Anderson University College of Business
Scott Cline: Family business on Christian principles
Scott Cline, a graduate of the Anderson University College of Business, is grateful to Anderson University for a lasting impact made on him personally and in the way he does business. He and his brother Glenn Cline represent the third generation of the business that his grandfather, N.Q. Cline Sr., started. As Cline Hose & Hydraulics continues to grow, they strive to continue doing business based on the Christian principles their grandfather lived by.
Tell me about Cline Hose and Hydraulics.
We’re doing business under a marketing brand called Hosetek. God has given us a vision to go and find young men to provide them an opportunity to change their lives for them and their families and allow them to make funds that otherwise they would not be able to make in their career. God has blessed that. We have people in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina and are still continuing to reach out. It’s been great to see God’s hand at work and being able to follow the vision.
In Numbers it talks about the difference between when God parted the Red Sea and the Egyptians—He parted the Red Sea before they ever touched it. Now, when the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the promised land, they had to step into the water before God parted the waters. That’s what God has been pressing on my heart—you need to step into the water and take my faith and follow me.
Let’s talk about the importance of following Christian business principles.
Our business has changed over the years. Me being a young man and trying to chase after the inevitable career and make the money and support your family and do everything seemed to be the most important thing at the time when I first took over the business with my brother. My mindset has changed, and that’s where God has given us the vision of doing something different. It’s certainly been more heavily a principle now in our business than in years past. He’s always been our CEO, although there have been times I’ve knocked Him off that pedestal and put myself on there as we all do.
How did you first discover Anderson University?
Back when I was graduating from high school in the early 90s I applied at several other schools and Anderson was one of the schools we applied for. I had not had anyone in my family attend Anderson. We just heard good things about Anderson. My Christian walk at that time was not very strong, so it wasn’t something I heard from my church or anything like that. Honestly, the only thing I can say is divine intervention and a lot of other things has given us an insight to apply. For me personally, out of the three schools where I applied, two turned me down. Anderson was the only one that was willing to accept me. Anderson took the reins up and gave me the opportunity that other ones were not willing to do.
I really believe it was a family there. All the people I met with—the teachers, professors and everyone—having that opportunity for them to pour into me in a small setting is what kept me at Anderson. I was like “I don’t want to leave here.” That’s what got me there and what kept me at Anderson and why I look so fondly back on my time there of what they did to pour into me. The professors and all the different programs they had at the school as well as the chapel program that really started getting me indoctrinated more in my Christian walk—those are the things I fondly remember at Anderson.
Tell me some of your favorite memories of being at Anderson University.
Just being able to have the professors that were there, when I would meet with them, they were genuine. Yes, they were there to help me learn, but the genuineness to see me as a person grow. They took a genuine interest in wanting me to make sure I was successful. They were not going to let me fail, so that’s my fondest memory—all the times that the professors would stay after to help me to come to the computer labs or whatever, it was to not let me fail, nor let me get behind.
What advice would you give somebody about coming to Anderson?
For me, from the Anderson I remember, I still think it’s true today—it’s a family. From the time you come in and Dr. Whitaker and his wife meeting you to the students that you meet and to all of the professors that are engaged. Although the school is much larger than it was when I was there, they still give you that feeling of one-on-one care, and that to me was beneficial.
Just to have a leadership to pour into these young people that are coming out of life and trying to figure out what their worldview lens looks like, trying to unpack everything they’ve been taught through the school system that’s a little different from a biblical principle, is one of the reasons Anderson shines.
You recently received an alumni award. What was it like to be honored?
Honestly words can’t describe it. I certainly was undeserving. I was extremely humbled. There’s a lot of things you do in life that you’ll never think of. When I go back and look and see where Anderson had a place in my life, and being honored because of where we are now, that’s because of what God has done, nothing that I had done.
It took me a while to get my head wrapped around what it was, but more importantly the thankfulness I had for the university to give me the opportunity. They took a chance on a Greenville High graduate who couldn’t get anywhere else. Education was not important to me at the time. All I was worried about was having fun. They were able to bring me out of that landscape and pour into me and now I’m able to use a lot of those principles.
Did you always know you’d be a part of your family’s business?
