Below is Wright Service Corp. Chairman and CEO Scott Packard’s speech for Wright Service Corp.’s Annual Awards Banquet that took place on March 9, 2018 in West Des Moines, Iowa.
As Midwesterners, we rarely pat ourselves on the back, nor do we stop to celebrate our milestones. But every once in awhile I like to take the time to do just that. It’s not so much about what was accomplished but more so about the people who made it happen. Our humble beginnings started with just a couple people who made things happen. I believe we’re still just a bunch of people who collectively get the job done and done well. Whether your part is big or small – you contributed to these milestones.
Back in Roman times, a milestone was literally a marker that indicated the distance from the capital. For us, it’s much the same – the distance we have traveled since John L. Wright threw a saw in the back of his truck, and painted Wright Tree Service (WTS) on the door.
This year celebrates the 85th anniversary for WTS and the 90th anniversary for Wright Outdoor Solutions (WOS). To put that in perspective, we’ve made it longer than Blockbuster, Kodak
and Radio Shack – a testament to how we’ve run our businesses, stayed relevant, treated our customers and treated our employees.
Being an employee owned company is something I’m very proud of. In 2017, we grew our company valuation more than 35 percent. We achieved our fifteenth consecutive year of record revenues. We hired nearly 1,000 new employees, bringing us close to 4,000 total employees in pockets across North America. We put more than $50 million of new equipment on the job, and through January, we are already 48 percent ahead of last year.
Almost 700 employees from WTS and CNUC aided in the power restoration efforts from the devastation of Hurricane Irma, Harvey and Maria. And just as we started to come home in November, the call came to send workers to Puerto Rico.
We’re still there today. I’d like to recognize and give a special tribute to the 50 plus men who answered the call, who have been away from their homes and families for the last five months.
Last year, we ventured north and found synergies with Spectrum Resource Group, our largest partnership to date, establishing a presence in British Columbia and Alberta. Yes, that’s Canada, and yes, that means we’re international.
While I’m on that topic, have you ever heard of Danone? Or maybe Danon? Sustainable Environmental Consultants’ (SEC) sustainability risk management platform, EcoPractices impressed Danone, awarding SEC a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract.
To continue on with multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts … I’ll have to start with a little backstory. I have a tendency to bid on considerably overpriced wooden bowls at industry event auctions. You’ll find 10 or so around the office. They look nice, but they usually sit empty. Last time was a little different though. Rather than a bowl, there was this Altec machine. It could remove a tree safely in a fraction of the time, all by remote control! So I thought, “Why not?” The end result? WOS is contracted with the City of Des Moines to remove more than 1,000 ash trees per year, and this machine helps us do it all.
Terra Spectrum Technologies (TST) launched their new iOS version of VMSuite software. We recently re-launched and re-branded a consolidated application called FieldNote to further streamline and improve workflow.
And for the first time in company history, we have a contract where WTS, CNUC and TST are all working on the same property at Empire Electric District in Joplin, Missouri. They are providing complete vegetation management services from end to end.
There are many more milestones I could list, but those are some of the big ones. I hope you all found a piece of yourselves in these successes because you helped get us here. We’ve grown a lot over the years and our people have been the thread keeping it together and making things happen. As I have said before, put your people first. Take smart risks and don’t be afraid to make mistakes because it’s only an opportunity to try again, only smarter. Without you, none of this exists.
And whatever you do, please uphold our highest value safety.