When Jack Powell and Dick Franck bought a tiny Seattle oil and coal distribution company, Harry Truman was president, and the city was living through the coldest January in its history.
The year was 1950 and the two friends and fraternity brothers had recently graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in business.
To decide who would hold the official title of president for the first year, the two played a game of gin rummy. Powell- who still has the same deck of cards-won. Each year, they took turns holding the title. As the only two employees, Jack and Dick performed every function from running the business to making sales calls to delivering oil.
Jack and Dick were not only business partners, but also lifelong friends. They enjoyed working together for many years until Dick's passing in 2004.
Sixty years later, the two partners have grown Sound Oil into Seattle's largest, completely specialized heating oil company. Many of their customers have remained with Sound Oil over the last six decades.
Jack attributes Sound Oil's staying power to its loyal employees and its unwavering support of their clients.
But the backbone of the company was the partnership of Powell and Franck and the continued ownership and involvement of their two families. Dick's son Jim has taken over his responsibilities in the business, and Jack's daughter Marilyn is now President of Sound Oil.