Still Making Waves

gorrie-regan-fishing-tripGorrie Regan at 57 Years – Still Making Waves.

Another Gorrie-Regan fishing trip is in the record books. For those new to the show, we have taken a company fishing trip off Dauphin Island for as long as I can remember. This year, the weather was ideal with calm seas and temperatures in the low 80’s. Perfect for catching fish and a few rays to usher in the summer. It was a banner harvest as we caught hundreds of pounds of amberjack, snapper, trigger fish and the occasional King Mackerel.

Our captain once again was Skipper Thiery, part of the Thiery family that is famous around the area as the apex captains in those waters. We have known Skipper for years as he was once the budding deck hand and crew aboard his father’s boat. He is now a seasoned captain in his own right and has two kids of his own. Seeing him each year is a true blessing as not only do I know we will catch fish, but it has been a pleasure to watch him grow into the fine Godly man that he is today.

Even those in the Gorrie Regan family who do not choose to join in the fishing have a blast on this trip. Whether it’s the shrimp boil or the karaoke there is always something fun going on. For me, my favorite part is to see all of our folks being together and enjoying one another’s company. As spread out as we are, this is a great venue for people who work together in service to our customers to actually take some time and get to know each other on a far more personal level. The trip is awesome and I am already looking forward to next year!

Charlie

One Selfless Act

One-Selfless-Act-Pic-1

Good afternoon,

One-Selfless-Act-Pic-3As many know, Scott Wilson and I spent last week in Japan with a delegation of parking dealers from across the US. During our six day trip we visited three different cities and toured several factories and customer sites as well. Our hosts were very proud of their country and made sure that we saw many nationally famous landmarks while we were in the country.

Below is a picture of a 1200 year old temple that is the centerpiece to a lavish garden property. It was built by a Shogun, a rich and powerful military chieftain who helped rule the country at the time. Your eyes are not fooling you as the fascia of the building is literally painted with gold.  Inside is a beautiful hardwood floor whose lacquer seemed a foot deep. The entire property is equally beautiful and is a national treasure to the people of Japan.

We saw many sights that I will never forget. It was easy to see so many from the bullet train we rode as we traveled at over 180 miles an hour! Very cool… As a motor head, I loved seeing all of the different type of cars and trucks throughout the country. Their standard service vehicles were very small vans- see the attached picture. I was also lucky enough to attend the Tokyo International auto show that happened to be in town during our visit. At the show there were cars/trucks/motorcycles that are made by the various manufactures as concepts that are one of a kind.  I have read about that venue all of my life but never thought that I would actually get to attend. See the motorcycle in the picture below.

One-Selfless-Act-Pic-2Out of all the sights and things we saw, my biggest takeaway was the Japanese people themselves. As mentioned, we toured several factories that were very clean and the fellow employees actually bowed to one another as they passed in the hall ways. It may sound strange, but in Japan, about every 30th person that you see is wearing a surgical mask. Needless to say, this struck me as an odd sight. Our hosts shared with us that this is a voluntary effort that people will do if they think they may be getting sick. They wear the mask as a courtesy to others so that they will not spread something to others that they may encounter. That one selfless act sums up how the citizenry there treats everyone else.

The final picture attached is of Scott and a new friend. Not only do they have the same fashion sense, but she clearly knows how to keep him in line.

God bless the USA and happy Veterans Day…Charlie

2015 Pig Iron Classic

Good morning,

Pig-IronThank you to everyone again for the efforts from this previous Friday’s 2015 Pig Iron Classic. As mentioned, we were very successful and have many trophies to prove it…see below. Finally, the judges got it right! We won first place in ribs and sauce and 3rd place in butts…a very happy day.

I wanted to thank everyone for all your help in making this such a fantastic day… “for us all.” As always, a special thanks goes to Phil Tidmore, who is the Captain of the grill and smoker – but he would be the first to remind us that this was indeed a true Gorrie-Regan Team effort. From the set up and serving, to the potato chip frying, to the cleanup up and tent breakdown, this was a group effort.

As many know, this is my favorite event that we do as the GRA family. Even when we do not get a trophy, we still win as it is great time together. We are so very blessed to have such great people here.

Have a great week, Charlie

The Worry Stair

A number of years ago I met a very interesting man…he was a speech coach and taught sales training along with presentation skills. Not only was he very good at what he did, but he was also a very unique person. One of his passions in life was anything to do with Great Britain; he was quite the Anglo File. He and his wife achieved their lifelong goal and actually purchased a small cottage in a quaint country village in British countryside. Whenever we would get together for our training sessions, he was always full of new stories about the life and times of the people in the small English township that was his favorite place.

