Jay Gould came to Shepley 42 years ago as a 23 year old. He had some industry experience and he had a heavy truck license but more importantly, he had some key special ingredients that don’t show up on a resume or a driver’s license. He had intelligence, character, and a work ethic that I could see right off. He cared and he wanted to do things right. The mark of a good relationship is not that you both agree on everything, but that you find a way to make the things work that you don’t agree on.
In 42 years, I am sure I have tested Jay’s patience many, many times. Our running joke for every new project is my saying, “this will only take 10 minutes, and we’re going to have fun doing it”. Jay got so good at this and now he is the one saying it. He beats me to the punch. The jist of it is that a lot of life’s results come from the way we approach things. We don’t know the outcome, we only know the beginning. Good programming, positive thinking, and steady application help us scale mountains we didn’t think we could climb. Jay has become an incredible mountaineer over these years and always kept a sense of humor to maintain his perspective.
The people we are most likely to admire are those who make life about others and who don’t just make it all about themselves. Jay makes it about those around him.
The people we are most likely to admire are those who make life about others and who don’t just make it all about themselves. Jay makes it about those around him. He’s a giver. Jay has always been full of good thoughtful ideas. So many conversations have begun with his saying, “I’ve been thinking...” and then I knew I would hear a great idea. Jay never wasted a moment behind the wheel!
He has done pretty much every function on the operations side of our business from load-building, to equipment operating, to driving anything with wheels. In 1988, we bought our first boom truck. This was a huge deal for us as it was a big expense, but it also ushered in the age of mechanical vs manual unloading for Shepley. Because this was our first boom, it came with a steep learning curve. Jay was the obvious choice to pilot this new machine. We could only rehearse so much in the safety of the yard. Then it was out to the challenges of jobsites to learn the real world conditions in which we had to operate. Very different from operating on a flat, level, yard surface with no trees, and overhead wires or other obstructions, to going out into the challenging conditions of mud, sand, low clearance, and all that jobsites have to offer. I had to trust Jay to learn on the job and learn he did! I never questioned my trust in him and he always found a way to make things work.
Although he used to say he didn’t want to manage other people, he is a great leader and a couple of years ago, he said he wanted to take himself off the road as a trailer truck/ Moffett demountable forklift driver and concentrate on training newer hires in the yard. As good as Jay has always been, he really took himself to a new level, sharing his knowledge and experience with others while coaching and training in his own “Jay “ way. The level of respect that others throughout the company have for him is matched only by the respect and affection we hear from our customers for him. Plenty of raving fans for this man!
For 42 years, Jay Gould has been a wonderful constant in our company and our lives. Jay is retiring as I write this. We will miss him! However, Jay being Jay, he leaves a legacy that will continue on. His good ideas will still be bearing fruit, his training will keep working in those he trained, and his influence on Shepley will stay strong. It’s not just what we do, it is also the importance of how what we create remains in place. Jay is starting retirement with a nice long trip that will take him to warmer climates, catch him up with old friends from all over, and he will be opening up a whole new well-earned chapter as he retires. There won’t be a day when we won’t think of him fondly and wish him all the good he deserves. Thanks for paying it forward, Jay! We salute you for who you are and how you have touched us all!