From the Sea to the Road


Thompson & Johnson Equipment Co., Inc. is a second-generation family-owned company serving the material-handling industry. Lines of equipment include Toyota, Crown, and Clark forklifts; Hawker industrial batteries and chargers; Advance sweepers and scrubbers; and Bobcat products. The company has four locations in New York State – Syracuse, Albany, Binghamton and Elmira – and 130 employees with an average tenure of 12 years. Thompson & Johnson has more than 1,000 customers in the warehousing, distribution, and manufacturing fields. The company was founded in 1954.

Thompson & Johnson recognizes the importance of military service and complies with all federal and state regulations relating to military leaves of absence, encampment, and temporary military duty.


Doug Barton spent three years on active duty in the United States Navy and one year in the Navy Reserve before separating as a petty officer third class. In the sea service, he operated and maintained steam turbine evaporators and generators. His job title at Thompson & Johnson is road mechanic. He travels to customer locations to diagnose, repair, and perform planned maintenance work on material-handling equipment. He joined the company in 1978.

He said that all the paperwork he did in the military has helped at Thompson & Johnson. “The skills learned in the military of using manuals and processing paperwork has helped me on the job,” he said. But his technical training also helped: “I would have to say that working on generators and cross-training with electric were experiences in the military that helped me find my first civilian opportunity.”

He likes the personal nature of his current company. “Thompson & Johnson is a great place to work for veterans because they treat you like a person and not just a number,” he said.
Barton recommends that veterans use all available resources. “The advice I would give to others who are leaving the military would be to use all service groups that help veterans find employment,” Barton said.

This article appeared in the July-August 2015 issue of Search & Employ Magazine