By Eddie Stewart, CEO, Stewart Transportation & Parking Solutions
I think it’s safe to say, without sounding arrogant or egotistical, that we’ve built a pretty successful company. We’re doing more business, we have hired more people and we’ve survived 25 years. I’m proud of that and I’m proud of this company.
When I think about what has made our company so successful, I don’t think about the business deals or the money we’ve made. I know for a fact that our success is directly linked to our people and our culture.
Before I started STS, I worked at several companies where the environment was extremely toxic. People were unhappy and it showed in everything we did. I knew that there had to be a different way to do things. I knew that given the chance, I could prove that it was possible to be different and successful.
My vision for STS was as much about profitability as it was about providing a rewarding work environment for people. As an entrepreneur, the decision to hire is incredibly stressful and risky. In some ways, running a one man operation was much easier than taking on employees. I felt a real sense of obligation to the people I hired and I really did not want to let them down. And to be quite honest, the fear of failing others kept me from hiring more people sooner. I think that if we had hired more people earlier, STS might be bigger and more successful than it is today. (But hindsight is always 20/20, right?)
My sense of obligation to my employees extended beyond making sure they had paychecks and 401Ks – it was about making their job rewarding. I wanted people to be excited to come to work at STS and happy when they went home at night. In many ways, this desire is what gave rise to our company culture.
I felt strongly about providing a work environment that was as enjoyable as it was successful. Our company motto is, “Be nice, it matters.” It may sound simple, even cheesy, but it’s what we live by. We ask our employees to treat everyone with kindness and respect – coworkers, clients, vendors, bus drivers, attendees, even the UPS man. And it makes a huge difference. Our people know the value of being nice to one another, our clients and our vendors because they have seen the results.
What we have today is an atmosphere of kindness, fun and authenticity. Of course, we don’t always get along and sometimes it is a struggle to be genuinely kind to one another, but the general sentiment is one of compassion. And that core value is what keeps everything in perspective. It keeps us focused on the bigger picture and links individual success to the company’s success.
We also have a lot of fun each and every day. No matter what we’re doing, we always make sure to laugh. Proposals can be stressful and the back-to-back shows in July usually test everyone’s patience, but somehow, we always manage to squeeze in a laugh or two.
I’d like to think that this culture has created an environment where people can be their authentic selves. They can be the people at work that they are at home. It takes away a lot of the nonsense and gives way to people who are comfortable in their space and their skin. They are more productive as a result and they take pride in the success of this company.
Today, Stewart Transportation Solutions is a company whose continued success is fueled by the people who come to work here every single day. I believe they come to work because they love what they do and they love this company just as much as I do.