Well my Comporium story began in May 1998, I had just left my first college job and had been out of college barely a year. My dad had suggested, I go and apply at the “Telephone Company”; they have been around a long time and it’s in town. Well at my dad’s advice, I went and submitted my application and hoped for the best. After that, I waited several weeks but without any calls, I ended up taking an draftsman position with a company in Fort Mill. Then around September 1998 my first boss called me and asked was I interested in an interview and possibly working at Rock Hill Telephone Company, his name was Buck Wallace. My interview took place on the 2nd floor at the Corporate Headquarters Building at 5:30PM in what was Engineering’s small conference room. Buck met me at the side employee entrance door and we proceed upstairs for the interview process. During my interview, we discussed many things from family to education to what my dream job (professional baseball player) would be. Buck and I had similar paths; we both were hometown guys, went thru Rock Hill schools and graduated from York Technical College. I did not have allot of experience to offer and my college Engineering Graphics background was my only way in the door. I distinctly remember telling Buck, I am willing to learn and if you give me a chance, that’s all I can ask for. Like I said before Buck and I were from the same cloth, when he graduated from college, all he asked for was a chance. I am very grateful Buck Wallace and Harry Miller who took a chance on a young 22-year old boy who was eager to learn and prove what I could do.
When I finally got my green badge, I was introduced to all the Engineering folks and most of them had 25+ years of service and much older than me. Most of the Engineering Associates had either come thru the ranks of Plant or from a 4-year Engineering school. I was only a York Technical College graduate and had basically no experience, my first thoughts were how did I end up here. Early in my career, I would say I only went to York Tech and not a 4-year school but as I matured I was grateful of my York Technical College education and how it prepared me for the real world (that education got me where I am today)…..
Buck had assigned me to work with Calvin Park, he was a long time company employee and had been in Engineering for quite a while. Calvin had always been labeled the “building guy” and I would be under his wing for a long time, so I thought. At the time, Calvin was in his early 50s and me being a numbers guy and planner, I did the math. My thoughts were, Calvin has 15 or so years left until he retires so by the time he retires I should have at least 15-years of experience right….wrong answer, try again…. After about 2+ years, Calvin took a management position in Risk Management so there went my experience blanket and safety net. After this shocking news, Buck told me now you’re going to be the building guy and by the way here is a 100K square foot building upfit that would end up being the Comporium Technology Center. So, here is a now an almost 25-year old guy with a little over 2-years’ experience being handed over a monstrous upfit and still uncertain of his abilities. Thankfully, a great General Contractor would be awarded the bid. RT Dooley General Contractors would get the job and a superintendent by the name of Mike Faulks would end up being my mentor. Mike had over 20+ years of experience and was a very seasoned superintendent. As a result of my lack of construction knowledge, I told Mike right up front; you are going to ask me questions that I am not going to have a clue what you are talking about. Instead of just pretending I knew, I was just open and honest with Mike and he respected me more for being upfront. From that point on, Mike took me under his wing and taught me so much during that 2+year span.
The next and probably the most influential person in my construction career was Albert Ferrell, known by many only as “Jabo”. You see Mr. Jabo went to work at an early age to support his family as his father had passed and he had a mother and sisters to take care of. Mr. Jabo came along when hard work and not using motorized equipment was common place. Calvin Park had worked with Mr. Jabo for a long time and they had a great working relationship. I distinctly remember early on when I was introduced to Mr. Jabo, stating that I would be working with him on construction projects. Mr. Jabo was in his early 70’s at the time and told me he had finally gotten Calvin trained after 20-years and that he did not know if he had 20 more years left to train me. So after numerous projects, construction talks, mentoring and “farm talk”; Mr. Jabo had reached his goal of getting me “trained”….. Mr. Jabo fell ill a few months short of exactly 20-years but I was able learn so much from a wonderful man, I loved him like a grandfather and it was mutual. I am indebted to him for the knowledge he passed on to me, in my words he went out with his work boots on and fulfilled a commitment to me. I will always remember the many times we would walk thru the buildings with our tape measures in hand and employees always asked are we moving or when is construction beginning….
Lastly, I am so grateful for all the many people, projects and a vast array of experiences that Comporium has provided for me. Today, I am still doing the same job I was hired to do back in 1998 but there have been many other duties added along the way. I have always said if I had to have a degree for everything thing I am involved in, I would still be in school today. One of the mottos I emphasize to my children is “listen and learn” as I have used this daily in my 20+ years at Comporium. If I had to do it all over again, I would still pick Comporium and same position. If you enjoy what you do for a living, you will never work a day in your life. As I sit back and reflect on my career, I realize I am on the downward side of the retirement mountain and now I have the honor of being one of the “old timers”….. I have always been proud of the work that I do and the company I work for.
Scott D. Canty