By Rick Denton
As Honest Abe celebrates its 40th year of business, I can’t help but think of the people who have helped guide the company through the years. The five I want to concentrate on for this article are Jackie Cherry, Thomas Dulworth, Jimmy Scott, Anna Isenberg and Fred Kendall.
All five still work for Honest Abe today. All five started working for the company a few years after it opened for business. They have stayed three decades and nearing four decades. They have grown old working here. They have been loyal, dedicated, and focused upon doing the best job possible to help insure a quality product was produced for the customer. They have seen it all. They have the experience that guarantees new customers wants and wishes can be met by Honest Abe. They know what is expected. I doubt anything would surprise them today.
Jackie Cherry was hired in 1982. He is the Manufacturing Plant Manager and a Vice President of the company. He is essentially the only plant manager the company has had. He is responsible for every building and machine the company currently uses or has used over its 40 years of business. He buys all necessary logs, beams, timbers and lumber necessary for inventory to keep business steady and productive. For 37 years he has guided the company’s manufacturing needs. He knows everything needed to meet today’s demands.
Thomas Dulworth was hired in 1985. He supervises the crew that cuts, notches and numbers the logs making up the log wall, practically the only log cutting supervisor the company has had. I like to tell people that over his 34 year history, he has manufactured enough logs to stretch across the entire United States, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I have the numbers to back up this statement. During his remarkable career, very seldom did any of his logs not fit their intended purpose. His accuracy has been amazing. He, too, knows everything needed to meet today’s demands.
Anna Isenberg was hired in 1984. She is essentially the only accountant/bookkeeper the company has had. There is not an issue relating to the company finances that Anna does not know and understand. She is known for her accuracy and never making mistakes. She has handled the company’s business across the United States and Internationally as well. She knows what is needed to satisfy any potential client. She, too, knows everything needed to meet today’s demands.
Jimmy Scott was hired in 1987. He has been the yard supervisor for most of his 32 years. Every trailer load of incoming logs has been carefully unloaded and cared for by Jimmy. He has stacked thousands upon thousands of logs and timbers carefully and meticulously to make sure they dry and do not damage before production. He knows this process inside-out. He also knows everything needed to meet today’s demands.
Fred Kendall was hired in 1981. He is the only Design Manager the company has had. In his 38 years, he has managed the design department to some remarkable achievements. Each of the nearly 7000 customer packages produced over the past 40 years has had a set of blueprints drawn to meet local codes across the United States and Internationally as well. He has followed the development of numerous building code requirements for 38 years, staying abreast of what they required of Honest Abe, and making sure each package was designed to meet them. Nothing can surprise him. He knows everything needed to meet today’s demands.
Choosing only five employees for the focus of this 40th Anniversary article is dangerous, because I recognize that I am leaving out so many that could be written about. There are so many! Many were up front and visible. Just as many were behind the scenes and not very visible to the public, clients or customers. However, I have tried to cover all these people elsewhere, such as in my book Honest Abe Log Homes: Memories & Stories.
The heart of the company has always the people who work for Honest Abe.