For almost 9 years (it would be 9 years this September) I have been representing CONTRACTOR magazine as an editor and covering industry news and events in the mechanical contracting industry. I’m sure at some point in the almost 9 years we crossed paths — either at a trade show, conference or other industry event. As most of you know, CONTRACTOR magazine covers the latest and greatest news for plumbing and hydronic contractors. Throughout the years I have also represented Contracting Business and HVACR Distribution Business at various industry events too.
The plumbing and HVAC industries definitely go hand-in-hand. I have learned so much about both industries — from what constitutes a sustainable system and installation to the timely legislative issues contractors lobby Congress about to the problems that keep contractors up at night, not to mention what is needed (before anything else, you need the right mindset) in order to run a successful and profitable contracting business.
The list of what I have learned could go on and on, but with this note, I want to thank all of you in the industry for an outstanding nine years of my career — just recently I resigned from my position for a new career opportunity as managing editor at SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers), in metro-Detroit, Michigan.
Keep in mind, as I start a new chapter in life, I will take with me some of the following lessons learned from my experiences at CONTRACTOR magazine:
- Breaking through personal barriers can lead to breaking through business barriers: This in in thanks to Mike Agugliaro, president of CEO Warrior, inviting me to attend a recent CEO Warrior Circle event. I have to brag — at the event I broke a fire board with my bare hand and did a fire walk. How neat is that? How many people can say they walked on hot coals? Whenever I have a challenge I will always think of this event. If I could break a fire board and walk on hot coals I can do anything.
- You gotta get your mind right: This is in thanks to Weldon Long. Weldon and I met years ago at a Comfortech event. I was very impressed by his life story, and how he overcame so many challenges and hardships. How he did this was by getting his mind right and focusing on the positive — breaking out of negative self-fulfilling prophecies. You definitely need to read his book "The Upside of Fear." It’s truly inspirational. Weldon and I kept in touch, and he started to contribute content to Contractor; speaking at Penton events, etc. Now he is going to be keynote speaker at Contractor Leadership Live in September! This is an event you must attend. It will change the way you think about your business! “The Upside of Fear” has won awards and was also endorsed by Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” and Tony Robbins, author and motivational speaker. Also, Weldon’s book, “The Power of Consistency” is a Wall Street Journal and New York Times Best Seller.
- Be inquisitive: This is in thanks to Mark Matteson, who I just started working with this year. About a month ago, I interviewed him for an article, "A love of coaching contractors: A conversation with Mark Matteson." Mark is so passionate about coaching contractors! He’s also very inquisitive and he wants to study the best-of-the-best contractors to see what makes them tick. Also, Mark has always known what he is good at — whether it was basketball in high school or selling or speaking — which is a key ingredient to being successful. Know what you are good at, figure out what your strengths are and go for it!
- Don’t surface swim — do a deep dive: If anyone knows me, you will know that I have a laid back personality, but when I focus on something I usually do a deep dive, so I learn as much as I can. Looking back throughout the years I can see how intense I can get, but working on CONTRACTOR magazine really honed that focus I have deep inside of me. When I started working here I threw myself into the industry learning about all the sustainable systems and products in the field. I also enjoyed and learned so much from going to trade shows and media events. In my new career venture I plan to deep dive into manufacturing, just as I did in the mechanical contracting industry.
- You can learn something from everyone you meet: In this position, I met so many great people and learned from them. There is no way to list everyone in this article. But I do want to give a shout out to all the CONTRACTOR columnists, especially Dave Yates and Mark Eatherton. It was always a pleasure to meet up with both of you at AHR Expo! And Dave — thank you for making me director of photography/videography when we shot videos at AHR Expo. I will always remember when we got lost in the bowels of the Las Vegas Convention Center and had to ask for directions to find our way out of the exhibit hall! Too bad we didn’t get a chance to go zip lining in Old Las Vegas. That is on my to-do list now. And I’ll always remember when we played bocce ball with John, Dan and Rachel Vastyan at Comfortech — fun times indeed!
I also want to give a shout out to the CONTRACTOR staff — Bob Mader, editorial director, Steve Spaulding, content guru, and John Mesenbrink, editor at large; and all our sales reps (Mike, Randy, Chris and John); marketing, show management and production folks (you know who you are); and the executive team. It was a pleasure working with all of you, and I wish you all the best. And I definitely want to give a shout out to all the manufacturers I’ve worked with and their public relations representatives.
The past few days I reviewed many of the articles I’ve written throughout the years here, and it seems two topics I became an expert on are workforce issues and women in the industry. I am quite sure Contractor will continue coverage of these two topics since they are not going away anytime soon — and I asked John Mesenbrink to write articles about these topics for the August issue (John — I hope you are reading this)!
I am definitely a proponent of people having careers in the trades, and when crossing paths with people (young and old) I will always mention to them that mechanical contracting is a very lucrative career because, quite frankly, it is. The only reason why others don’t realize this is because they most likely don’t know anything about the industry in general. And I really do hope that the industry comes up with a strategic plan that will change the way the public perceives the trades. I know there have been some grassroots efforts, but more needs to be done. There needs to be more women recruited into this industry too!
I find it very interesting that in my new job I will be representing an industry — manufacturing — that pretty much has the same workforce issues and challenges ahead of it, not to mention manufacturing has quite a large energy sector too, which is why I really do think we will be crossing paths in the future.
Again, it has been a great almost 9 years! I wish everyone the best.