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Parsons Office Systems, which started in Waco by Harold Parsons in 1944, has kept up with changes in office equipment during the years but it maintains a staff of veteran employees. Included are (from left) Chad Cohrs, director of channel sales; Bob Whatley, company vice president; and Ray Parsons, owner.

Parsons Office Systems isn't abandoning its roots as it con-tinues into a high-tech future. These days, even as Parsons intro-duces updated versions of its own business computer software, the company has a technician on staff who can fix a typewriter, said Ray Parsons, president and grandson of company founder Har¬old Parsons.

The soft ware — IMS,or Imaging Made Simple — and mailing equipment are Parsons' most active enter¬prises right now, Ray Par-sons said.

The company is adding to its staff because of the mailing equipment sideline, he said.Parsons is tripling the size of the Central Texas area where it serves as dealer for F.P. Mailing Solutions equipment, he said.The sales area will extend from Hillsboro to San Marcos and from Bryan-College Station to Brownwood.Parsons will be hiring a full-time sales person and at least 15 part-time sales representatives who will roam the region to drum up busi¬ness, he said.Harold Parsons started the corn¬pany in 1944 at his home on Gorman Avenue in Waco two years after ar-riving in the city."He'd come from Fort Worth look-ing for employment," said grand¬son Ray Parsons, 56. "He worked for a typewriter company for a couple of years and then decided to go out on his own."The company stayed in a building at the family homestead until 1976, when it moved to 212 Lake Air Drive.The business was passed from Harold Parsons to his son, Don, and then to Ray. It changed its product line as office equipment evolved.Copiers, mailing equipment, shredders and scanners have all be-come part of Parsons' business line.Ray Parsons went to work for the family business in 1976 and has watched the advances made in of¬fice equipment. Electric typewriters gave way to word-processing unitswith screens and eventually to per¬sonal computers.Mailing equipment for offices, postage meters and mail-folding gear remain major parts of the Par¬sons business.Fifteen years ago, Parsons started working with software. Its biggest growth item now is a program devel-oped by Imminent Technologies, a division of Parsons Office Systems.The program scans and stores documents, and puts different busi-ness databases into one spot for ef-ficient access by workers.The IMS software is used by out fits ranging from one-person small businesses to military installations, including Fort Hood, said Chad Chors, director of channel sales for Parsons.It is available in a personal home edition, a small office and depart-mental edition called e-paper route, and a version for big operations called IMS Enterprise.IMS is useful to businesses be¬cause it helps organize a variety of functions, he said."We can be the single location for all the databases if they need us to," Chors said.Although the office equipment business changes, the staff at Par¬sons has remained much the same, with some senior people having ten¬ures exceeding three decades. The new hires planned will be the first personnel changes in a long time.

Ray Parsons has 33 years of com-pany service, while vice president Bob Whatley has been there 38 years.The "newest" employee has been there six years, Whatley said. Treat-ing workers with respect is an im-portant part of retention, he said."We pay them good scale. They work hard," Whatley said.

The company uses a similar ap-proach — building trust and respect — to enhance their customer base.Loyal customers are important because competition in the office equipment business in Central Tex¬as is stiff "We don't go head to head with them," he said "We pretty much have our customers and continue to grow on our customers. And the customer's always right."