In 2010, it will be 30 years for Walker Manufacturing in the lawn mower business. My brother and I, our sisters, our parents and our families count it a real privilege to have lived this story from the start; what a ride it has been!
How have we done it? Most of our readers probably have already heard our story so I won’t repeat it now, but I wanted to comment on the “good things” that I believe have brought us this far, along with what has given us a measure of success.
First, in 1977 we had a good product idea to design a compact zero-turn riding mower with a built-in grass collection system. That idea and continued refinement of the product have served our customers very well across all these years.
Second, there was good timing. In 1980, it was a great time to introduce a new ZTR mower to the market because all of the major outdoor power equipment manufacturers were “stuck” on steering wheel and foot pedal controls for their mowers, and it would be 10-15 years before they would offer a ZTR mower of their own.
Lastly, we were able to find good people to work with —both in the factory and outside—employees, suppliers, distributors and dealers who invested their time, talent (and for some, their treasure), and worked diligently to move the project along.
How did all these good things happen? That question reminds me of the time I saw Bob Hope, the renowned entertainer, in person at a program presented for the attendees of the International Lawn & Garden Power Equipment show in Louisville, Kentucky, in the mid-80s. After his monologue of humor, he struck a serious note, and in a moment of reflecting on his life and success, Mr. Hope summed it all up by saying, “I’ve been (expletive) lucky”.
That explanation would not work for us. A couple of my Dad’s favorite scriptures that he used to quote say it best: “The LORD has done great things for us, whereof we are glad”, Psalm 126:3, and “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth”, Psalm 121:1-2.
Indeed, we are blessed.