By: Craig R Gullung Sr.
Lawson was originally founded by Tom B. Lawson Jr. “TB” as he was commonly known by was born in 1913 and raised in Center, TX where he learned to play football and often rode a horse and buggy to school. In the early 1930’s, upon graduating high school, Tom Jr. was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Missouri where he studied Business Administration. A few years later he moved to the New Orleans area landing a job with Homeco working in the oilfield boom where he gained valuable hands on experience. Through this experience and his business schooling he decide to save up and start his own business.
In Early 1949 he started Lawson, which was the first filter, battery, and hose supplier located on the Harvey Canal. Starting with only him and his trusty companion “Jack” he began on his journey. Some of Lawson’s first customers were Jay Ray McDermott Inc, and Bisso Marine. McDermott moved out of Lawson’s area of service while Bisso Marine remained and is one of our best customers to this day!
Lawson was faced with many obstacles but continued to persevere, and in 1964 “TB” decided to incorporate the company and bring on his son, Tom B. Lawson III, as the Vice President, and his daughter Gail Lawson Cook as the Secretary of Treasure. Trusty “Jack” became the General Manager. Later, in 1966 the newly named Lawson and Company Inc. moved to a warehouse that currently exists on 505 Bark Rd Harvey, La.
The newly formed company continued to prosper and about 10 years later “TB” was able to return to his hometown and purchase the ranch he had dreamed of owning. He always remained committed to the company and would commute one week out of every month to ensure the business was on the right path. For nearly 20 years “TB” would look forward to his monthly trips to his former home. At the age of 82, the founder of Lawson and Company Inc. Tom B Lawson Jr. was diagnosed with cancer and was unable to continue on with us.
In 1995, He left the company in good hands, as his son Tom III became President and bought the remaining shares of stock from previous holders. Tom III continued in his father’s footsteps and managed the company, along with the help of their longtime employee and family friend “Jack”. Tom lead the company through many obstacles, including Hurricane Katrina, The BP Oil Spill, and other economic difficulties in the mid-late 2000’s.
Late in 2009 trusty “Jack” decided to retire, which was a surprise to most. Tom said “Finding people like Jack is rare, he was here from the start.” This is when Chad Perry was asked to fill the General Managers position. Tom then decided to consider his own retirement and in 2011 he began to investigated his options. Without anyone to pass the torch on to, he decided it be best to place the company up for sale. He received a great number of inquires, but he wasn’t just going to give it away or change what his father had worked his life to build. He also had a major concern for the existing employees, which gave me and Chad the idea to take advantage of the greatest opportunity of our lives. Why don’t we purchase Lawson? Why don’t we continue the success of 2 great men? How much will it cost? How can we do it? We discussed our options and our resources kept bringing us to a dead-end. We finally expressed our interest to Tom and he blessed us with the “gift” as long as we continued to build on what his father started. He offered to owner finance the company to us! We gladly excepted the commitment and in January 2013 we became the new owners and renamed the company to Lawson Filters and Supply. As new owners we have an increased value to our customers and the service we provide, as we have an honorable legacy to live up to. We hope to continue the success of this business until the new chapter is written. Or until the torch is passed to the next writer.