In mid-November, R.B. Everett & Co. President J. Farrel Henderson invited more than 80 employees, family members and other guests into his home for a very special celebration in honor of his six decades with the company. The well-attended soiree – which also recognized other long-time employees – included a brief retrospective on the history of the company from its inception in 1911 to when Henderson took the reins in 1982.
“I started at R.B. Everett & Co. in 1957, so I’ve been here for 60 years,” Henderson said. “We decided that we should do something special to celebrate my 60 years with the company, so we threw a big party at my house, invited our employees and friends, and had a wonderful time.”
By all accounts, the event was a rousing success – much like Henderson’s ongoing tenure at R.B. Everett & Co. The Houston-area-headquartered heavy equipment dealership has flourished under his leadership, growing from one location to two.
“The business has grown a lot over the years,” Henderson said. “We now have two locations – one in the Houston area and one outside of Dallas. We’re successful at what we do, in part because we’ve improved the manufacturers that we represent and we have a lot of experienced salespeople who have been with us for a long time – some more than 30 years.”
What Henderson’s accomplished with R.B. Everett & Co. is particularly impressive considering that he happened into a career in the heavy equipment industry almost by chance. He grew up in a small community in east Texas and moved to Houston right out of high school with nothing but the clothes on his back and a $20 loan from his father. After working a handful of unsatisfying jobs, Henderson went to an employment agency and was sent to R.B. Everett & Co., where he took a position as an accounts-billable/accounts-receivable bookkeeper.
“I was hired on Nov. 22, 1957, and I’ve been here ever since,” Henderson said. “You might say I walked in off the streets looking for a job and wound up owning the company.”
That, of course, is the condensed version of the story. In the years between being hired and becoming president, Henderson went to night school to further his education, worked his way up the company ladder to the position of treasurer, and became close with Emma Neblett, widow of company founder R.B. Everett.
“Mrs. Neblett didn’t have any descendants, and she and I became really close over a period of time,” Henderson said. “One day, she asked me to come meet with her and she said, ‘Farrel, it’s tough to be the last person in your family, but that’s the situation I’m in.’ Then she told me she wanted me to have ownership of the company when she died and gave me a pair of cuff links that were in her family for years. I’m really proud of where we’ve come from and where we are today.”
The business is also a family affair for Henderson. His son, Dean, has worked for R.B. Everett & Co. for 37 years and currently serves as vice president, and his grandson, Dustin, has worked for the company for nine years and serves as treasurer.
“We’re just a typical construction equipment dealer that’s grown over time and become successful,” he said. “We’re very happy.”
R.B. Everett also has the distinction of being one of AED’s oldest members, having first joined the Association all the way back in 1923.
“AED is highly important to our industry,” said Henderson. “We’ve made a point to have representation at the AED Summit each year and are just really pleased to be a part of this organization.”
To learn more about R.B. Everett & Co., visit rbeverett.com. R.B. Everett & Co. is also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.