Q&A with UCI Sales Reps, Patrick and Kevin Abernethy of ABCO


May 9, 2016

Amy Szymanski, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at United Controls International (UCI), recently interviewed UCI Sales Reps (South and Southeastern regions), Patrick and Kevin Abernethy of ABCO.

Tell me a little about your company, ABCO, and how you became involved in the nuclear power industry.

Patrick: “Our Mom and Dad started ABCO in 1985, and we remain a true family owned and operated company.”

Kevin: “Patrick and I grew up with ABCO. From an early age we traveled with my father on sales calls and met principals as well as customers. If we wanted to spend time with Dad, often times the best way to do so was to work with him and travel with him. Therefore, from the formative years until present day we have had a working knowledge of our principals, customers, and how to best service their needs. So, being at ABCO is a natural fit for us.”

Patrick: “I started working at ABCO in 2001, right after I graduated from college. In a very short period of time, I found great fascination and interest in Nuclear power. As time has evolved, I have the same level of intrigue and am optimistic about the future Nuclear power has moving forward.”

How did you become involved with UCI?

Kevin: “We have known UCI by reputation for a period of years. Steve Mcelhanon, Director of Sales, and my father worked together 40 plus years ago on commissioning nuclear plants. However, our formal involvement as UCI sales reps started about two years ago.”

Describe your experiences with UCI.

Patrick: “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with UCI. The quality and character of the employees are noticed immediately.”

Kevin: “I agree. UCI has a lot of smart people working together in a cooperative culture. Professionally speaking, that type of environment is becoming fewer and far between. I do believe leadership is from the top down, and the President, Rob Hale, as well as Vice President, Luis Sanchez, have been fantastic in promoting a cooperative internal culture while simultaneously supporting our initiatives. But, the entire UCI team is talented, responsive, and innovative. We believe UCI and ABCO are well positioned for mutual future growth.”

Speaking of growth, what would you say sets UCI apart from its competition and positions it for future growth?

Patrick: “UCI has certainly placed an emphasis on growing the business – we have seen both organic growth as well as strategic partnerships that have an extremely bright future.”

Kevin: “Some of the key UCI characteristics that will enable future growth are that it is privately held, retains good people (who have developed industry expertise), and is focused on providing its customers better service with each new job. UCI does not have to answer to a “mother ship” or navigate a complex corporate bureaucracy in order to make decisions. It consistently responds to emergent utility needs with excellent results and at competitive pricing. As pressure on nuclear plants continues to increase to “do more with less”, UCI is a no brainer option.”

How in touch are you with the plants you represent?

Patrick: “ABCO has been in business for just over 30 years.  Although we have relationships that go back many years, it is an interesting time in the industry, and we are meeting new people every day at the plants. We believe in visiting the sites routinely and have found meeting in person is preferred when possible.”

Kevin: “Patrick and I are very close to the southeastern utilities. We both have relationships at the plant site as well as within the corporate structure. Often times the critical path to success starts with finding the correct person to contact. Fortunately, we have some good people, with whom we have worked for several years, who have been willing to help us get in front of the right people at the appropriate time.”

Any closing comments regarding ABCO’s relationship with UCI?

Patrick: “Again, I can’t say enough about the culture UCI has created.  We thoroughly enjoy working with UCI and value our working and personal relationship. We see strong growth moving forward.”


United Controls International is located in Norcross, Georgia, and has been supplying dedication and qualification services to the nuclear power industry for the last 40 years. Their Quality Assurance program meets the requirements of NQA-1, 10 CFR 50 Appendix B, and ISO 9001.

For more information on UCI, visit or call 770-496-1406.


ABCO is a second generation manufacturers’ agency incorporated in 1985. ABCO serves both industrial and power markets and has over 15 years of sales engineering experience. More information on ABCO can be found at Nuclear power plants in their territory include:

  • Arkansas Nuclear One
  • Browns Ferry
  • Brunswick
  • Comanche Peak
  • Catawba
  • Farley
  • Grand Gulf
  • Hatch
  • McGuire
  • Oconee
  • Riverbend
  • Robinson
  • Sequoyah
  • Shearon Harris
  • South Texas Project
  • St. Lucie
  • Turkey Point
  • VC Summer
  • Vogtle
  • Waterford


Patrick Abernethy

Patrick Abernethy of ABCO

Kevin Abernethy

Kevin Abernethy of ABCO