Four longtime Scott employees talk dedication, work ethic and change

Four longtime Scott employees talk dedication, work ethic and change

Scott Equipment is more than heavy-duty equipment; Scott is heavy-duty commitment, a value demonstrated by the company's many loyal employees.

When Tom Scott founded Scott Equipment 75 years ago, the new company had 10 employees, including him and his wife Mayme. Now Scott employs nearly 600 people to sell, rent and provide top-notch service, and many of these employees have been with Scott for a long time. Nearly 30% of Scott Equipment employees have been working with the company for over a decade, and some have Scott careers surpassing 30 and 40 years.

Charles Haynes, a salesman out of the Baton Rouge office, is one of the four-decade employees. He began working at General Equipment in Baton Rouge on September 28, 1972, shortly before Scott Equipment bought the location. He had already been working in equipment sales but wanted to be with a bigger company. And the "big" company that hired him in '72 is now ever bigger. Haynes says the growth of Scott over his 42 years of employment there has been incredible. He's seen the company expand into its current 21 locations in five states.

But the growth isn't just limited to the number of stores, as Haynes explains: "There's more lines of equipment, and it's all good equipment. It makes my life easier when we have the top lines to sell." Haynes specializes in cranes and serves longtime clients like Exxon, Turner Industries, Jacobs Engineering Group, PALA Interstate, and Volks Constructors. "I tell the new guys that as far as selling equipment goes, this is a good place to be. The benefits, the people, the stability. We've got the whole shooting match."

Also at the Baton Rouge office are Joe Bethley and Lonnie Tolbert, both shop foremen in the service department who were hired in 1974 and 1975, respectively. They confirmed their amazement at Scott's growth, both company-wide and within their location. When Tolbert was hired, there were only five or six guys working in the service department. That number has now tripled to 17 including in-house technicians and traveling mechanics.

Bethley got started at Scott on April 15, 1974, as a "cleanup man" to keep the shop tidy. After about a year he started mechanic work, putting to use the skills he learned at his previous job with John Deere, and then he moved up into the office 10 years ago. He's now a foreman. As Bethley says, "I go for the goal." He passes this experience and advice to new employees: "It's a good company to work for with good people and you can make a future here, but we're all expected to work." Tolbert shares in the company's collective work ethic and is glad to pass that value down to newer Scott generations, quipping, "They can swing the hammer now instead of us!"

Tolbert's early career took him as far away as Maryland, but family ties eventually brought him back to Baton Rouge, his hometown. Looking for a job after returning, he stopped by and asked if the store needed any extra help. He was hired on the spot and 39 years later, he's still there. "It seems like yesterday," Tolbert said. "I never had a reason to leave! Scott's treated me well."

These two coworkers both credit the man who hired them, Joe Doiron, for their careers. "He's one of the best men I ever worked for or knew. He would stand behind you 100%," Tolbert attested.

Dennis Parker's job has evolved over 42 years to match Scott's growth as well as the ever-changing world of technology. Scott Equipment was Parker's first job after graduating from the University of Monroe and, as he says, "giving Uncle Sam a few years" in the Army. Starting in 1972 as part of the key punch department performing Scott's accounting functions, Parker keyed the branch's mailed invoices into cards that were sent to a service bureau for billing and payroll. In 1978 his job changed when the company purchased its first computer and he was named head of the new processing department, overseeing the conversion of the service bureau process into Scott's own computer system.

His role transformed again in 1996 when changing computer systems necessitated another conversion. This time he traveled to all the stores to train employees at the branch level. He describes the '90s as a huge period of growth for Scott, and as the company acquired new locations he had to visit to train those employees as well.

Parker's title is now "accountant and software support." His changing roles and breadth of experience prompt him to call himself as a "jack of all trades, master of none," but the employees across all of Scott's locations rely on Parker's expertise that, as he describes it, "comes with being here so long."

As to why Scott Equipment has so many dedicated employees, including himself, Parker credits the company's founder, Tom Scott. "From the very beginning Mr. Scott was very people-oriented. His motto was ‘People are important.' He understood the grassroots of business and how to be part of the community. People are the grassroots of our business."