Mike Rogers typically doesn’t want the spotlight on him.
But for a brief time Wednesday afternoon, the longtime employee at Culpeper Wood Preservers received some well-deserved recognition.
Employees at the lumber pressure treating company gathered for a catered lunch from The Chicken Inn to celebrate a milestone.
Rogers has been with the company for 40 years, the first employee to reach that mark, Vice President Jay Macy said.
Macy presented Rogers with a plaque and Rogers also will receive a $10,000 bonus. He previously received a $30,000 bonus when he reached 30 years.
“It’s actually unheard of anymore,” Rogers said of working at the same company for 40 years. “I’m proud of what I’ve done. I just wish my dad was still around but I never was one to jump around from job to job.”
This is the third full-time job he has held in his life, he said.
Rogers came to Shelbyville in 1982 from Culpeper, Va., where the company is based, when he was asked to help start the local plant. The owner asked if he would stay a year and he agreed.
He never left Shelbyville, despite missing the Blue Ridge Mountains when he lived in Virginia.
Rogers built the treatment plant – twice.
He first spearheaded the project by building the original plant in 1982. Then, in 2015, a fire forced the company to rebuild.
The rebuild took three years and Rogers remembers working in the wintertime when the wind chill was 30 below and there was no heat except from portable heaters.
“By far, I don’t think you’ll ever meet a more dedicated, more loyal company man,” Macy said. He’s been here since the very beginning. They say everyone can be replaced. I think this is the exception. That gentleman contains so much information, he’s invaluable. We all know there will be a day (when he retires), some day soon, probably, and none of us look forward to it.”
As the operations and treating manager, it’s his job to take care of the maintenance of the plant, keeping the chemical orders and making sure the proper items get treated. He oversees making sure the operation runs smoothly.
“I’ve enjoyed working at Culpeper Wood,” he said. “They’ve been good to me. I can’t complain.”
Macy said he’s irreplaceable.
“In today’s age, it seems we’re lucky to find somebody that can stick around for a year,” he said. “When you compare that to a man that’s done that for 40, and still counting, that won’t be repeated anytime soon. That’s for sure.”
The local plant has 25 full-time employees and 20 part-time who work in production. There are a couple employees who are approaching 30 years, Macy said.
The average tenure at the company is around 23 years.
Rogers is unsure how long he will continue working at Culpeper. He may retire after 40 years, or he may not. He’s not sure what the future holds.
“When you work for this company, if you earn it, they give it to you,” he said. “You have to earn it. They don’t give you anything. You’ve got to earn it and I’m proud to be with them for 40 years. I might stick around for 45. I don’t know.”