May 07, 2014 | 10:56 AM
Mike Bennett started working at Eckart LLC (formerly Eckart Supply Co.) 44 years ago, unloading trucks and stocking shelves "and every other dirty job" in 1969 for the founder of the company, Everett Eckart.
In 2002, after 35 years as vice president of sales, Bennett became CEO and controlling owner of the business.
Now, he's passing the reins to his son.
Effective March 13, Bennett's son, Phillip, was named president of Eckart LLC. Mike Bennett will remain as CEO and chairman of the board and will continue to assist his son in business operations.
"I'm not retiring, and I will remain fully active," Mike Bennett said. "I'm just handing over leadership."
Mike Bennett said that when looking at the contacts he's formed relationships with during his era, many are stepping down and/or retiring themselves.
"I want to keep the business moving forward," he said. "I have all the confidence (Phillip) can do that. We have really good employees."
Phillip Bennett, who is the grandson of the founder, began working at Eckart in 1992.
Other changes that also have taken place recently include: Chad Coffman, who started with the company in 1999, was already CFO and, effective in March, became vice president of purchasing, and Chris Kellem, who started in 1985, is now vice president of sales.
"I'm extremely thankful for the vendor support and employee support to get us where we are today," Mike Bennett said. "We all work hard."