NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Visit Tipton Ford in Nacogdoches and you're just as likely to see owner Neal Slaten under the truck lift as you would in the front office. "You having fun yet? It's your day," joked a technician to Slaten. It's Slaten's day because technicians nominated their boss for the Technician Choice Award. Ford's national recognition reinforces Slaten's appreciation for his employees. "It's very humbling. It's certainly flattering, but to me it's more of an indication of how well they've accepted what we've provided for them," said Slaten.
So what makes a good boss? Perhaps it's compassion for a man beating substance abuse. "He gave me a second chance at it," said Kevin Boehmer. "I'm a firm believer he is a very big reason I'm in the shape I'm in today. No longer drinking, no longer doing anything out of the ordinary. No longer in trouble with the law."
A good boss could be one who provides the most up to date tools for the trade. "We fix a lot of vehicles with just a lap top and not even open up a tool box," smiled Gerald Najver as he typed away on his Dell lap top while sitting in a pickup cab. Techs appreciate Slaten for providing the necessary training and software to keep up with rapidly changing technology. "I started out an entry level technician and now I do just about everything in the shop," said David Martinez, who graduated from a tech school just two years ago.
Then there's the reassurance an owner gives his employees during rocky times. "His trust and belief in not only that there will be a turn around, but the fact we can make it through this and make a difference and be better for it," reflected Patrick Walton. Slaten said the biggest mistake CEO's and business owners make is paying too much attention to profits. "It just isn't about showing up every morning, unlocking the door and focusing on the bottom line," said slaten.