Thank you to The Town Talk for a wonderfully written article celebrating the life of our Founder, Joe Tucker Robison.
Joe Tucker Robison, who founded Crest Industries and built it into one of Central Louisiana's biggest companies, died Wednesday at 86.
Robison started his first company out of the trunk of his car nearly six decades ago. Today, Pineville-based Crest and its subsidiaries employ about 600 people.
"Obviously, the impact he had on our community and a lot of other communities has been tremendous, when you talk about economic development and employment," said Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields.
"He was a great man," said Mike Johnson, president of North Rapides Business and Industry Alliance. "He's a fella who lived the American dream. He showed you can actually dream it and make it happen."
Robison, a Lecompte native, started Mid-State Supply Company in 1958. He grew that into Crest, the holding company for eight companies that serve the electric utility, commercial and industrial electrical contracting and forestry industries.
Robison served as president of Crest until 1997, and remained actively involved in the business until shortly before his death, serving as chairman alongside his sons, Kenny and Scott.
"One time I asked Tucker why he started the company back in 1958," said Kenny Robison, now Crest's chief executive officer. "Tucker said he did not like the way he saw people being treated and business being conducted and that he could serve customers better with honesty and integrity and treat people with dignity and respect. And that's what he did for 57 years."
"As a result of his vision and hard work, thousands of people have benefited, and that's just in the company," Johnson said. "This whole community and region have been made better by him as a person and his life's work."
One of the things Kenny Robison will remember about his father is the way Tucker was always learning — whether that meant honing skills with musical instruments, reading or building machinery with his own hands — and the patience with which he passed that knowledge on to others.
As a businessman, Tucker was "skeptical of conventional wisdom and status quo thinking," Kenny said, and even in the last months of his life "was still thinking 50 years out."
"Tucker left a strong legacy in the family, the business and the communities he touched," Kenny said. "To say I will miss him is the understatement of a lifetime."
Fields said he would always cherish his last visit with Robison, when the two sat and talked for about an hour. To the mayor, the company reflects the personality of its founder, who fostered a family atmosphere and never sought attention.
"Crest Industries is just like him," Fields said. "They do what they do, they do it very well and they let the results speak for themselves."
Robison was born in Lecompte on Dec. 29, 1928. He graduated from Lecompte High School and Louisiana State University. He served two years in the U.S. Army before returning to the Alexandria/Pineville area in the early '50s.
Robison is survived by his wife of 54 years, Edith Nell McLawchlin Robison, three children and eight grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to a charity of your choice or the LSU Foundation-College of Engineering.