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ISCO Industries Turns 50
HDPE becomes key product
The focus of the company changed in 1975 when Kirchdorfer, Sr. was approached by Phillips Petroleum to become a municipal distributor for a new product called Driscopipe, a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe. He immediately recognized the potential of the product for applications such as sewer sliplining, force main sewers and stream crossings for water lines. That same year, the company began distributing McElroy Manufacturing fusion equipment.
“Irrigation Supply sold its first Driscopipe project to the Quicksand Water District in Clayhole, KY,” Jimmy Kirchdorfer says. “In this rural Kentucky town, 175 residents and a school were without city drinking water because there was no suitable pipe available at the time to cross Troublesome Creek. Previously, the only water at these residences came from wells. Troublesome Creek had banks about 14-feet high and sloped sharply downward to a flat river bottom about 100-feet wide, and consisted of primarily sand. To make matters worse, the creek flooded every spring carrying trees and other debris down the river in a destructive fury.
“The town used six-inch PVC pipe to bring the water from the city supply to the creek and installed another main from the creek to the outlying district. The water district was puzzled as to how they could cross the creek. My father and Jim Fletcher [a Phillips representative] heard about the problem and recommended a solution. They installed 228 feet of six-inch Driscopipe across the creek. Its flexibility and ductility allowed for a successful completion.”
Irrigation Supply later supplied hundreds of miles of Driscopipe in the late 1970s for various municipal projects.
A critical year for ISCO was 1980. With the success of Drisopipe sales and a still robust irrigation business, Kirchdorfer, Sr. made the decision to phase out the commodity products that a typical municipal supply house carried. He hired Fletcher as a salesperson dedicated solely to the sales of Driscopipe. The company also expanded sales into the industrial market and opened a fabrication plant dedicated to manufacturing HDPE fittings.
Reflecting on his 32 years of service at ISCO, Fletcher, who now serves as vice president of customer relations, remarks that he “enjoyed every minute of it. It’s been a great time and a great part of my life.”