But if you ask CEO Jim Stephenson, the fourth generation of leadership, he’ll say it begins with the people who have helped define the family owned company and its place in history.
With a mission statement that reads, “Serve … Solve … Succeed,” it is the employees who stand at the front lines of delivering on the promise behind the Yancey name. That is what makes Cobb such a part of its success story. In 1969, Yancey Bros. Co. relocated to from Northside Drive in Atlanta to Austell, four miles outside I-285, where it found an area that could give it what was needed to expand. Today, Yancey is one of Cobb’s largest employers.
“Our employees take tremendous pride in the products we sell, the parts we deliver and the services we provide in our shops or out in the field,” Stephenson said. “We work very hard every day to make sure our customers have the right products and the right support to get their jobs done. We are very proud to call Cobb County our home. We have found really good people here over the years.”
Brothers Goodloe and Earle Yancey founded Yancey Bros. Co. in 1914. It actually began as the Yancey Hardware Company, selling hardware, picks, shovels and prison uniforms (stripes) to government agencies and prisons. They eventually became the first U.S. dealer for the Adams Mule Grader, a predecessor of today’s motorgrader, which was pulled by eight mules.
Through economic booms, recessions and shifts in technology, Yancey Bros. Co. forged ahead, hitting its biggest milestone in 1925, when it became a Caterpillar dealer. The partnership gave Yancey the premium construction equipment product it needed to sell.
“The Caterpillar product line is the broadest of any manufacturer, and being able to represent it in Georgia is one of the reasons we’ve been able to reach our 100th anniversary,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson joined the Yancey leadership team when he and his wife, Donna, the daughter of former president Don Yancey, agreed to become the company’s primary stockholders. He was named president and CEO in September 1995. The Stephenson’s completed their purchase of the company in February 1996 and assumed responsibility for leading the company into the 10th decade of service to customers throughout the state of Georgia.
Today, Stephenson continues his commitment to making the Yancey name part of Georgia’s history. Roads and bridges. Runways. Shopping centers. Ball fields and golf courses. Subdivisions and office buildings. You name it, and Yancey Bros. Co. most likely has been — and will be — a part of it.
“If you look back at every decade, you’ll find significant events and projects that we have been fortunate to have been involved with,” Stephenson said. “All of these helped shape our company and the state. The interstate system was one of these. Helping to build and improve the state roads and highways has led to amazing growth of our towns and cities.”
Caterpillar is recognized worldwide as the premier heavy equipment brand and the world’s leading supplier of mining and construction equipment, forestry equipment and engines and power solutions. In Georgia, Yancey Bros. Co and CAT are synonymous. Most recently, Yancey Bros. Co. expanded its product offering into new businesses by becoming the Bluebird Bus dealer in Georgia, handling sales and service for all Bluebird buses around the state. Yancey also represents International Truck in the southern half of the state. In addition, it recently opened a store in McDonough solely focused on used equipment, parts and rebuilding Caterpillar machines for customers around the world.
Powered by the recent economic resurgence, Yancey Bros. Co. is primed for the next round of growth. Stephenson credits new housing construction, which is up across Cobb and the rest of the state, and the continual improvements to the state’s roads and highways, as positive signs of things to come.
“My wish for the next 100 years is that every member of the Yancey family today will be with us for the rest of their careers,” Stephenson said. “The same for the new people we hire. As we go forward, I want them to be proud to come to work, and to have the same loyalty and passion that we have been fortunate to see with those who helped build this company over the past 100 years.”