Scott Management Trainee Program: Learning from the Experts
Scott Equipment may have deep roots and many longtime employees, but the company is constantly looking for ways to stay innovative. It has grown into 21 locations over 75 years, offering the latest equipment for sale and lease, using social media on many platforms and now, with their management trainee program, they are hiring young, motivated employees to ensure the company continues to move successfully into the future.
Scott Cummins, president of Scott Equipment Company, explained the reasoning behind the program, which began in the summer of 2013. “We saw a need for younger people coming in behind those reaching retirement age in the next five or ten years,” Cummins said. “We have so many longtime employees and we felt like there’s no better place to train new ones than with the people we’ve got. They’re the experts.”
Recognizing this need for new, well-trained faces, Scott Equipment also recognized that the program should cater to each individual’s skills, as well as the company’s needs. Trainees enters knowing that they could be placed in any department within the company – at any location – and so they are trained across all areas. “The idea of having them work in every department is that they can have an appreciation for what goes on in the entire company as they move into a specific job,” Cummins said. The management trainees come from different education and work experiences, and it turns out that their experiences in the program are as varied as their backgrounds.
Former management trainee Katie Putnam uses the term “confetti” to describe the variety of jobs on her résumé, but she was able to find a home at Scott Equipment. She applied after learning that her marketing major and management minor from the University of New Orleans met the requirements. During her time in the marketing department, Scott was rebranding with a new logo and website and Putnam said she had the “lucky opportunity” to assist the company through that process and use her marketing degree.
She is now the assistant branch manager at the St. Rose, La. location and has nothing but good things to say about her training program. “It’s extremely beneficial! There’s not a whole lot of micromanaging. You can see what you can do,” Putnam said. “We’re here to fill needed roles and close the age gap. Every company should have a program like this to stay relevant.” She also credits the company environment as a whole for her positive experience. “It’s not uncommon to meet coworkers that have been with Scott for over 30 years. It’s a good company run by good people.”
Management trainees not only learn, but offer Scott Equipment real value in return. As a management trainee, Damon Gautreau was first assigned to visit all 21 Scott locations across five states and interview every department manager. The information he gathered was used to create best business practices for the company that cover every company function, from answering phones to repairing cranes. The jobs at Scott Equipment can vary, but Gautreau noticed one important similarity: “Even though each job has its differences, the premise is the same. You always put the customer first.” Another big takeaway from his experience: “It was very apparent that everyone I talked to genuinely loves Scott Equipment.”
Gautreau’s heavy machinery experience began with his military career, and now as the Jackson location rental manager, he ensures that the rental machinery is maintained, delivered and accounted for, in addition to providing support for the salesmen. He said the flexibility of the training program is one of its strengths, “The trainee experience is what you make of it. It’s outlined but not very structured, and each person can tailor it to their inclination and background,” he said. “There’s no definite end to the program. We’re all constantly learning and adapting.”
James Knight, now an assistant branch manager in Jackson, also traveled during his time in the trainee program. While training people at different location on a new invoice system, he got to see how the company operated from the front lines all the way to the “worker bees” in the back offices completing Scott Equipment’s accounting and payroll functions. He’d learned plenty about management and business at Louisiana College while earning his business administration degree, but seeing firsthand how stores were managed differently – but still successfully – was the highlight of his program, and the one he encourages others to try. “Without a doubt I’d recommend the program. It’s a crash course, but you get to see how everyone works together in a business day-to-day. It’s an experience that you can’t get in school.”