Yes and no. There’s always times when you’re younger in life, you’re 18 or 20, you know how to solve the world’s problems.
My grandfather started the business in 1948, so my brother and I kind of handle all that. I’ve been working in the business since I was 11, so I guess if you’ve been doing it since 11, you’re pretty much entangled in this. I certainly have had a lot of tangents like a lot of folks do, I had a tangent to do truck driver training. I was a truck driver trainer at Greenville Tech and had the opportunity to go do that for a living. God kept pulling me back as a magnet back into this business. I had a wonderful grandfather who was a strong Christian that had a great desire for all of the grandkids to be a part of the family business, and so that is how I actually stayed in that.
I would say from an early age I realized the family business would certainly be an opportunity. It may not be what I would have made a career out of, but it’s something that at least I needed to take a chance in.
What does it mean to be a part of the Kim S. Miller Family Enterprise Institute of South Carolina?
I was approached long ago when this thing was originally birthed from Leslie Hayes and Dr. Whitaker and some others who got that started. She was seeing in her business that there were a lot of family businesses; they do operate differently, but there’s no synergy between all of them. To be able to get them all together and have things that really mean things to them that’s specific about intergenerational—how do you carry down this generation, how do you deal with conflict with people who aren’t in the business, how do you handle siblings that are coming up in the business and how do you navigate all of these waters? She eventually made a goal of what the Institute was going to be.
Honestly, at the time I was just ‘alright, that sounds great, but I tell a lot of folks “I’m from Missouri, the Show Me State,” obviously I’m not (laughs). I tell people that a lot. Now you fast-forward five or seven years or longer—I was able to attend one of the meetings several weeks ago, and was really just blown away at the amount of people that were there, that were in the same boat. As leaders of businesses, it’s often said that you’re on an island. You don’t have a lot of people to talk to and that’s a very true statement.
Tell me about how your company gives back to the community.
We try to do the best we can with our community. Back in our training room, they’re putting together 65 Easter baskets for Connie Maxwell Children’s Home. My grandfather was an orphan in Connie Maxwell and was brought up in Connie Maxwell. A lot of our employees have brought in stuff to donate, so I’m going to be honored to take that down tomorrow to give something back to the orphanage that means so much that Cline would not be here without that. I personally would probably not be here because my grandfather might not have been brought into this area and we certainly wouldn’t have been here. So that’s one of those organizations we know a good part of.
Angel Flight has given me the opportunity to fly. Just as with anything else, God says for me to give you this skill set and to use it for me. So we joined with Angel Flight. I just took a flight yesterday with a young man who was on his way to Anderson several months ago in December and flipped his truck and his right ankle was basically destroyed in a fire. He really thought he was going to die in the vehicle if it wasn’t for God and somebody who was able to pull him out. I told the guys yesterday “if I ever come into this office and complain about anything, by all means, all you need to do is say “what about the people you’ve been flying?’” Angel Flight is a great organization we work with. It’s an organization where pilots donate their time, businesses donate the time on the plane to go and fly for anywhere from cancer to burn patients to veterans that are coming home from wars.
So those are two organizations that are very near and dear to my heart that God has given us clarity where we can move forward.
At the end of the day, what gives you the biggest sense of accomplishment?
My accomplishment at the end of the day is my prayer that I say every morning: “I love you, Heavenly Father. Show me today how I can glorify you.” At the end of the day, if I can glorify Him, then I feel accomplished for the day. If I failed somewhere, then I don’t. There’s not an accolade that I go for. There’s not an award that I go for. There’s not a revenue target I go for. It’s that God has instilled in me “hey, you know who you need to be and you’re doing what I need you to do. Don’t look at the world around you; look at me and this is where I’ll give you my peace and my strength.” That for me has been where I’ve been able to find my peace and strength and accolades I can get from Him.
What sort of career advice would you give to a young man or young woman?
God has given us all strengths. Determine what that strength is and go after a career path that can indoctrinate that, because God wants to use you to your fullest potential, whether that’s in the back picking up trash as the janitor, whether it’s in the school classroom teaching, or whether it’s in the boardroom of a Fortune 500 company. At the end of the day, we’re His. Try to look at your strengths God has given you and something that brings you joy and will bring Him joy and follow that as a career path.