Thompson Tractor Company History
Mike Thompson was only two years old when his father, Hall W. Thompson, moved the family from Nashville, TN to Birmingham, AL to assume ownership of the tractor company he purchased in North Alabama in 1957. Mike, who served as President of Thompson Tractor Co., Inc from 1986 – 2019, notes that his earliest memories are of playing on and around tractors. His father’s most vivid memory, however, is of the company’s frightening first month of business.
“We made a single machine sale in December 1957 and lost $40,000 of our limited capital,” Hall Thompson said. “Fortunately that was our last red ink month.”
Over the ensuing six decades, Thompson Tractor Company has grown through the lines of products it carried, more locations and territories, and through its unwavering commitment to customer service once a sale had been made.
Diversification and response to shifting market demands have been as important to Thompson Tractor’s growth as its representation of Caterpillar, a manufacturer with a global reputation for quality design and construction. Throughout our history, we have been there to support our customers and our communities. The Eisenhower Defense Act of 1956 led to a huge demand in heavy equipment for the construction of the interstate highway system. Thompson Tractor was there to supply the bulldozers, scrapers and graders necessary for road building. The 1970s was an increase in the worldwide demand for coal that led to growth in the strip mining industry which required tractors, loaders and trucks. The 1990s saw a boom in residential construction and other major construction projects that created additional demand for heavy machinery. In recent years, new industries, such as automotive manufacturing and information technology data warehousing, have driven projects that require our products and services.
“We’d like to be recognized as a business partner by our customers,” Mike Thompson relates. “We provide our customers with one-stop shopping for equipment sales, rental and leasing, and parts and service for that equipment. We have options on used parts and used equipment as well. We want to be known for the value we offer.”
Thompson Tractor celebrated a major milestone in 2019 with the succession of Lucy Thompson Marsh as the fourth generation of the Thompson family to serve as a Caterpillar Dealer-Principal. Moreover, Lucy is one of only five female Caterpillar Dealer-Principals in the United States. Lucy became President and COO in 2019. She became CEO in 2021.