Our people were fired up.
DB: Do you think the episode accurately depicted you and your team?
GH: Yeah, I think there were a couple of people who would have liked some more air time, haha, of course. But overall, I think it did and everyone was in lockstep during filming.
It was very encouraging to me, too. Even though we have weaknesses and areas we can improve—it tells me our communication through COVID has been solid.
DB: How has being part of We Supply America impacted you and your team?
GH: I think when it comes to teamwork it just increased our people’s understanding of what a team is all about. One of the things I said a couple of times is how grateful we are to be working with our people and for our company. Our people care about each other, our owners care about us, and the people care about our ownership. I think We Supply America really captured that and drove that point home.
DB: How have things been going since the filming and since the airing of the episode?
GH: Because of our video, other distributors watched it and wanted to be a part of We Supply America. From a report card standpoint, other distributors wanting to do what we did, shows how impactful the episode was. It’s been great.
DB: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
GH: I think you definitely have an impact on people. We got to know you, you were vulnerable and easy to talk to, and you understood our world.
I also want to say: For those about to rock, we salute you.
You have to love Gary’s passion for wholesale distribution—and for AC/DC. We joked about AC/DC and their catchphrase at the beginning of the Indiana Oxygen episode. Check out the episode and a bonus interview with Wally Brant to hear more about the legacy of this 100+-year-old company and how they drive profits as a means to serve their employees, customers, and the community.