Sunday, May 18, 2008

S. Buford Scott ... an example of hard work and success

"I have too many blessings to ever be depressed."
S. Buford Scott, 75, Chairman, Scott & Stringfellow

Scott & Stringfellow's familiar landmark location in downtown Richmond flashes stock "ups-and-downs" throughout the day and night with those who work in the business district automatically scanning the board as they pass in that direction.

The man at the helm of one of Richmond's oldest businesses is Mr. S. Buford Scott who celebrated 50 years today with Scott & Stringfellow, the company, started in 1893 by his grandfather, Frederick W. Scott, and Charles S. Stringfellow.

With his bow tie and button-down collars, and possessing a work ethic that is hard to duplicate these days, Mr. Scott is the epitome of the Southern gentleman. At 75, his firm now numbers more than 1,000 employees at 45 branch offices in the southeast under his leadership. He became chairman in 1974.

Sometimes the children that come along after a successful business has been established by fathers, grandfathers, or great-grandfathers do not show the drive of the first generation. Not true for Mr. Scott who joined the company at the age of 25 -- on May 18, 1958 -- after graduating from the University of Virginia and after serving in the Army counterintelligence corps.

His job: "board boy," writing updated stock prices on a board for brokers. He truly started at the bottom and worked his way up.

My favorite part of the Richmond Times-Dispatch article in Sunday's paper told of Mr. Scott's father being asked if "young Buford" was any good, to which his father asked, "How can you tell?" And this part was priceless:
"Give him more responsibility than he can handle, and you'll find out right quickly." -- Mr. Floyd D. Gottwald Sr., head of Albemarle Paper Manufacturing Co.
So his dad made him a partner in the firm ... and he thrived. His rule of thumb: give the bad news first, but never lie. Integrity is of upmost importance and he expects it from all in his firm.

The family continues to grow. Today one of Mr. Scott's sons lives with his family next to my folks in the Richmond suburbs ... he and his wife and children gather with the clan at The Homestead and other retreats just as the Scotts have done for generations. They are part of "Old Richmond."

Mr. S. Buford Scott is an example to "New Richmond" ... work hard, be fair, hire good people, and prosper. After all, his company has been in existence since 1893.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good article about Buford Scott. He's a good man -- you covered him well.