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Williams Sewer & Drain named top small business

To hear Lee Anne Cowart tell it, Scott Williams' workday is not like most others.

"When he has a crappy day, he thinks it's just great," Mrs. Cowart quipped during last Thursday's Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours and Small Business of the Year ceremony. "He thinks stinking smells good."

Mr. Williams, whose family business - Williams Sewer and Drain - was named the 2009 Small Business of The Year, said the honor was "shocking."

"I have no idea what to say," he told the audience, adding that he thought he was attending the gathering because his brother-in-law, Stan Tam, was receiving the honor. "It's just mind blowing."

Mrs. Cowart, the owner of Lee Anne Cowart Interiors and the 2008 recipient of the Small Business of the Year honor, praised Mr. Williams for his commitment to the community, his customers and hard work.

"You are always smiling and give the best of yourself," she said.Started as a one-truck septic tank cleaning service in 1969 by Mr. Williams' father, Jerry, the company has seen various name changes and expansions in the last three decades. Now, operating with 11 employees and eight trucks, two jetting machine trailers, a 2007 John Deere Backhoe and a 2008 Volvo Excavator, the company now also handles minor and major plumbing projects, along with renting, leasing and servicing a fleet of more than 400 portable toilets.

Jerry Williams credited his son with shepherding the growth of the company, and said he was shocked and happy to hear the announcement last week.

"I was very proud for Scott's sake," Jerry Williams said. "Had it not been for his involvement, (the business) never would have been where it is today. He has taken it to higher ground than I ever would have probably. I'm just a proud father is all I can say."

As part of its commitment to the community, Mr. Williams said the company often donates the use of the portable toilets to events like the Denim-N-Diamonds concert, various Relay for Life fundraisers and events, the annual Christmas parade, school fundraisers and various church functions.

Williams Sewer and Drain is also an active member of the McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau and the National Home Builders Association.

During Thursday night's ceremony, Mr. Williams credited the employees with the company's success.

"I don't know what I'd do without y'all," he said.

Prior to the presentation, Mrs. Cowart - who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her business - reflected on her business philosophies, family and influences while thanking the chamber for recognizing her last year. She said she learned business lessons while working in her father's pharmacy in Macon.

"I did whatever my Daddy said to do, and I did it better than I was supposed to, because that's what my Daddy expected," she said, adding that he taught her the most important lesson: 'Whether you sell lamps or sell drugs, the most important thing is that you love it with every fiber of your being.' I have a passion for helping sick houses, not sick people."

Web posted on Thursday, June 11, 2009

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