No Pain! No Change!
President's Message in the January/February Cooling Journal
I have learned that the pain I experience because of change is mostly caused by my resistance to that change. Change is inevitable. Nothing ever stays the same. Things are either moving forwards or backwards. Some things we can change. Some things we can’t change. We just need to be smart enough to know the difference. The heat transfer industry is not immune to change for sure.
In the early 1900’s many blacksmiths adapted to a changing marketplace and customer base when horse and buggy’s began to be replaced by automobiles. William Rex, a blacksmith by trade, founded Rex Radiator in 1909. Rex Radiator has survived four generations because they have consistently responded to a changing marketplace and customer base while not forgetting what got them there. They still offer complete welding and repair services on an incredibly wide variety of parts as blacksmith shops did at the turn of the century.
Examples of changes that affected my business since 1994 that I could do nothing about were seeing more aluminum products, the sharp rise in copper prices in 2005, high health insurance costs, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Gustave and Ike in 2008, Offshore Horizon Oil Spill in 2010, and the recent low oil prices.
I had to change things to offset the things I could not change. I had to change from having only a MIG welding machine by adding a TIG welding machine. I had to keep a close eye on rapidly escalating commodity prices and change pricing as needed. I had to shop around for better insurance rates and change agents when needed. I had to change from expecting employees to work safely and had to start training them to work safely so we could qualify for better insurance rates. I had to change our customer base and capitalize on all the repair work needed in the Gulf of Mexico while many oil platforms were shut-in after the hurricanes. I had to change how I monitored spending and expenses during the drilling moratorium after the oil spill. My most recent change was to sharply cut all unnecessary spending and find other sources of income to compensate for the low oil prices of today.
Living by the old sayings “you need to make hay while the sun is shining” and “save your money for a rainy day” are saving me today.
Another saying from my southern heritage that I heard over and over from my dad while growing up was “Don’t worry about the mule going blind, just load the wagon.” He was trying to teach me not to worry about things that might never occur. Get the job or task in front of you done, live right, work hard, and treat people as you would want to be treated. This creates an environment in which I can accept change as it comes because I know if the time comes I can adjust to meet the changes.
While on my flight back from Las Vegas I was looking ahead to my role as NARSA president. I reflected on how lucky I am to work with a board of directors who has created a great working environment of trust, service, accountability, and friendship. This is a Board that has a good mix of experience and youth. This is a Board that is well-prepared to accept the challenges of change.
Change did come to NARSA. Before Christmas, I received phone calls from not one, but from three fellow members of the Board. They are selling their businesses to LKQ. Two of our members, Chairman Mark Taylor, and Director Bobby Duran, are going to stay with the new owner. The third board member, Treasurer Angelo Miozza, is going to retire.
I called a meeting of the Board. After a very good and positive discussion, we all agreed that it was in the best interest of NARSA to keep as many of these good leaders as we could.
Angelo, Mark and Bobby have been very active. They have supported many of our programs and all played key roles in setting the future direction of our organization strategic plan. When directors are elected, the person is elected not the company. The NARSA Board has always been diligent in providing a neutral forum in which individuals could work together for the betterment of all. Bobby, Mark and Angelo have always acted in the best interests of our organization. They leave their company hats at the door as do all of the other directors.
The NARSA Board is about service and responsibility to making member businesses better. That is what we do. Try as we may, we could not convince all three to stay. Angelo has announced his retirement from the industry and the Board at the end of March. We could never repay him for his more than 15 years of devoted service as a Board member and treasurer. We will miss him dearly. Mark and Bobby will stay on until at least the end of their first term year in October 2017. Roland Ewert of TSM will move from the Secretary position to Treasurer. Kyle Rickermann will become Secretary.
I think the Association is fortunate to have an environment that accepts change and people we can trust and rely on to continue to do the right thing. Change is inevitable. We all experience change. Look at change as a new challenge to tackle rather than a damper in our industry and in the work place. Changing for the better! P.S. I did not sell my business.
NARSA President 2016-2018
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