George F. Burke and his son Robert “Bob” Burke founded Burke Agency in 1975. George was a veteran of the industry, having worked for Church Seats as a Regional Sales Manager based in Atlanta, and for Olsonite Seats in Detroit as Director of Sales. Bob was a product manager at BrassCraft Manufacturing, also based in Detroit. The original name of their new rep agency was “Burke Associates”, with Rosemary Burke’s kitchen table serving as their office. Their first lines were Olsonite Seats, Red-White Valve, and Delta Faucet Company.
The agency grew quickly and soon had 11 employees. BrassCraft Manufacturing, Bradford White Water Heaters, and Charlotte Pipe & Foundry hired the firm in the early 1980’s, now known as Burke Agency, Inc. And in 1988, Woodford Manufacturing and Watco Bath Wastes joined their line card. More recently, Burke Agency was very proud to announce that Milwaukee Power Tool and InSinkErator joined Burke Agency in 2018. Today Burke Agency has 22 employees working out of two offices. They represent leading manufacturers that offer products to the residential and commercial plumbing markets, decorative showroom market, and also the hydronic industry.
George Burke retired in 1989, after a successful career spanning 4 decades. The agency was purchased by his sons, John and Brian Burke, who are the agency principals today.
Olsonite Seat rep meeting in 1968. George F. Burke is standing in the back row, center. He was the Director of Sales for Olsonite Seat before becoming their Michigan rep in 1970.