About Tampa Armature Works
TAW’s history has been based on a long tradition of service and excellence, with a single-minded focus on the customer by a group of loyal and dedicated employees at all levels. This formula continues to work as well today as it did 100 years ago and will ensure a bright future for our TAW family
From humble beginnings, James Arthur Turner, Sr. starts the company
Tampa Armature Works, Inc. (TAW) was founded in 1921 by James Arthur Turner, Sr. (Arthur). He left school after the seventh grade and took the train to Jacksonville, Florida. He went by steamboat down the St. Johns River to Sanford and then onto Lakeland, where he began working as a meter reader and lineman for Lakeland Light and Water Company.
In 1915, Arthur went to work in the electric shop of the American Agricultural Chemical Company in Pierce, where he repaired electric motors. As he was learning his trade, he also began developing an idea for opening his own motor repair and rewind shop. In those early days, local phosphate mining companies maintained their own electric motor repair shops and spare motor inventories at great expense. In 1919, Arthur moved his family to Tampa and went to work for the Electric Motor Company as a Shop Foreman.
In 1921, Arthur, along with two partners who were bought out in later years, started Tampa Armature Works, Inc. (TAW). The company’s principal business was rewinding motors, and Arthur was the original driver salesman for the company.
Business starts booming
One day in late 1931, Arthur and his partners were sitting in the office. They were down to their last $25, with no work in sight, and “fixin’ to quit.” A woman from the Salvation Army came into the office and asked them for a donation. They gave her their last $25. An hour later, the Florida Asphalt Block Paving Plant in Pinellas burned down. They gave TAW a $24,000 order to rebuild their motors and rewire the plant. Regarding the Salvation Army gift, Arthur said “I’ve felt it might have been the wind that blew the tree in the right direction.”
By 1932, TAW had 15 to 18 employees. “That year, we did $48,000 in gross business, but not one man was fired,” said Arthur. “We said to the employees that the pay would be slim, and if another job opening came along, you better take it. But if you want to stay, we’ll spread the money as far as we can. We spread the money we had where it was most needed. If one man’s insurance premium came due, or if one had to make a mortgage payment, the rest of us pulled our belts a little tighter. We divided what we had.”
In 1943, the company grossed $500,000 and then grossed its first million in 1946. The most rapid increase in the business came in the mid-fifties, along with the industrial and population growth throughout Florida. On its 40th Anniversary year in 1961, TAW grossed $6 million.
James Arthur Turner, Jr. grows the company
In 1965, James Arthur Turner, Jr. (Jake) took over as President. Jake was a “hands-on” manager, not afraid to make decisions. He continued managing the company with a strong emphasis on family-style morale. Jake had a demanding heart of gold, a sense of fairness, and was very caring. It would not be unusual for him to show up in the middle of the night to bring food to a crew working on a rush job. He was a great salesman and was committed one hundred percent to our customers. His dedication to the customer was defined in his motto that TAW was “Industry’s Friend.”
In 1975, Jake expanded operational capacity by building the current Tampa Service Center. He invested in the newest state-of-the-art equipment and increased shop quality and productivity through technology. He refocused the business by selling, consolidating, buying, or expanding operations. Jake formally retired in 1988, but he will always be a part of TAW.
J. Arthur Turner, III & Caroline E. Turner lead TAW into the 21st century
In 1988, J. Arthur Turner, III (Bubba) accepted the leadership role of the company. He has successfully taken TAW into today’s complex corporate business climate. He has firmly established and maintained TAW as the largest, independent, and privately held industrial service business in the United States within our industry.
Bubba’s legacy continues to be one of growth through business development and acquisition and building on TAW’s tradition of establishing a “family of service companies.” Throughout the years, some of these additions have been TAW Technical Field Services, Inc., TAW Orlando Service Center, TAW Miami Service Center. In addition, TAW Power Systems added locations in Mobile, Alabama, and Florida locations including Fort Myers, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Pompano, and Tampa.
"If there is one reoccurring theme throughout TAW, it is the genuine desire to please the customers."
In 2017, Caroline E. Turner officially joined TAW as the Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. In 2021, through years of hard work and success, TAW has developed into a full Turnkey Solutions company that engineers solutions for the supply, control, and use of energy for our customers; and we support them every step of the way.
TAW®, Your Ultimate Power Partner
TAW is an industrial equipment distribution and service company headquartered in Riverview, FL, that is committed to quality and reliability. We seek out and apply the latest technologies and best practices to provide our customers with products and services that are more dependable than that of our competitors.
Our worldwide customer base is as diverse as the solutions we provide to them. TAW serves customers in a wide range of industries including but not limited to:
- Commercial Property
- Data Centers
- Entertainment, Amusement and Theme Parks
- Food and Beverage
- High-Rise Buildings
- Industrial Plants and Mills
- Metals and Mining
- Military and Defense
- Municipalities and Government
- Pulp and Paper
- Water and Waste Water
Although our customers’ needs are diverse, they all share one commonality – the need for long-term engineering-driven power solutions from a company that will support them every step of the way. Our employees made up of credentialed engineers, technicians, and mechanics all work collectively to find solutions to complex questions for some of our customers’ most significant challenges.