There was one story in particular that stood out to me and I think of it to this very day. One of the bigger characters in that town was the owner of the local pub. This gentleman was described as a larger than life figure who was a favorite amongst the townspeople. Not only was he the keeper of the local tavern, but like many a great bartender, he also doubled as a part time psychologist as well. My friend told me many stories of ‘John the tavern keeper’ who also lived above the bar that was his business on the first floor. Such seems to be the custom in these ancient small towns over there.

As the story goes, John the tavern keeper was a father raising several daughters on his own following the death of his wife. It was said that he had done an amazing job and saw both daughters go on to happy and successful lives of their own. Supposedly the tavern was plastered by pictures of his grandchildren serving as proof of his success.   

Over the years, the speech coach became great friends with the bartender. After a while, he finally asked him what the secret was to his sunny disposition and especially how he raised such beautiful and successful children on his own. With that question, John took my friend by the arm and said… “Come with me, I will show you.” They proceeded to walk up the stairs to the apartment that served as home to the bartender and his family. As they entered the door atop the stairs, the bartender turned and pointed down to the top step. As both men now peered down to the floor, it was now clear that the top stair had a different appearance than the others on which they had climbed. Not only was it a different shade of wood, but it had the words “Worry Stair” clearly marked in embossed letters. The bartender explained that this stair was a vital tool in how he lived his life.

He went on to explain that every day when he came home from work as he was raising his family, he would have to pass this step on his walk home. He said he would make a conscious effort to then leave any tavern related issues or ‘worries’ on that stair as he came home. In his thinking, there are enough worries in daily family life already, why bring more home with you! Conversely, every day on his walk down to his business, he would apply the same logic and then pick up the concerns of the tavern leaving the family worries behind. How simple, yet brilliant!

When I first heard this story, I was very eager to have such a stair in my own life. But of course, the only viable stairs in my house at the time were covered in carpet. Why must everything be so complicated!  I then realized that my stair did not have to be a stair after all… The more I thought about it, anything could serve in this role. For me, it became an ancient oak tree on my drive to and from the office. I think that you now get the idea… So, I will ask you- ‘What is your worry stair?’

In this day and age with our devices and social media, it seems that we are never allowed to compartmentalize our thinking and concentrate on a single task at hand. This is especially hard for those of us with ADD! But I challenge you to try this simple approach and see if it will help you in your daily life.

Thank you for all that you do. Charlie

The Burden of Being Busy

I can’t speak for everyone, but I think that I am ready for fall.

Maybe it’s for football season or even just a break from the heat. Either way, I think I have had enough of summer. I am convinced that the ‘lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer only live in lemonade commercials. Personally, I have been as busy as any time I can remember. There were an unusual amount of meetings/conventions on the calendar and as I have told my wife, I have felt very disorganized. I am ready for a new season and the resumption of a more normal calendar. Ironically, I say this as I leave for Michigan to attend an InfoTronics meeting in the morning!

One of the casualties of overwhelming busyness is communication. The normal dialog and discussions that take place are often sacrificed when you are running around with your hair on fire.

Obviously, the same is true for Gorrie-Regan as well. I don’t have to remind any of you that this has been a record busy time for us when measured against previous summers. We have a lot going on. Yes, we are blessed to be so busy – and there are a lot of people who would love to have our ‘problem’. But I think it’s safe to say we are all ready for a new pace. I assure you that it is on the way.

One of the casualties of overwhelming busyness is communication. The normal dialog and discussions that take place are often sacrificed when you are running around with your hair on fire. I call this Tasmanian Devil talking… If you remember in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, he would often pop up from one of his tunnels only to appear in the middle of a stampede of other animals running away. He would inquire with his signature line…’What’s up Doc?’ But no one would slow down enough to speak with him. When someone would finally answer his question, they would simply mention that the Tasmanian Devil was approaching and they were going the other way. Whenever I am very busy and too crammed for real dialog, I feel just like that.

Speaking for myself, I can allow busyness to actually be an excuse for not listening to others as well. In many cases, I can ignore the very people who hold the solutions I need. If I just slow down enough to reach out and listen. Thank you for all that you have done this summer and will continue to do into the fall. Hopefully, at a better pace in lower temperatures. See the cartoon below for a good laugh.

Have a great week, Charlie

busyness

Learning from Millennials

In the course of my duties at Gorrie-Regan, I find myself attending many different conferences both professional and for other organizations.  They can vary greatly as some are product related and others are associated with boards on which I serve. One common theme of discussions is the effort to help middle aged people like me to better understand The Millennial generation.

