Bob Walker on Looking to the Interests of Others at Walker Mowers
Bob Walker is the president of Walker Manufacturing Company in Fort Collins, CO. He says that Philippians 2:4, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others," helps him answer the question, "What should we do?" (Click here to explore what this verse says about work.) He and his brother, Dean Walker, run their company of 155 employees according to kingdom principles such as: love, excellence, and integrity. They like to say that "Instead of making lawnmowers, we make beautiful places." Following these kingdom principles has helped them through tough economic times.
This video was made possible by the Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University and produced by Small Business School. Used by permission.
TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO
BOB WALKER: A key part of honoring the Lord is gratitude, being thankful. I’m not lucky, I’m blessed.
BOB WALKER: I’m Bob Walker, president of Walker Manufacturing Company and we’re located in Fort Collins Colorado. We’re sitting in our factory, it’s 216,000 square feet. We have 155 employees and we like to say instead of making lawn mowers, we make beautiful places.
BOB WALKER: I felt a very distinct call to be a Christian business man and that occurred when I heard Mr. LeTourneau give his testimony and how the Lord had called him.
BOB WALKER: I love the story where Jesus fed 5,000 people with one little boy’s lunch. That shows how God’s kingdom is supposed to operate. When we give our little lunch, to use the analogy, I believe the Lord takes what we give him and multiplies it. In this business we’ve been able to see that. You can say, you’ve only got 155 people here and that’s not a very big deal but in my mind when you trace it out, all the suppliers, all the customers, all the people that are touched by what we do here, thousands of people are fed or have some part of their livelihood connected to this company which is I believe the way God’s kingdom is supposed to operate.
KEN BECKER: For me my faith is I treat every lawn mower that I’m making like Christ is going to be getting that lawn mower. I want to make sure that everything is just perfect on it to the best that I can do.
BOB WALKER: My brother got out of college in 1975 so we’ve worked together for a long time.
DEAN WALKER: We try to live our faith. We don’t do a lot of preaching.
We have a list of principles that we put together that highlights what we think and guidelines or goals for the company. One of them says that we love people and use money instead of use people and love money.
BOB WALKER: Even though it’s a very seasonal business and that is if we just made mowers when we needed them we would wait and bring a whole bunch of people and make lawn mowers then shut down when we were done for the season. For us, we felt, as a principle, that we should treat people the way we want to be treated which means people have a full time life, nobody has a seasonal life. So we tried to organize ourselves to have year round employment.
JOE GARCIA: I love working with Bob Walker and Dean Walker. They are both true to their word. Once they tell you they are going to help you, they will.
BOB WALKER: I have a favorite scripture that has helped me across the years. It is Philippians 2:4. It says, “Look not only to your own interest but to the interest of others.”
BOB WALKER: So when you face a decision and you say, “what’s best for us?” The scripture teaches we should be looking also to the interests of these other people. It helps answer the question, “What should I do?”
BOB WALKER: Early in 2009 we began to move into what we call our springtime sales and they just weren’t there. We did not have enough work to keep everybody busy and I know the Lord helped us come up with a solution to save some jobs.
BOB WALKER: We found some work that needed to be done out in the community. We sent work teams out and paid them -- they were on our payroll -- and we did community service. And sure enough, it was the bridge we needed to get into January and February and by the time we got to that point things began to pick up a little bit.
BOB WALKER: The easy thing would have been to lay people off.
SONNY MOLINA: I tell you what brought me here is their integrity and I just love that because they love the lord. I don’t work for the Walkers, I work with them and that’s a big difference.
DEAN: My brother is a man of principal and a man of faith. And that is evident in his life on a daily basis. He’s been very a stabilizing force in our company for years and years. He has really lead by the example of just walking the walk.
BOB WALKER: A favorite questions some of these advisors or business consultants like to ask you, “Tell me what keeps you up at night?” I have often said right back to them, nothing keeps me awake at night. I sleep good almost every night. And there’s another scripture that I like very much. It is Psalm 112:7 which says, “The righteous man does not fear bad news. His heart is steadfast and trusting in the Lord.”
BOB WALKER: The scripture that really helps me, in fact I put it up on my computer screen during that era of 2009 when things were so bad, is Psalm 34:19. It says, “The righteous man may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all.”