Jack Foster’s wife, Kathleen, was quick to point out, “Jack was a pioneer in the industry.”
Jack explained that when other car crushing companies were still using “cranes and a loader or dozer or whatever,” he was buying some of the first pieces of heavy equipment designed for the car crushing industry.
“I bought one of the first Al-jon #20 crushers for the business,” Jack said. “And I bought the second MAC Mobile crusher made.”
Jack’s brother, Stanley, was working for him at the time, and Stanley made some modifications to the crushers that later became standard, including what Jack called an “automatic rev.” He said that the crushers were too noisy, even when they weren’t working, because they were constantly running at the same speed. With the modification, “it would rev itself down and it would rev up when it was under a strain.”
“All of Jack’s brothers have worked for him at some time,” Kathleen said. Jack’s sons David, Paul and Douglas also worked for him, as have some of the grandsons, including David Jr., who now runs the day-to-day operations.
The business got its start in 1961 as Jack’s Auto Parts, which later became Foster’s Auto Crushing. Then, “Jack went into semi-retirement,” Kathleen said. He took a break from the 1980 until 1996 when he and Kathleen founded Foster Services.
“David Sr. was our car buyer,” Kathleen said of Jack’s son. “He was an integral part of our corporation.” David Sr. passed away a few years ago, but not before his son, also named David, joined the business.
“I started there fresh out of college,” David said. He wanted to work for the company after high school, but his father refused to hire him unless he finished college first. Even then, his father turned him down, but David called his grandfather on the day he graduated from college, and started work the next day.
His education wasn’t over. David started out as a loader, then moved to the office, and later ran the baling division. Now, he’s running the business, under Jack’s watchful eye. “He watches over me,” David said, but added that in the ten years he’s worked for Jack – and even with the two of them in the same office for the past four years – there’s never been an argument.
“We agree to disagree,” David said, of the infrequent times they have a difference of opinion, but it never turns into an argument. “Jack’s a very laid-back individual,” he said.
Now, Foster Services has 24 car crushers, which Jack noted included an old one that “maybe shouldn’t be” counted, and the company operates in three states – Florida, Georgia and Alabama. “We are probably the biggest family-owned [car crushing] business,” Jack said.
Both Jack and David said that they enjoy the business because it’s always changing, and Jack has seen his share of it. From new car crushing technology to the latest environmental requirements, Jack has been along for the ride, and he’s still hanging on. “Jack is 76 years old,” Kathleen said, “and he refuses to retire.”
Jack enjoys mentoring his grandson, and keeping an eye on the business. “David is very good with the customers,” he said.
As for David, he said, “If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it.”