For the record, I am not really sure what a millennial is. I assume that it is the 20 something’s  I see in all the coffee shops with their cell phones seemingly attached to their hand. But I am serious when I say that a great deal of time spent with my various groups is preparing us to target this younger demographic. As in time, they will be the leaders (and buyers) of tomorrow. So I pay attention and listen to the talking points of what I am supposed to know.

The main theme we constantly hear is that it seems  millennial  are not as driven by money or power as it is said of their predecessors. For the record, I don’t remember my generation being so inclined… but I digress. It seems that the most important thing to the millennial is to be part of something… especially part of something big and noble. With the widespread use of social media, this demographic is very well equipped to take the smallest campaign to the world stage. I constantly see evidence of this new phenomenon and it is overwhelming.

With all due respect, I would remind everyone that we are doing this very thing at Gorrie-Regan. All of the things that we do and the services that we provide are needed, mission critical aspects for business and institutions. They are true needs…not wants. They are vital to the survival of those we serve. Just like a farm that grows the crops or the fireman and other first responders, Gorrie-Regan is needed and necessary. We are not some fluff store at the mall or some online retailer that sells nice handbags.

The point of this story is that we are all embraced in serving a great cause right here at this company. The work that you do is noble…Clearly, it may not be as ‘feel good’ as saving  the baby harp seals,  but those that we serve have real issues. And there is no greater calling than helping those in need. We are in the business of solving problems on a daily basis.  That, my friends, is noble.

So what can we learn from the millennials? That it is indeed a valiant pursuit to want to a part of something bigger than yourself. You are doing it right now! Think about that the next time you are speaking with a customer in need of your help. I appreciate the reminder from the younger generation…this old dog is all about learning new tricks. But I will say no thank you to those skinny jeans.

Thank you for all that you do. Charlie

Fear of Failure

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again… we have all heard this phrase, but what does it mean?

To me it speaks to the beauty and lessons learned from failure. Failure can be the greatest of teachers  if you learn from what you did wrong. Think about the times in life that you have tried at something and truly failed. I mean when you fell flat on your face and really blew it. Such lessons often provide the greatest lessons we can ever receive. One of my favorite expressions is ‘stupid is only stupid if it happens to you twice.’ Sounds like something that Forrest Gump would say!

We have a lot of great things going on at Gorrie-Regan, but the best are those of you who are reading this email. We have amazing people. The reason that you are so good is the shared/collective wisdom we have from the lessons that we have learned. This company is over 55 years old and we have learned some great lessons. But we will never stop seeking new ground to explore.  My father always told me “that all education is expensive…and Charlie, I am tired of paying for yours.” He was right.

As mentioned, this company’s greatest value is in the collective lessons that we have learned. In our senior leadership meetings, I constantly applaud the efforts that I am seeing around the company. In my view, we have spent more time in teaching and training over the previous 18 months than any time I can remember. This is wonderful and we will never end this effort. One of the best things that happened is that we now have an open forum where we can share our lessons learned so that the mistakes we make will not be repeated by others. Awesome!

I have a suggestion for all to consider:  At the next meeting you hold as a department or group, take a minute and talk about some of your failures  and the lessons learned from them. They can be personal or professional…it really doesn’t matter as these episodes made you better than you were before the lesson.

I am never afraid to try new things that may see me fail in their pursuit. I will admit, that at 48, the attempts are different than the ones taken  20 years ago – as I am now (hopefully) wiser than I was before. But I am still not afraid of pursuing something that may end in failure. Such is the path in striving for greatness. Take inspiration from Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb on trying 10,000 times before he finally got it right…”I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” These are truly words to live by.

Have a great day. Charlie

Top Notch Company

Good afternoon,
Please take a minute to read the email I received this afternoon. It is copied below… I have also attached a picture of the trophies we received from InfoTronics/AoD this previous week at the awards ceremony. It is an honor to work with such great people! Have a wonderful weekend. Charlie

Good Afternoon Mr. Regan,

My name is David Ellis and our companies have been doing business for more years than I can remember. I wanted to take a moment and tell you directly, that doing business with your company has been a pleasure.

You have been true with your pricing from day one, your service people that we see annually are high caliber, well trained representatives and  the only time we needed service it was top rate and quick. My thanks for not always trying to get into my pocket and I just wish more companies that we do business with, operated like Gorrie-Regan. From where I sit, you have a top notch company and I want to congratulate you on that achievement. Job well done!

All the Best,
David  Ellis

Taking Chances

One of the greatest compliments I ever heard about Gorrie-Regan came from a former competitor. This gentleman said that he always admired Gorrie-Regan’s ability to continually reinvent itself. Truer words have never been said about us. When I think of all the things that this company has done… Did you know we used to sell scoreboards? And even planetariums? In hindsight it may seem silly, but when we were doing these things it made great sense.

