Let the doomsayers and gloom mongers decry the nation's falling productivity. In rebuttal, INC. points to Graham T. Eddleston, America's $6.3 million man.
Eddleston, 38, is president, founder, owner, and sole employee of Sterling Oil & Chemical Co., of Southfield, Mich., a manufacturer of industrial lubricants for the Detroit automotive market. Founded in 1976, with money from "a friendly banker" and an additive Eddleston had developed in the waste-oil business, the company grew from $2.2 million in sales for 1977 to $6.3 million for 1981. And 1982 promises to be even better; by the end of the third quarter Eddleston's solo effort had passed the $10 million mark.
Eddleston does it all alone, blending and compounding industrial lubricants and hydraulic oils; buying and brokering oil; and subcontracting out his tankers, trailers, and tanks. His bookkeeping is computerized, and he uses temporary secretarial help.
"We compete against major oil companies," Eddleston explains, "so service is the key. Detroit is hardly thriving, but we have to turn away business."
We? Does Eddleston have a secret employee hidden away in his suburban Detroit office? "No," he says, "I always use 'we.' I think it just sounds too egotistical to constantly say 'I' with a company of this size."