Remembering an Industry Icon: Jack Scott, 1931-2020
by Bryan Beitler
Vice President, Engineering and Energy Optimization
Jack Scott, cofounder of Scott Polar Refrigeration of Twin Falls, Idaho, passed away recently. Our prayers and condolences go out to his family. For those of you who did not have the pleasure of knowing Jack, I’d like to share a few thoughts about the man who developed the vision for what CoolSys is today.
In 1949, Jack started in the business when he and his father, Leonard, opened Scott’s Refrigeration in Twin Falls, Idaho. Jack’s first service call was on his bicycle. His second was in a taxicab, and by the third or fourth call, he had a truck to drive. Jack was a hardworking man who learned the business from the ground up. He also was an innovator — he and his son, Doug, registered three patents for refrigeration techniques that are still in use today.
In terms of character and integrity, Jack was unmatched in our industry. He built his business on the principles of fairness and honesty, and he thrived in an era when his handshake could be taken to the bank. One of Jack’s primary mottos was, “If you can’t take the time to build or fix it right, don’t do it at all!” He preached that message to everyone around him.
For four years, Jack served our country in the U.S. Navy. He married his sweetheart, Donna, before enlisting, and they raised three boys and three girls. At one time or another, all members of the Scott family worked in the business; son Greg and grandson Garrett still work for CoolSys in our Idaho Falls branch. Family meant a great deal to Jack, and his grew over the years to include 21 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.
As Scott’s Refrigeration expanded in the intermountain areas of Idaho, Utah and Nevada, Jack brought together a unique blend of talented individuals. His original vision — a contracting business with multiple locations that provided a quality customer experience and offered opportunities for all who wished to put in the hard work — continues today. Jack surrounded himself with people who excelled in a wide range of skills: engineering, installation, manufacturing of “Polar Systems,” HVAC and sheet metal installations, a fixture and equipment refurbishing business, a scale department, sales of new cases and equipment, and, of course, the mainstay: service and maintenance of a variety of refrigeration and HVAC equipment.
Over the span of his career, Jack provided opportunities to many in our trade, who took what they learned and turned that knowledge into a career. I had the good fortune of working for Jack, starting in 1980. I owe a lot of my success to things I learned while living in Twin Falls and working for Scott-Polar.
There are few in our industry who haven’t met or heard of Jack or have a story about an experience with him as a customer, vendor or colleague. Although he had been retired since 1997, his legacy lives on every day in our Rocky Mountain region, where Scott-Polar was based. It is one of the most stable, profitable and consistent regions within our organization. Jack would be proud.
Steve Cook and I had the privilege of speaking at Jack’s memorial service. We offered him a simple thanks for what he did for so many and for having been a driving force in building the nucleus of what CoolSys stands for and is today.
We learned many things from Jack, and as big as our company has grown, the basic principles he preached still apply today: Build it right and build it to last. Every service call is the most critical call of the day. Our customers are king. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Work and live with honor and integrity. And if you do all of that, tomorrow will be a better day than today.
Rest in peace, Jack.