The point is, we will never stop working on our business to keep it poised for success and to be relevant within the markets we serve. As with most discussions in the south, eventually the dialog turns to college football. So here goes…

Following a disappointing 2013 season in his eyes, Alabama Coach Nick Saban made a very strange move in hiring Lane Kiffin to shake up the offense for his football team. Needless to say, this was a very off the wall move as Kiffen was one of the more polarizing figures in all of football. Having left the University of Tennessee in a last minute move and then going on to be fired mid-season from University of Southern California at an airport terminal; Lane Kiffen was the brunt of more jokes that Dan Quale and Joe Biden combined.

But in Kiffin, Nick Saban saw something that he needed to shake up his program. More to the point, Lane Kiffin thought very differently than Nick Saban. You could say many things about Kiffin – and everyone did; but no one could dismiss the fact that he was a brilliant offensive football coach. So what was the result? Lane Kiffin took a backup quarterback in Blake Sims and went on to put up the best offensive numbers in Alabama school history… Of course it didn’t hurt to have Amari Cooper catching the ball.

The next year it would be Auburn’s turn. Following a very disappointing 2014 season where the defense was the biggest weakness for the team, Coach Gus Malzahn fired his defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. He then made one of the biggest coaching moves in the country in bringing on the former Florida head coach Will Muschamp, to fill that role.  Muschamp did not have the sustained success at Florida that many had forecast, but no one can deny that his is one of the best defensive minds in football. We have yet to see what form the defense will take under his care, but the projections are sky high given his previous success. As a result, Auburn has been a very hot topic in the country and has landed many prized recruits who want to play in this new system.

So what do these two moves have in common? They are visible proof that nothing stands still and things are ever changing. As rabid fans, we demand such actions from our football programs… and we get mad and melt the talk-show phone lines when they do not. Such is life in the modern game of college football.

The same is true at Gorrie-Regan. In the modern business climate we will always be in a constant state of change as forced upon us by reality. Things will always be changing whether we like it or not. I promise you that we will never stop searching for a best ways to be of service to our customers. But regardless of the model we may deploy, if we take care of our customers and do what we say we will do, I like our chances. That is one thing that will never change!

Have a great day and stay warm. Charlie

Happiness and the Washing Machine

I have a question… has there ever been something that you wanted to buy that you thought would bring you happiness? I think we all have. As silly as it sounds, for me it has actually been a washing machine.

As Paul Harvey would say… Now, for the rest of the story.

One of the bills that I hate paying more than any other is my Jefferson County water and sewer bill. It has been nationally known that Jefferson County has had its issues in this regard. There has been mass corruption in dealing with sewer bond issues that have placed many officials in jail and the story on the cover of newspapers across the country. The end result is that our bills are sky high. There have been times when my water bill has been higher than my power and gas bill… how crazy.

As a result, I am always in search of techniques and even appliances that will help my family use less water. When the front load washers first came out about 10 years ago, I learned that they were far more efficient and used much less water than their predecessors. When I heard this, they had me at hello. When I learned that our current washer was placed on life support by the repair man, I couldn’t wait to go shopping for a new washer. I can’t believe I just said that?

And I actually had a blast shopping for these new appliances.  We looked everywhere and read everything on the subject from consumer reports and on- line reviews. When we finally selected the model we were to buy, I was so excited for installation day. I felt that I was “sticking it to the man” in terms of my water bill. I could all but see my monthly expenditure cut in half.

Well guess what happened… nothing. Something must have gone wrong because my next bill – and the one after that were just as high as the ones before. To top it off, this new state of the art marvel had an interesting side effect as well. It turns out that this generation of front load washers had a draining problem causing an unpleasant smell to develop from the water that did not drain between uses. Nice!

We have since learned methods to curtail the smell and I have made peace with the fact that “the man” -aka, the water/sewer bill will exact his heavy toll on me. But more importantly, I have learned that no one thing is going to make me happy. Happiness is a choice… I truly believe this.

If you are skeptical, try the following exercise from my days as a camp counselor. I was in charge of a dozen 10 year olds who would always wake up cranky. I was up before them and was showered and ready when the bugle blew to wake them all. I told myself every day that for the first 10 minutes, I would be ‘Super Charlie’ and would be in the best mood they had ever seen. I had noticed that since my mood set the pace for the cabin – I would make it the best one possible. So every day, I woke in that frame of mind. For the first 10 minutes, I would force myself into this demeanor. Well, as it turned out after the first few minutes, I was not faking it anymore and the good mood took over. Try it, it works every time… Have a great weekend! Charlie