This Sunday, July 1, 2018, will mark the 35th anniversary of the first Customer ever served by a Watco Team Member. With that momentous occasion almost upon us, it is appropriate to spend a little time reflecting on how Watco started and what we have become.

From the beginning, Watco was a family-oriented company. The following is the roster of the first Watco Team Members who served the very first Watco Customer, Boise Southern, now PCA (Packing Corporation of America). In this roster were three sets of brothers, a father-son duo, a brother-in-law and a cousin. On this special day, we offer our thanks to the first Watco Team for building such a great foundation that we are still growing on today.

Mark Blazer – Linn Herman – Jim Herman – Keith LaCaze – Pat LaCaze – Ed Mayberry – Jeff Mayberry – Art Smith – Carl McKeown – Herb McKeown – Benny Wise – Curtis Hare – Melvin Brown – Sam Aeschliman

We are very proud of that first Watco Team and even prouder still that Mark Blazer, Linn Herman, Jim Herman, and Keith LaCaze are playing key roles for us today. We are blessed to have four of the original Watco Team still with us, even though they do raise the overall average age of the rest of the Watco Team. But having Keith, Jim, Linn, and Mark still a part of the Watco Team shows that we have stayed true to what made us successful on that first day in July back in 1983.

Dick Webb, the founder of Watco, and Kaye Lynne Webb, the guarantor of Watco, taught us that no matter what challenges come our way, we must always remember that without a Customer to serve, we have no reason to be in business, and without a Watco Team to serve them, we have no chance of staying in business. It really is that simple. So no matter where we go or what we do, we must ensure we always keep it that way.

The Watco Team started our first profit center in 1983 in DeRidder, Louisiana, with the belief that when we provide a Customer with a service for which they are willing to pay us a fair price, we will be successful. The courage of Dick Webb, who left a good paying job to take a chance on the idea of serving Customers with outstanding people, the support of Kaye Lynne Webb, who guaranteed our first loan, and the timing of when we started, right after rail deregulation, had something to do with it as well.

But it was pure guts, determination, a desire to find great Watco Team Members who would work hard every day to serve our Customers, and being able to start a business in the best country in the world, where this kind of success can happen, that made Watco what it was and what it still is today. A Team that wins. Here are some examples of Watco wins over the last 35 years.

From our first Watco Customer, we now serve over 4,000 Watco Customers daily.

From our first 14 Watco Team Members, we have grown our Watco Team to 5,200 strong.

From our first Watco profit center, we now operate 202 Watco profit centers.

From our first location in DeRidder, we now provide service in 37 states and 4 countries.

We want to thank all our Watco Customers, Watco Team Members, and Watco stakeholders for all they have done for us. Our first 35 years have been amazing, here’s to the next 35!

Happy Birthday and Go Watco Go!!