By Kecia Bal
The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The is the amazing story of a Pennsylvania couple who next year, will celebrate 55 years of marriage and 40 years as entrepreneurs and chief operating officers. Their multi million dollar company has grown from a single septic pump truck (that the couple bought to clean mud from Johnstown basements after a flood back in 77′) to a 160,000-square foot facility to manufacture industrial vacuum equipment. For women in business who may work with their husbands or partners their story is an inspiration.
By July 1977, Gary and Rose Poborsky were in a fix.
They had five children all squeezed into a single-wide mobile home in Salix.
Over the previous decade, Gary had left his engineering studies to support a growing family, including a son with spina bifida. Then he’d left a laborer position at the Gautier Division of Bethlehem Steel Corp. to pursue a career in sales, peddling everything from soaps and cleaning supplies to a video advertising machine. But the summer of 1977 was trying, and Gary had lost his job as a farm equipment sales rep.
“However low you can go in life — whatever the bottom rung is for you — basically that’s where we were,” Rose said. “The only place we could go was up. You don’t aspire to be a millionaire when you have nothing. You just aspire to have a good day, to make a living, to have things a little better.”That’s where we started.”
Then, the flood hit Johnstown.
In the days of grimy disaster cleanup that followed, Rose was leaving her job in fast food for the day, headed to downtown Johnstown to help, when she thought she spotted her husband drive past in a septic pump truck from the farm equipment manufacturer.