Trinity Products – St. Louis, Missouri, USA

November 30, 2023

Trinity Products

Forging the Path to Supply Chain Dominance


Steel, service, and expansion spark a triumphant tale of company evolution at Trinity Products.

It’s widely known that companies embracing the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) structure in the competitive steel industry face unique hurdles.

In an industry characterized by fluctuating market conditions, price volatility, and operational complexities, sustaining profitability and nurturing growth is no easy feat. Despite such turbulent conditions, some players in this field remain at the top of their game and excel beyond their industry peers.

Rooted within the rugged St. Louis metro area of Missouri, Trinity Products has cemented its role as a leading participant of the local steel enterprise proving to the competition that its innovative strategies and resilient approaches are what ultimately set it apart from the crowd.

The company firmly exclaims to its competitors that this is how to navigate corporate obstacles while ensuring equitable benefits for employee-owners.

Forty-Four Years of Focused Culture

Trinity Products has already achieved what many in its sector strive to accomplish as an ESOP enterprise.

While some other companies exist with a small handful of primary shareholders outside its employee ownership structure, Trinity exists as a 100% owned company.

This is the quintessential position that every ESOP hopes to be in.

This can be attributed to the strong focus of Trinity’s company direction, steel, a lane it has dominated for the last forty-four years.

Founded in 1979 by Robert Griggs, Trinity Products built its foundation primarily as a steel broker that would buy and sell the resources but never possess them as inventory.

The growth that resulted from such a singular strategy allowed them to expand their corporate territory into the realm of distribution and then later manufacturing. However, regardless of their advancement, they worked strictly with steel, only opting to vary in product type instead of material. This resulted in them becoming producers of steel pipes, plates, and hot-rolled steel sheets.

Bryan Davis, President and CEO

Current President and CEO Bryan Davis succinctly captures the company journey with a few words: “We’re in the steel business, and that’s it. That’s all we do.”

A Win-Win Approach to Company Transformation

Though Trinity remained steadfast in its chosen industry, Robert Griggs was still open to shifting the company structure. After 40 years in business, at 68, Griggs sought his liquidity event, pondering how he could retire and exit the prolific scene he’d created while preserving the prosperity he’d created.

He initially looked into selling it within the M&E (media and entertainment) market; however, he backed out once he realized the loss of autonomy such a choice would bring.

Griggs had spent years working hard on the company’s employee environment. However, once sold, he would have very little say in the direction of the company culture.

After receiving counsel from a few associates who had chosen the ESOP route and a thorough investigation by Davis and other key Trinity employees, it became clear that the employee ownership structure was the solution for everyone.

This marked the beginning of the company’s transformation into what it is today. The first step was a drastic shift in communication, where, in 2001, Trinity became an open-book management company.

“We share all financial information with all of our employees,” Davis explains, “when that information isn’t known, employees think things are far better or worse than they actually are. So, our approach was to share all the information and tell everyone where we’re actually at.”

The newly open communication practices were then paired with a company profit-sharing plan, in which employees were candidly told to think and act like owners because 20% of the company’s profits would go into that plan.

Since then, Trinity’s company culture has comfortably shaped itself around this policy. Every month, all employees expect to see financial statements and have a chance to discuss the company’s activity.

Even better, the policy evolved over the years to one of not just transparency but also accountability.

In 2010, Trinity began a process called C.O.S.I., the Cycle of Success Institute, a process where upper management engages employees on a personal level as it relates to workplace challenges.

Davis explains the logic well, saying, “Our mindset, as managers, is: who’s going to know what needs to be fixed more than the person actually doing the job?”

This way, the employees feel empowered to point out weaknesses that need to be addressed, and those employees who present solutions are then further empowered to take charge of a group of people who, together with management, can begin taking steps to fix the problem.

The resulting impact of this is widespread accountability at all levels. This, coupled with years of employees adopting the ownership mindset, has allowed Trinity an organic progression into the fully worked-owned position it rests in today.

The Guiding Principles of Progression

Trinity Products has four guiding principles.

