Bradford White Corp. announced the passing of its chairman A. Robert “Bob” Carnevale. Carnevale was a visionary leader who saw the opportunity to create a water heater manufacturer that would stay true to industry professionals and remain steadfast in its commitment to U.S. manufacturing — a philosophy that remains the cornerstone of today’s Bradford White.
Carnevale began his Bradford White career in 1961, shortly after serving in the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division in Bamberg, Germany. He started with the company as an inside order entry clerk while completing his education in a night school program at Penn State University. Carnevale rose through the ranks of
Bradford White by immersing himself in all aspects of the business, including sales, engineering, manufacturing, and finance. Eventually attaining the positions of executive vice president and then chief operating officer, Carnevale, along with a small group of his colleagues, saw the opportunity to buy a portion of Bradford White from its then-parent company to set the foundation for his goal of creating an American-owned, wholesale-only water heater company with manufacturing facilities in the U.S. His dream was ultimately realized in 1992.
Carnevale, or “Mr. C” as he was known by many in his Bradford White family, served as chairman, president, and CEO of Bradford White from 1991 to 2009, during which time he spearheaded the diversification and growth of the company through the acquisitions of Niles Steel Tank, Bradford White Canada, and Laars Heating Systems, and his oversight of the company’s expansion of its Middleville, Michigan, manufacturing facility. In 2009, as part of the company’s succession plan, Carnevale relinquished his oversight of the corporation’s day-to-day operations, but remained Bradford White’s chairman until his passing.
As native Philadelphians, Carnevale and his wife, Judy, always maintained roots in the area. In 2009, they established their new home in Vero Beach and became Florida residents last year. He took great joy in spending time with his wife, his children, his nine grandchildren, and their numerous friends. Carnevale will be remembered for his passion for classic cars and the love of his employees and the industry in which he worked for well over 50 years. Most of all, he will be remembered for his spirit of giving, as he always asked those he knew to help those less fortunate. Carnevale and his family are ardent supporters of the Boys & Girls Club of America as well as many other regional charities.
A private family service will be held for Carnevale, and his family asks that in honor of his spirit of giving, friends please consider a blood donation to help others in need or donations to one of his favorite charities: the Wissahickon Valley Boys & Girls Club or Crossover Mission in Vero Beach, Florida. Those wishing to send their condolences may do so by sending them to the Carnevale Family, c/o Bradford White Corp., 725 Talamore Drive, Ambler, PA 19002.
A celebration of Carnevale’s life is being planned for May of this year in the Philadelphia area. Details will be released as plans for the celebration are finalized.