Scott-Macon Equipment celebrates 50 years
By Bob Dimmitt06 July 2023
Commemorating its 50th anniversary, Scott-Macon Equipment (SME) has been built on a foundation of service excellence. The company has grown from its initial crane yard in Houston to locations throughout Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. With dealership operations complimenting an expansive crane rental fleet, Scott-Macon is recognized for its outstanding service and product support capabilities.
While the company was founded by Al Scott in 1973, SME’s history began almost two decades earlier. In 1956, fresh out of law school and an entrepreneur at heart, Al Scott decided to start a leasing business focused on lifting equipment.
With the purchase of a used Bay City truck crane, Al formed Bell Equipment. Under his leadership, Bell grew into a worldwide rental company and equipment dealer. Bell was a pioneer in introducing turnkey equipment rental contracts under which all of a customer’s equipment and tool needs for a particular project or facility were handled through Bell. Al expanded Bell’s operations into specialty engineering and equipment distribution, handling such brands as American Hoist, Grove and Liebherr tower cranes. Bell led the nationwide rollout of Pettibone cranes.
Still in his mid-30s, Al sold Bell Equipment in 1968 and joined Oppenheimer & Company, where he advised corporations on mergers and acquisitions, and debt and equity financing. Ever the entrepreneur, in 1973 he founded a New York-based boutique investment bank, Scott-Macon, Ltd.
Al was approached by a former Bell customer to consider starting another equipment business. Al’s entrepreneurial spirit took hold and he founded Scott-Macon Equipment on a five-acre site in Houston, where he built a fleet of rough terrain and crawler cranes.
Al’s early vision for SME was a regionally-focused business built on the same core value that led to Bell Equipment’s success. In recounting those early days, Al was clear he did not want to expand SME into worldwide operations. He assessed that a narrower geographic focus on the Gulf Coast, combined with strong customer service, would be more attractive to customers.
Growth and expansion
As SME’s fleet expanded, so did its customer base. The company carried several crane brands to meet customer preferences and began building out significant equipment service operations with a core group of service personnel.
After 20 years, SME’s business, personnel and rental fleet had grown exponentially. Al expanded the company’s senior management team, many of whom continue in key roles. Senior Managing Director Bob Dimmitt and Executive Vice President Allan Woodruff recount their experience.
“All of us that had the privilege of working with Al during the company’s early days feel fortunate to have had their careers guided and impacted by him,” said Dimmitt. “It was an exciting time with a lot of moving pieces and long hours.”
Woodruff noted, “Al was an amazing mentor whose depth of knowledge of the industry was second to none. He led by example and treated his employees as family.”
SME’s third decade was marked by geographic and dealership expansion, becoming one of the early distributors of Mantis cranes. The company established its first branch in Houma, LA, later adding branches in Tulsa and Corpus Christi. SME was appointed as a Terex rough terrain dealer, and Al Scott’s son, Alex Scott, joined the management team.
SME’s fourth decade included facility expansion in Houston, Tulsa and Houma, along with new branches in Baton Rouge, Dallas and San Antonio. SME became a Broderson and Tadano distributor.
Al Scott was an early advocate for creating a regional association to focus on issues confronting crane owners. That early concept evolved into the Texas Crane Owners Association. Entering into its fifth decade, SME built a new headquarters and parts warehouse in Houston, complementing a state-of-the-art service center and paint booth. The company expanded its representation of Tadano’s product lines and was appointed a Kobelco dealer. In 2021, Alex Scott was named president, while Al remained chairman of the board. Sadly, just as SME approached its 50th year in business, Al Scott passed away in 2022. His unexpected death deeply impacted everyone in the company.
“What I think is unique about Scott-Macon Equipment is the longevity that we see with our employees,” said Alex Scott. “It is a testament to the corporate culture my father created and under which the current management team grew. When my father was at a branch, he would visit with as many employees as he could. The number of “Al Scott” stories from his nearly seven decades in the industry are limitless.”
Today, the SME team continues Al Scott’s vision of providing customers with superior service and product support every day.