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The last company man: Dick Wood retires after 50 years with same business
In an age when people change jobs about as often as they do hairstyles, Dick Wood has become an anomaly. He's been employed with Aronson-Campbell Industrial Supply for over 50 years.
The company man finally retired on June 15, with his co-workers in Bellevue throwing a surprise luncheon to honor him.
Aronson-Campbell was a Seattle-based hardware store when Wood, now 67, joined the outfit in 1958. He started as a floor sweeper and worked his way to outside sales once the company entered the industrial-supply business around 1969.
Wood eventually became a general manager and then moved to inside sales, where he finished his career.
"It's been a long time in the same field, but I wouldn't change it for anything," he said.
Wood's co-workers use terms like "human encyclopedia" and "walking computer" to describe him. They say he was the guy with all the answers.
Aronson-Campbell President John Buchberger says Wood had a deep understanding of what all 500 or so of the company's manufacturers could offer, and that made him stand out with clients.
"He knows exactly where to go with the customers' needs," John said before the luncheon. "He's a very valuable asset here."
Wood also gave his co-workers hope during tough economic times, according to Aronson-Campbell Vice President Bruce Buchberger.
"You get that kind of experience, and it has a kind of calming effect on all the other employees," he said. "He's been through it before, and he showed them how to plug away and survive."
Wood said he plans to spend more time golfing and visiting with grandchildren during his retirement, but Bruce is betting he won't stay away from work for long.
"I don't think he can go cold turkey after 50 years," he said.
Bruce may be right. Wood has volunteered to cover for former co-workers whenever they're on vacation or sick leave.