Following the sad news that Jim Scott, the founder and MD of Falkirk-based distributor James Scott & Sons, passed away last month, the catering equipment industry has come together to pay tribute to this well known personality.
Jim’s son and the dealer’s technical director, Martin Scott, recalled his efforts to make the business a success: “He worked 7 days a week and work was sometimes even prioritised over holidays!
“For one project in Glasgow he postponed going away and worked overnight to finish it on time at 12pm that day. Then at 2pm he went on holiday!”
James Scott & Sons is a true family company, as Martin’s brother Stuart is also the marketing director, and Martin’s son Andrew works there too. Martin detailed: “My father was a hard but fair taskmaster; he expected more from me and my brother than anyone else. His wisdom and guidance will be missed.”
Jim was still involved in the company right up until the end of August, but unfortunately his failing health meant that over the last 18 months he progressively had to hand over the reins to the next generation. Diagnoses of heart problems (including a heart attack at just 45 years old, due to stress) and latterly Parkinson’s disease made life more challenging for him.
However up until the last few months he had been running the company from his hospital bed. “He’d always say, ‘it’s my company – I made it and built it’,” commented Martin.
Jim liked to see his employees as friends rather than staff. “We have had the same workforce here for 30 years,” Martin said. “My father was keen to find out about their lives. His loss was felt by everyone, as a family business.”
Martin reported that his father had a great working relationship with nearby Falcon Foodservice Equipment and saw the manufacturer as a role model. The firm’s finance director, William Scott (no relation) was a close friend and said of Jim: “James Scott was a customer of Falcon for many years and the word loyal certainly can be applied to him. He did in his early life work for the business that is now Falcon in the Falkirk factory so he had a link that I believe was never broken.
“He was ‘old school’ in terms of business ethics and was respected by all of the staff who had dealings with him. I know from our discussions that his employees and family were at the top of his agenda.”
William paid tribute to Jim, commenting: “His dedication to the business and family is an example that many of us should look to follow. Our discussions were helpful to both of us – we shared many issues and it was comforting to find that advice given and received helped us to see a positive way forward. I will always be able to hear the sound of his voice on my telephone.”
CEDA technical support, Peter Kay, also has warm memories of Jim: “I always found him to be a reasonable and very hard working man and I am sure his drive will be sadly missed in the business.
“I first met Jim Scott in 1976 when I sold him my first ever Stott Shelcon dishwasher conveyor for an installation at Windscale atomic power station (now Sellafield). I believe it was one of his first projects after starting his own business. Our paths crossed again in the late 1990s when I had my own business selling mechanised dishwashing systems and I got a couple of orders from him for projects in Edinburgh. It is a coincidence that the very last project I worked on before selling my share of my business was again for Jimmy with an installation at Conoco Phillips in Aberdeen.
Outside of work Jim had a passion for music, obtaining a music degree, teaching music and playing the church organ for a number of years. He also loved boats and learned to sail – captaining his 37ft motor cruiser until he was 80 years old.
Furthermore he served in the RAF in Hamburg and was 5 hours away from gaining a full pilot’s licence when high blood pressure ruled him out of solo flying. Subsequently he still liked to book flying lessons every now and then, however.