Judith A. Smith
2012 Outstanding Entrepreneur
Smithco Engineering Inc. doubled in value and became one of the top woman-owned companies in while Judith A. “Judy” Smith was at the helm. Smith is the retired owner, chairwoman and CEO of Tulsa-based Smithco, a leading designer and fabricator of heat exchangers.
She joined Smithco’s financial department in the 1980s after her husband, Roy H. Smith, Jr., purchased Smithco in 1978 from his uncle Orville L. Smith, who founded the company in 1952. Roy Smith, a 1956 petroleum engineering graduate of The University of Tulsa, had been working at the company for many years, having started out as a young trainee. Judy and Roy looked to the future for the company and explored growth opportunities together.
As a result, Judy launched Metal Services, Inc., a structural steel fabricator company in 1990. A year later, she established Transit Services, Inc., an inter- and intra-state flatbed heavy haul trucking company. That same year, Judy and Roy purchased Amercool Manufacturing, Inc., of Tyler, Texas. It was later moved to Tulsa as a part of the Smithco expansion of the compressor packaging industry. Tragically, after a 12-year bout with cancer, Roy passed away in 1998.
Judy Smith persevered and focused herself more than ever on the growth and well-being of her companies. Driven by a business philosophy that valued human capital, she committed to providing employees a safe work environment and opportunities for advancement. In return, Smith expected loyalty and a high-level of performance from her employees, some of whom have been with Smithco for more than 45 years.
Smith’s vision and business acumen led to Smithco ranking No. 6 in Oklahoma and No. 84 in the country on the Diversity Business lists of Top Women-Owned Companies between 2005 and 2007. Upon her retirement in 2007, she established Smithco Investments, LLC, in Tulsa, a real estate management and investment company.
Smith has served on the Boards of Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Charity Horse Show, St. Philip Neri Newman Center on The University of Tulsa campus and the Bishop’s Board of the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Tuition Assistance Trust. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the Indian Nations Council of Boy Scouts of America and was president of the council from 2006 to 2007, being the first female president of a Boy Scout council in Oklahoma. Raised in Tulsa, Smith is a 1963 business graduate of Northeastern State University and attended The University of Tulsa for graduate work in psychology. She has four children, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren.