Three employees say goodbye after more than 60 years
By: Fara Foster, Director of Communications & Community Engagement
The end of December will not only signal the close of 2018, but it will also bring the retirement of three long-time employees. With a collective 66 years at Lehman-Roberts Co. employees, these people have brought experience, wisdom and success just as they have brought loyalty and comradery.
When Judy Kent joined the Lehman-Roberts Co. family in June 2000, she did so with 24 years’ experience at Thompson Machinery. While at Thompson, Judy worked primarily in their service department, managing work orders and warranty claims, as well as payroll. That experience was useful immediately in our accounting department as she began working with our independent haulers and managing the tickets from our asphalt plants. For the past eight years, she has coordinated our contracts, working with our project managers plus outside contractors, subcontractors, DOTs and various other customers.
Judy is also a wife and mother of two sons and two step-daughters. Her office walls have been lined with photographs of her family, including grandchildren that range from just a few weeks old, to a high school senior. “I’ve never been able to attend Grandparents’ Day at school,” Judy said. For the first time, I’ll be able to go to school functions with the grandkids and I’m really looking forward to that.”
Since Judy and her husband, Jerry, commute over an hour to work each way, she has plans to complete some tasks in their home that she just does not have time for now. She is also looking forward to hunting with Jerry. “Even if I’m just sitting in a tree, I’ll still sitting there with him,” she shared.
She also shared what she’ll miss about working. “I like my job and I care about doing it right. There’s a new challenge every day. But, mostly I’ll miss the people. We have relationships like we’re family.”
Steve Eason has served as the Trucking Manager for Lehman-Roberts Co. northern operations for nearly 20 years. However, he got his start in transportation in the early 1970’s while serving in the military. Steve originally joined the National Guard, but after just over a year, he decided weekend guard duty was not enough to keep him busy and enlisted in the Air Force. His specialty was transportation and that took him to Guam where he loaded bombs onto B-52s.
A Lehman-Roberts Co. employee officially for 23 years, Steve considers his tenure to have started when he began working as an independent hauler in 1989. “My plan was to come here, haul for a year, then go back home,” Steve remembers. “But, I was having a good time and I liked the company I was hauling for, so I just stayed.” Home for Steve is Saltillo, TN and he visits family and his own land and cabin there every weekend. The cabin was built recently in the woods where he enjoys hunting and fishing. Along with long road trips on his Harley Davidson, hunting and fishing are things he is looking forward to doing more of after retirement.
Steve credits Johnny Driver with his desire to come onboard and stay for the long haul. “We got to know each other when I was hauling and Johnny helped me get this job,” Steve said. “There were days we weren’t sure how we were going to get enough trucks to keep up with the work. That’s something I loved – the challenge. I always wanted to be so busy I was still looking for trucks when I went home every night.”
The enjoyment of job challenges was a common theme for all three retirees. Dwight Bolen said, “I love my job. There’s always been challenges and the challenges made the job fun.”
After more than 24 years, Dwight will retire as the Quality Control Manager for our southern team. Prior to that, he worked for another company in Friars Point, MS until that company was purchased by Lehman-Roberts Co. “It was a package deal. Lehman-Roberts got Mississippi Limestone and they got me. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Dwight elaborated that because the company takes such good care of their people, he and his wife are able to pursue plans they have been making for several years. He said, “This is such an awesome company, so retiring is bittersweet. I enjoy what I do, but it’s time to change directions and see the life my wife and I can build now.” That life includes a trip out west to see Yellowstone, Montana and Yosemite as well as clearing parcel of land he recently purchased.
As Dwight reflected on his time with the company, he spoke repeatedly about his gratitude and his hopes for the smooth transition as he departs. “All the QC guys are good guys and they’re well-trained. I know they will take as good of care of the company when I’m gone as they do now.” He closed by saying, “I have worked for the best company you could ask to work for. Your opportunity to grow only matches your efforts to grow. If you do a good job, they will give you a good future.”
We thank all three of our retirees for their years of service and wish them a happy, healthy and good future.