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Pearson celebrates 50 years with Scotchman Industries

No one can accuse Alvin Pearson of not being able to hold a steady job. He’s been employed by the same company, Scotchman Industries, Inc. in Philip, for the past 50 years.
Alvin started his career at Scotchman Industries on November 13, 1972.
When Alvin started, the company had been manufacturing the 314 Dvorak Ironworker for only five years. Portable corrals and auto gates were still in production. Little Scotchman was housed in the original bowling alley, with an addition to the south. This space currently is the office and the shop demo area (approximately 20,000 sq. feet). Through the years there have been numerous building additions and today, Scotchman has 109,000 sq. feet. 
The machines were painted offsite in a building south of Kennedy Implement. That building burned down in 1974 and the warehouse across the street to the east was built to house the welding and paint department, along with the portable corral assembly. There were approximately 15-20 people working at that time. Working conditions were very different then and no air conditioning!
Fifty years is a long time!
Over the years Alvin has worked in almost all aspects of the company. He started as a welder for 12-18 months then moved to assembly for a few months. He then went to paint and final assembly for about two years. Alvin was then moved into the parts room. During his time in the parts room, he started taking customer service calls as needed. In the late 1970’s Alvin was moved into customer service full time where he continues today. He has been the Inside Sales Manager for many, many years. When Alvin started, there was only one ironworker model – the 314. Today Scotchman has 14 models of ironworkers and six different product lines. 
During his career, Alvin has taken hundreds of thousands of calls. One wonders how many times, in his calm and authoritative voice, he has said: “This is Alvin.”
Mike Albrecht, National Sales Manager, says: “It is hard for me to comment on Alvin when I have only been working with him for just over half his time with Scotchman. Alvin is considered the voice of Scotchman. There isn’t a dealer across the country that he hasn’t talked to. Every show we go to either a dealer or customer comes up wondering if Alvin is there. He has earned the respect of all, for his dedication to doing whatever it takes to get the job done. We have a saying with dedicated reps and employees, that is they bleed blue.” (Scotchman’s color). “Alvin is at the top of the class for his dedication. All of us at Scotchman would like to thank Alvin for his past 50 years of service!”
Jerry Kroetch, Alvin’s boss who has been with Scotchman for 45 years, says: “Alvin has been a staple of the company forever. His dedication and product knowledge is second to none. I am glad he isn’t talking retirement because I can’t imagine Scotchman without him.”
Alvin describes himself as “old school” when it comes to adapting to new technology over the years. “Yes, I am old school,” Alvin says. I still have manuals and price lists on paper. Most of the young employees use the computer and run circles around me. I will never completely understand computers.” Alvin says that taking customer service calls is an important part of the work he does. He has more than a few customers who ask for him specifically, usually those he has helped many times before and he says that it just forms a common bond between them.
Back in September, Alvin’s wife of 55 years, Ruby, and their children and spouses hosted a 75th birthday party and a “Thank You, Alvin” appreciation gathering for the “voice of Scotchman”. It was a public invitation for the family and community to celebrate Alvin’s 75th birthday and thank him for all he has done for the community. He is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs one and will go out of his way to do it. “It was a wonderful turn-out,” Alvin said. “The building was full most of the time.” Alvin still runs the chains at high school football games, and has for the past 30-some years.
For hobbies, Alvin used to do mechanic work on a lot of cars over the years, but not so much anymore. He says with all the new technology today’s newer models are just too complicated. “I just work on our convertible,” he says. The “convertible” is a 1970 baby-blue Cadillac, a car he has spent about 20 years restoring. On a nice fall or summer day, it is not unusual to see Alvin and Ruby cruising around Philip in his classic Cadillac. Alvin said he used to bowl quite a bit, but not so much anymore. He must have been pretty good at the game of bowling. In 2014 Alvin and his doubles partner, Matt Schofield, finished second in the state in doubles competition. Matt had a 614 series and Alvin had a 613. Pretty salty bowling for a couple of sandbaggers. 
When asked if he had any comments about working for the same company for 50 years, Alvin reflected, “I went to work for Scotchman for one year and was then ready to move on as I had been doing, but my lovely wife told me it was time to settle down. The kids had started school. I was lucky to have the opportunity to do many different jobs which made it easy to stay.” Alvin recalled some memories about Scotchman Industries founder Art Kroetch. “When I went to work at then-called Little Scotchman, Art would come through about every morning and go through the shop and speak to everyone, called them by their name and treated everyone like family. It’s still that way today.”
Retirement? “No retirement in mind at this time,” Alvin says. “As long as I can help the customers and do a good job for them and the company – and the boss will put up with me – I would be happy where I’m at.”
When we see Alvin and Ruby cruising around Philip in his 1970 baby-blue Cadillac, it seems everything will be all right with the world.

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
Telephone: (605) 859-2516
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