First and foremost, the company “boss” is the customer. Secondly, the company must take care of its employees, something made evident by the C.O.S.I. process. Thirdly, Trinity strongly embraces the concept of continuous improvement. Lastly, all expenses must be tightly controlled.

Together, these principles are tied with a single golden rule that serves as the philosophy behind Trinity’s distinguished quality of service.

Davis reveals this by stating, “Our business is built on service… and I think we’re seeing more these days where customer service is just disappearing. I don’t think it’s very hard to distinguish yourself if you live by the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated.”

This logic permeates every relationship that they maintain as a company. For example, their marketing approach is always based on knowledge of who their customers are–mainly the heavy civil construction market–and their immediate needs.

They know what projects the “boss” is working on, so Trinity’s only job is to become the fastest, most convenient solution.

Even when it comes to its equipment and commodity supplies, like PRD, Cargill, Steel Dynamics, NLMK–Novolipetsk Steel, JSW Steel, and Evraz, Trinity has made it a point to retain long-term relationships of deep loyalty between itself and its key providers.

Davis described these companies, some of which Trinity has partnered with for over fifteen years, as the “lifeblood” of the company.

A Glimpse into Cutting-Edge Company Practice

With its expansion into the distribution and manufacturing of steel plates, sheets, and coils already underway, Trinity has laid out an aggressive five-year growth strategy.

Two key components of that are the rapid development of the company sales department as well as an expansion of infrastructure, both of which are already in motion.

“We have currently added four warehouse locations [and] we’re certainly looking to add more as [more] real estate opportunities present themselves,” Davis says as he points out that such an expansion would allow Trinity to increase its product offerings.

However, with the additional space comes the risks of overstocking and stockouts. So, to avoid a scenario where it either purchases more than it can sell or less than it needs to sell, Trinity is currently partnering with the University of Missouri Business School.

The project involves the use of AI to both analyze customer demand and predict supply trends based on historical data and larger motions within the market, but that’s all Davis was willing to reveal about the exciting new venture.

Additionally, due to the price volatility between the pre-COVID and current steel markets, Trinity is negotiating closely with its most trusted suppliers–like PRD and Evraz–to optimize its inventory management and maximize its returns.

These challenging negotiations are where Trinity’s long-term loyal relationships truly serve the company, according to Davis, who says, “While [the] conditions might not be exactly what we’re looking for, at least we’re getting honest, truthful information.”

With such trustworthy suppliers, the company can comfortably explore a multitude of inventory management techniques, such as Just-in-Time, Economic Order Quantity (EOQ), and Lean inventory management, to ensure that it gets the highest rate of return that it can.

“Our goal is to hit between four and six turns on our inventory every year, and we’re employing every strategy that we can in order to achieve that,” Davis explains.

This multi-faceted plan of attack involving innovative technology, honest negotiation, and pin-point inventory management will certainly position Trinity to continue its dominant run within the steel market for years to come.

It comes as no surprise, seeing as how the company was recognized as the Tube and Pipe Producer of the Year by American Metal Markets in 2019.

When the results of what it currently has in the works start to bear fruit, it would be no surprise to hear that the company has once again been recognized for its impeccable industry performance.

One thing is certain: Trinity Products is evolving at a rate faster than most, and it doesn’t intend to stop.

While competitors may deviate from their core offerings in an attempt to gain market share, Trinity will continue to walk a focused path to victory forged in steel.

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Trinity Products

What: A dominant player in the steel industry, exemplifying ESOP success through unwavering dedication to steel, strategic growth, and a culture of employee ownership.

Where: St. Louis, Missouri, USA



Pacific Roller Die Company –

Being specialized in the SWP Mill and Down Stream Equipment we are ready and in pursue of new challenges in the market with our customers such as Trinity whom have already decided with their Mill upgrade to better serve in the market.

We are very much proud of having customers whom are cooperating with us to shape our challenges in Mill design and create a new era for the SW Pipe Manufacturing.

National Flatbed Solutions –

Aegis Trust Company, LLC –


November 2023 Issue of Business View Magazine

November 2023

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