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Thanks for the Memories

This is my last column, I’ll be driving to Michigan this week to join MK, then taking off for the rest of the year before starting my new position as Neighborly’s special projects director. 

Mary Kay has been in her position as for over a month and I’ve been living like a kid in a sparsely furnished college dorm since Thanksgiving. A couch served as a bed, a TV, two dishes, two forks, spoons and knives.

MK has been a trooper, she emptied all of the boxes from the move. Then we’re off to Florida to spend Christmas with the kids and grandkids, it doesn’t get any better than that.

It’s hard to believe in just a few months I would’ve been in the industry for nine years. I came in knowing nothing about auto glass and I leave as the industry is growing, thanks to ADAS.  Fortunately, Glass Doctor hired me for my franchising expertise– not in glass.

I want to thank somany people, but it starts with Deb Levy. I wrote my first leadership articlein March of 2013 and haven’t missed a week since. When I was young my favoritewriter was Bob Greene, for 24 years he wrote for the Chicago Tribune and wrotebooks about my favorite athlete, Michael Jordan. I loved his articles and howhe had the opportunity to write about whatever he wanted for all those years. 

Deb gave me the samelatitude, I could write about whatever I wanted each week as long as itpertained to leadership. I’ll miss sending my weekly blogs to Emm and Tara on Sunday nights.

Being a part of the ARG Alliance brought me all sorts of learnings. I could ask the members of this group anything about the business and they were always glad to help me. I’ll miss them and the times we had together. Paul Heinauer from Glass Pro was a person I looked forward to seeing at every Auto Glass Week. I remember MK and I driving to Austin to have dinner with Bob Rosenfield and his wife a few years ago.

So many of these people would be considered competition. I never thought of them that way because to me they were all my friends!

Barry Roberts from LYNX has not only become a great friend, but he also became a wonderful Christian brother. Someone I could always go to about any issue and wishing he was my next-door neighbor. We were sad when Chris retired and John left the company.

There are so many friends from both Pilkington and PGW. Keith, Brian and Bill at Pilkington, were always only a phone call away to help in any way possible.

The same was true at PGW with Gary, Tim, Brian, Todd and Bill. They all know they are welcome to stay at our house any time. 

Of course, the relationship with Mark and Brad at Mainstreet was well-founded over the years.  More than just acquaintances, as all these people, they were friends.

Eric, Gilbert and Shauna from Equalizer are partners who helped us so much. I’m so happy to recommend our franchisees go to them for training! I believe they’re the best.

I know I failed tomention so many others, so please forgive me. You’ll love Brad Roberson, my vicepresident and replacement as president of Glass Doctor. Brad was a greatfranchisee and will take Glass Doctor to a new level. You will all love workingwith him because he really knows the business.

I’ll miss Auto GlassWeek and the people of course, but what I’ll really miss is the silent auction. I loved bringing something home by having the highest bid. 

Continue to grow asleaders and you’ll ensure the level of professionalism in the glass business will rise as the years go on.

God bless all ofyou! If you get to Ann Arbor, Mich., you all have a place to stay … but please, not at the same time.

Videos

Last week I wrote about ways to make people feel special; this week I want to take it to the next level.

When I was in eighth grade my father died from a heart attack four days before Christmas. He was 54 and I was 13. If I said it didn’t affect me the rest of my life I would be lying. Of course it did, both negatively and positively. At that point, I was “the man of the house.”

That summer my aunt and uncle took me on a trip to Williamsburg, Va., and eventually to the Outer Banks of N.C. The irony is that MK and I are taking all of our kids and grandkids on a similar trip this summer to the Outer Banks. Memories.

My uncle has since passed away, but my aunt is still living in the same house in Rockford, Ill.,as they did when I was growing up. She’s 82 now but I still think she’s 40. We were close when I was a kid and even closer today. It’s amazing how priorities change and relationships get better with age.

Not long ago she called and said my cousin had put some 8 mm videos on DVD and she was going to send a copy to me. Last Friday night I watched one. Videos of my parents, grandmother, and this fat kid, I explained to MK, was me when I was 14 years old were on it. I can’t begin to tell you what it meant to see my dad again. Fifty years later I got to see his face.

Little did any of us know, when we were being filmed by an 8 mm camera 50 years ago, someone would be viewing it one day. Then I thought about Facetime, with it I talk to my grandsons in Cleveland every week through its magic. They’re 5 and 6 now but they recognize and talk to us like they see us daily. Grandpa and Grammie are a part of their lives, even though we are more than one thousand miles away, it’s like we live in the same neighborhood.

I’m not sure who invented Facetime or Skype – but I’m sure they’ve brought families together more than anyone else.

Each week I do a “Two Minutes” video for my franchisees in North America where I share my thoughts for that week. Usually there’s nothing earth-shattering, just random thoughts I hope make my franchisees think about something different for the week. It might be about customer service or perhaps best practices in some areas. It doesn’t matter, it’s simply a way to connect.

Earlier today I went on Facebook and saw my daughter-in-law had a video of our 5 and 6 year- old grandson’s catch of fish for the day. It made me feel like I was there cheering them on.

What are you doing to create video memories? Are you just taping jobs your team did? What about what your family is doing? With today’s mobile phones you can create a lifetime of memories every day; it’s easy stuff that even I can do!

It comes down to finding a way to connect. Today, tomorrow or 50 years from now, who would’ve thought this could happen?