Butch Nicholson has shown no signs of slowing down. He recently celebrated 35 years of service with Folcomer Equipment Corporation — a construction and equipment dealer serving Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. — and looks forward to the road ahead.
Nicholson, who currently holds the position of general manager of Folcomer’s Upper Marlboro, MD, location, began with the company in 1971.
“I started at Suit and Wells Equipment Company [which was Folcomer Equipment Corporation’s former name] as part of a work-study program in high school,” said Nicholson.
“I was taking a lot of business courses in the morning and worked from 10:30 in the morning to 5. I would come to work right from class.”
Nicholson found balancing work and school to be a challenge, but accepted with a smile.
“I began working in inventory control in the parts department,” said Nicholson.
After graduation, he began working full-time at Suit and Wells Equipment.
“After five years in the parts department, I was promoted to parts and service manager,” said Nicholson. “I worked in that position for Tony Wells for 25 years until Dave Folcomer bought the company in 1996.”
As Suit and Wells Equipment Company became Folcomer Equipment Corporation, Nicholson was promoted to his current position as general manager of the company’s Upper Marlboro location.
Throughout the years, Nicholson has kept himself motivated through competition and doesn’t get bogged down by the opposition.
“The stronger the competition, the more motivated I am,” said Nicholson. “It’s important to stay ahead of the competition.
“Without competition, work would be stagnant,” added Nicholson. “I wouldn’t change that because things would get boring. Those challenges only motivate me more.”
According to Nicholson, the biggest challenges over the years came during recessions when business was slow.
“Managing during those times was difficult,” he said. “It’s hard to keep working relationships strong and make sure employees and customers are happy.
“Sometimes you just have to bend the rules to keep everything running smoothly during recessions. That way, employees and customers stay happy and relationships between the two remain strong.”
For the Love of the Game
Nicholson’s 35 years of dedication to Folcomer extends beyond loyalty.
“I found something I really liked to do so I stuck with it,” said Nicholson. “That’s the problem a lot of people have — finding that niche and sticking with it. Things don’t really get stagnant because the industry keeps changing.”
Folcomer Grows as Industry Changes
Since he first started in 1971, Nicholson has watched Folcomer grow alongside the industry. The company began as a single freestanding store in Aberdeen, MD, and has expanded to a complex of five stores with the addition of its Upper Marlboro, Frederick and Baltimore, MD, and Greenwood, DE, locations.
Nicholson has hope for the future of the industry, as well as the growth of Folcomer.
“The only thing holding the industry back is the challenge of finding good qualified employees. Manufacturers are harder to deal with than they used to be, so it’s even more important to find qualified people to get the job done right.”
“ Customers are also more demanding,” added Nicholson. “These days they want everything right now.”
Nicholson meets these challenges head-on as he attends trade shows to meet customers and competitors face-to-face. For him, good communication is important, whether it’s with customers or competitors, because he makes connections and solidifies relationships through such experiences.
“It helps to know what I’m up against,” said Nicholson. “Plus the relationships with the customers make it all worth it.”
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