There was a time when a person took a job with a company and ended up staying there for 20, 30, even 40 years.
Melvin Bennett, 67, of Cogan Station, is one of those people.
This month, Bennett, a mechanic with C.H. Waltz Sons Inc. is celebrating 50 years with the company.
Melvin Bennett, 67, seen here on a C. H. Waltz Sons Inc. bulldozer, has worked for the firm for 50 years.
Those are years he doesn't regret.
"I actually started here when I was 15," said Bennett. "I would come after school and do odds and ends."
Bennett, who grew up on a dairy farm not from the business at 6570 State Route 973, became one of its more valuable employees.
Ted Waltz, who owns the company, has known Bennett nearly all his life.
He said it will be difficult to ever replace Bennett when he decides to retire.
"He's a very gifted mechanic," he said.
Bennett, for his part, has no plans to put away his tools.
As long as his health remains good, he plans on staying on the job.
That's good news for the business, Waltz said, as there is no one quite like Bennett. He's the kind of mechanic who can fix just about any machine that comes into the business.
"I think he's very intelligent and a good troubleshooter," said company vice president Deanna Boehret. "He's a good teacher for our younger mechanics."
Co-worker Gus Boehret said Bennett is the type of mechanic who can simply look at a piece of machinery with which he's not familiar and figure it out.
"I like to find out how things work," Bennett said simply.
Bennett's mechanical expertise goes beyond repairing the lawn care and garden, construction and agricultural equipment that C.H. Waltz Sons sells, rents out and fixes.
He and his son, Terry, like to build engines for vehicles used in tractor pulling contests.
"When he builds them, they win," Waltz said with a smile.
Growing up on a farm, Bennett said, helped him learn about mechanics.
"In high school I was in the vo-agriculture program," he said. "I learned a lot from my ag teacher."
Bennett said he's picked up a lot about machinery over the years from working at C.H. Waltz.
He's seen the company grow, from mostly selling and repairing agricultural machinery to more sophisticated equipment.
When he started working, the company had just one repair bay.
It now has five bays and employs between 25 and 30 people.
In 1999 the store underwent a major expansion, growing from a 1,500 square foot facility into a 25,000 square foot complex to include a showroom, parts department and other offices.
"We have a nice modern shop to work in now," he said.
Why has he stayed with one company so long?
"I guess I'm kind of a loyal person," he said. "Ted and I were always very close. Everyone has been good to me."
Bennett said except for some brief periods when he worked around the store doing paper work and working as a service manager, he's always been been a mechanic with the company.
Company employees, friends and family members of Bennett held a party for him Friday at the store.