This Memorial Day weekend I thought it would great to memorialize a man who has had and is still having great impact on all the members of the Internet Checker Taxicab Archive and Checker owners in general: Steve Wilson former CMC executive and CCCofA President. I never met Steve but I feel I have come to know him from the many stories told by friends, family and former Checker employees. Anytime you read a Checker manual or cross over reference sheet, always be aware that it was either created or edited by Steve Wilson. The following is a short article published in the CMC Checker Highlights Newsletter from 1985. Also included are the many picture of Steve’s Checkers. The original article was written by Marcia Schill
So you think that maybe you could do your bosses job better than he or she does! Do you ever see yourself running your department? Or, perhaps you envision yourself in the president’s chair someday. Do you think you have prepared yourself for that big moment? Will it just be a matter of luck, intelligences, hard work, a good attitude or perhaps you have a friend or relative already in power pulling for you?
Whatever the case may be it might be worthwhile to take a look at some of our top executives to try and get a more insightful view of how they “fell” into their high level positions. Perhaps we’ll discover that it isn’t just luck. Being in the right place at the right time may get you that job or promotion, but many other factors keep you on top.
Steve Wilson, Assistant Vice President and General Purchasing Agent has agreed to be the first Checker Executive to share is career background and advice as to what qualities he perceives are important in considering employees for top level positions.
Let’s start with the type of individual Steve Wilson was BEFORE life at Checker Motors. Steve came from a family of five children. He says they always had everything they needed but anything extra they desired would have to be earned by them individually. As a very young boy, Steve would get a 5 cent per week Allowance money which he would sometimes use to buy real butter for his Mothers tasty homemade cinnamon bread. Later Steve demonstrated his ambitious and enterprising side as a young man by always finding lawns to mow. Sidewalks to shovel in the winter, and working at a fruit market during his senior year in high school. Steve worked at a newspaper office. Steve says he was a very good student and always did his homework during study hall so he was able to spend his free time working and earning money.
After High school, Steve did not feel that college was for him. He was motivated to make money. From the ages of 21 to 24 Steve worked at Gibson Automotive Wholesale Company during the day and at the post office during the evenings. He had a new wife, a new baby and a new car. Which gave him all sorts of motivation not to work two jobs anymore. He totally dedicated himself to his job at Checker. infact he had one boss who would get very upset if Steve put in too much overtime so he would punch out at 5:00 and then return to his office continuing to work without pay.
As a specifications clerk, Steve performed many tasks including writing bills of materials, parts & service catalogs, acting as a liaison between the shop and the engineering Department. And interpreting engineering specifications. In just one years time. Steve’s dedication and ability to get the job done were rewarded with a promotion to specification supervisor He spent nine years in this position. During this time Checker had a chassis engineering department as well as a body engineering dept. Each department also half their own specifications department. Steve recalls that these two departments were divided by a wall – both figuratively and literally. He remembers that David Markin was a big help to him at the time in convincing Morris Markin to tear down the wall and consolidate the department. The new arrangement became known as the engineering Dept. and was able to save serval thousands of dollars.
Steve continued to learn as much as he could he stated that he was very lucky to have the help of many people at Checker He listened to what they had to say and learned quickly. He became especially noted that Harley Skinner, who originally hired him was a great help to him in learning the ropes. Once great piece of advice that Harley passed along to Steve was “Don’t proofread assuming that everything is wrong” imagine how much money we all could save in catching errors if we got into this habit
In 1966 Steve was taken out of the Engineering Dept. and place into the Purchasing Dept. as a buyer. He worked directly for Earl Newlson (who came from General Motors) and Cecil Cornwell (formerly of Ford Motors) when I asked Steve how he felt about moving from one department to another after so many years he replied, “I loved it”, Steve reports h during the first six months in the purchasing department he was able to make substantial cost saving. Due to all the knowledge he had gained in Engineering. He knew every single part of the Checker automobile inside and out and this information came in pretty handy when he was transferred to Purchasing.
Later, Steve became the Manager of Materials, Purchasing & Scheduling until this was later separated into two different departments. Steve is solely in Charge of Purchasing today (1985).
Steve Wilson has always been a self-motivated person. He wanted to achieve as much as he could and had no qualms about doing what he had to in order to get the job one. Steve worked many hours of overtime during his early years at Checker Motors and many with no pay. He feels that he has been very well rewarded for all his efforts he admits that today he can usually enjoy an 8 to 5 job. But knows that he has earned it. Steve is very proud of his accomplishments at Checker Motors. As we can see form the many jobs he has held, he consistently demonstrated that he could do the job he was assigned to and also managed to get the support to and also managed to get that support of all the right people while he was working his way up the ladder.
Steve feels that a college education us very important today for anyone thinking about becoming a top executive. He says “with a degree, you can take on the world.” A few other tips that Steve Wilson passes along to those inspired to go places are
- Help make the company prosperous
- Don’t be a clock watcher
- Don’t be afraid to work harder than the person next to you
- It’s more important to be respected than liked
- Learn all yo can about your department
- And you must have the ability to get along with others
Steve Wilson will be celebrating his 30th anniversary at Checker Motors this January. I would like to thank Steve for a great interview on his rise to top management at Checker Motors. May I say “it not where you start it’s where you finish.