Carrying On The Whayne Supply Tradition

By Tom Hale | September 28, 2010

Louisville-based Whayne Supply Co., one of the nation's oldest and largest Caterpillar dealerships, has merged with Boyd Company, LLC, a limited liability corporation wholly owned by Monty L. Boyd, Whayne chairman, president and CEO. The merger of ownership became effective Dec. 31.

While dramatic in nature, the merger will not result in any major company changes. The name will remain Whayne Supply Co. with all the current locations, operations, employees, customers, and suppliers.

"We are expending every effort to make this merger transparent to our employees and through our daily operations provide the highest level of quality service, parts and equipment that our customers have learned to expect," says Boyd. "We look forward to continuing and expanding our existing relationships with our customers and suppliers with the same individual employees they are used to dealing with and are accustomed to seeing. Our commitment is to continue to be the best equipment dealer we can."

The merger has Caterpillar's approval and backing. "Caterpillar has been a true partner and they have been very supportive in enabling the transition to occur," Boyd says.

According to Boyd, the transition — which concluded 95 years of majority ownership by the Whayne family — had been in the planning "for two to three years." He notes that the transition was not driven by the economic downturn, but by desires of the Whayne family to pursue other interests.

"The transition plan was seamless," says Boyd. "It was our goal and the goal of the Whayne family to continue the organization as Whayne Supply. Whayne Supply has 95 years of great history, and has served Kentucky and southern Indiana very well during those years."

Nearly A Century Of Growth

Roy C. Whayne Sr. established Whayne Supply in 1913. He was the sole employee at the time — selling light engines, pumps, wheelbarrows, and bicycles. In 1920, Whayne signed a contract to represent the Holt Manufacturing Co. Five years later, Holt merged with the Best Company to form Caterpillar Tractor Company, and Whayne began its long-term association with Caterpillar.

In the ensuing years, Whayne Supply reached out to new customers and new markets. The company steadily grew under the leadership of Roy C. Whayne Jr. In 1966, Roy Jr. was elected president of the company and he became chairman in 1974. When he died in 2007, he had been associated with the company for nearly 70 years.

Today, Whayne Supply, which employs approximately 1,400 people, operates 15 facilities in 12 cities in Kentucky and southern Indiana. The company is consistently ranked as one of the top Caterpillar dealerships in the country. "We are very proud that we are a Caterpillar dealer and acknowledge the presence and strength that that brings to the marketplace," says Boyd. "We want to continue to perform at a top level."

In addition to Caterpillar, the company represents Terex Reedrill, Trail King trailers, Thomas Built Buses, ExxonMobil lubricants, Challenger tractors, Lexion combines, Sullair air compressors, Allmand light plants, and other lines of equipment.

With its 10 full-service branches and its 12 Whayne — The CAT Rental Stores, Whayne Supply strives to serve the needs of the construction, industrial, mining, and agriculture markets. "We have a very diverse marketplace," says Boyd. "And I think our diversity in these markets has helped us weather the storm when some markets are up and others are down."

Throughout its history, Whayne Supply Co. has remained committed to top quality customer service and business relationships, and a strong bond with employees. These are commitments that the new ownership embraces.

"Our employees know that we are going to do the right things," says Boyd. "We want to ensure that the environment that we create for the employees is one that they want to stay on board, and continue to build on the reputation of the dealership. Our turnover is very low, and the average tenure of service per employee is over 12 years."

Boyd Guiding Whayne Team

Monty Boyd, who became president and CEO of Whayne Supply following the retirement of Bill Pullen in 2005, has been a member of the Whayne team for 24 years. He previously served the company in positions ranging from regional sales manager to executive vice president-operations. Before joining Whayne, Boyd worked with Caterpillar and earned a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nebraska. He also earned an MBA from the University of Louisville.

Like other Whayne employees, Boyd is involved in numerous industry and civic activities. He is on the board of directors of Associated Equipment Distributors, Kentucky Equipment Distributors, Kentucky Coal Association, Kentucky Association of Highway Contractors, Kentuckians for Better Transportation, Boy Scouts, and Louisville Library Foundation, and is a member of the Louisville Rotary Club.

Reaction to the merger from Whayne employees, customers and suppliers has been positive, says Boyd. Also, fellow Caterpillar dealers from around the country have offered their congratulations. "Obviously, all of them understand what a major accomplishment it was to complete this deal under the current economic times," he says. "But, Whayne is well-positioned — we have always been a well-managed company. We are monitoring the market situation and we will make sure we take the right actions to make this operation successful." n