There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes at Stowers Machinery when a customer buys a new machine – if it’s not already on the lot, it needs to be acquired. While many customers may know their Stowers machine sales representative well, they probably don’t know that the man who is busy pulling strings to get that new machine into the customer’s hands is Eddie Collins. And Eddie has had his hand in acquiring just about every new earth moving machine that Stowers has sold for the past 36 years.
“Sometimes I’m driving around town, and I see all this Cat equipment, and I know that, at one time, that piece of equipment came across my desk,” said Eddie, whose official title is sales administration manager. “And then I realize that, for the last 40 years, almost all the construction in East Tennessee, I had something to do with it if there was a Cat machine being used.”
Eddie celebrated both his 60th birthday and 40th Stowers work anniversary in April—but he’s nowhere near done yet. He expects to become one of the very few 50-year Stowers employees. He said he loves his job and definitely has another 10 years in him.
When he first came to Stowers Machinery, Eddie worked in the warehouse and then moved to the parts counter. When he was working at the parts counter, he was a backorder parts clerk—a job that has since been automated.
“Back then, all backorders came to me and I’d check our other stores to see if they had the parts, and if they didn’t, I’d order the parts from Caterpillar,” he explained.
In his current role, Eddie sums up his position as “anything to do with new machines.” That includes ordering machines, machine inventory, scheduling deliveries and finding machines that customers want to buy, that Stowers doesn’t have in inventory. That latter part of his role has required Eddie to work with all the departments of Stowers Machinery, and also to develop strong relationships with other Cat dealers.
“I think that’s my forte, my relationships,” Eddie said.
Next time you buy a new machine, you’ll know that Eddie Collins at Stowers is the middle man pulling the strings behind the process, and he hopes to be doing the same for many years to come.