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Companies need many things to thrive in fair times and survive in rough.  The beliefs, culture and policies are the roots that are formed over time.  People nurture the roots with proper attention to details while maintaining the mission of the company.  Naturally, some are better at this than others and then some are just off the charts.  To give the best the respect they deserve it shall be that they are never forgotten and their stamp on the company lasts for decades after their retirement.

While Alliance has had many employees since its inception of 1991, many are worthy of mentioning, but only the special are on this page of fame.  While work ethic, determination, the drive to get it right, loyalty and the consistency are the major prerequisites, the acid test is:

Can the history of Alliance be written without this person?


Semmie Hudson

shudsonSemmie was born in Natchitoches, Louisiana to Edith and Rev. Albert G. (“AG”) Roberson.  She grew up as proverbial preacher’s daughter remembering the lessons from her parents and elders.  After school she moved to San Francisco to settle near her some of her relatives.  She gained employment as a telephone operator, got married and had a son, Larry.  Her husband passed away unexpectedly and she decided to move to Houston to join up with the rest of her family.  By then AG had become the pastor of the Little Union Missionary Baptist Church, a title that her son would eventually carry after AG’s passing in 1995.

Upon settling in Houston, Semmie entered into the plumbing industry by working for Whites Nipple Manufacturing which was a division of Seminole Pipe & Tubular.  There she learned the art of taking an order over the phone that was 200-300 line items long under five minutes with complete accuracy.  It took an ear for detail and laser focus to dictate those orders while the buyer on the other end is talking at warp speed.  This was the 1980's version of EDI.  She excelled in that position and was then ready for management.  In 1983, a position opened up at a sales agency where she met Alliance’s president, Cary Ostera when he was in his late teens.

Their lives took temporary divergent paths, but in 1988, Mr. Ostera was at a different sales agency and Semmie was back at White’s Nipples.  The agency was struggling for inside sales talent to anchor its back office and Cary knew the person who could handle the job and called Semmie.  After some quick small talk, she playfully scolded Cary and told him how much he was going to pay here and when she can start.

As expected, she anchored down the back office, thus freeing up Cary and the sales team.  Sales grew and so did profits.  The only thing she could not fix is the mis-management of the agency owner.  In 1991, Cary, Semmie and a lead salesman of the agency, Del Stair, decided that they need to leave and form South Texas Sales Company.  They changed the name to Alliance Manufacturer Representatives, Inc. in 1998 as they expanded the territory.

Under her watch, Alliance naturally expanded and she managed every detail.  She trained all of the office staff, especially the inside sales team.  Her professionalism and magic touch won over customers at a scary rate.  She was able to take a furious customer that was angry at one of our manufacturers and convert them to a raving fan.  She then had to wean customers off her as phone calls stacked up because they only wanted Semmie.  This soon dissipated as Semmie brought the team up close to her level.

After twenty-one years of service to Alliance, Semmie decided to retire.  She did make brief appearances over a few years to cover for ladies while out on maternity leaves.  The impact that she made to Alliance has been immeasurable.  She stands as a fine example of not only what a woman can be, but a leader, counselor and a friend.


Del Stairsm stair

Born in San Antonio, Del started off his plumbing career as a plumber and worked his way to his journeyman’s license.  Soon after, he joined Moore Supply Company in Austin.  He started on the counter and worked his way to assistant manager.  In 1987, He was approached to replace Harry McGee who was a salesman for a now defunct sales agency.  This was Del’s first job working on the road making sales calls.  The hiring of Del was bungled because he was working for Moore Supply which was a major customer of the agency.  He was hired without permission and the agency received a black eye because of it.

It was there when he met Cary Ostera for the first time.  Cary was nailing down the office and Houston area accounts.  Del blossomed into one of the best field salesmen of our generation.  His plumbing knowledge gave him instant credibility and standing with the contractor base from Austin down to the Rio Grande Valley.  The other weapon that Del developed was consistency.  He developed various patterns for different regions to where customers could set a watch by him.  He only needed to set appointments on off scheduled visits.   He was insanely on time every time.

In 1991, Cary and Del launched South Texas Sales Company (renamed to Alliance in 1998) with zero lines and no 100% commitments.  Word spread and line by line they came.  Semmie Hudson also joined the duo and then the trio cemented the agency.  Cary and Del got along famously with them only having one argument.  It was month two and Cary secured an interview for a potential line to represent.  The appointment was for the next day and that disrupted Del’s route. 

Cary asked, “If we have no lines to sell, why prioritize the calls over the interview?”   Del replied, “Don’t make my schedule and one reason why we have the interview is because of the customers.”  They never had a disagreement after that.  Del had no aspirations of administration, he locked down his territory and built one hell of a territory.

Del has a love of blues music, Los Lobos, Willie and country blues.  He has spent much time becoming a professional disc golfer.  Del eventually retired in 2015 and has settled down on a quiet stretch of land in Rosanky, Texas, with his son Aaron building their compound.  Del is missed but thrilled he is enjoying retirement.