Bradford White Corp. announced that its chairman, A. Robert “Bob” Carnevale, has died. Carnevale was the 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. He rose through the ranks of the manufacturer 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 its manufacturing facilities located in the United States. 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 Corp. from 1991 to 2009. During this time, he spearheaded the diversification and growth of the company through the acquisitions of Niles Steel Tank, Bradford White Canada and Laars Heating Systems, as well as oversaw the company’s expansion of its Middleville, Mich., manufacturing facility.
In 2009, as part of the company’s succession plan, Carnivale relinquished his oversight of the corporation’s day-to-day operations but remained its chairman until his death.
As native Philadelphians, Carnivale and his wife, Judy, always maintained roots in the area. In 2009 they established their new home in Vero Beach and became Florida residents in 2018. He took great joy in spending time with Judy, his children and nine grandchildren, and their numerous friends.
Bob Carnivale will be remembered for his passion for classic cars and the love of his employees and the industry in which he worked for more than 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. Carnivale 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 Bob 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 and Girls Club or Crossover Mission, Vero Beach, Fla.
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 Bob Carnivale’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.