For someone who couldn’t build a square with four equal Lego pieces, this industry is really in my DNA. I have my dad, Ray, to thank for that. And I want to use my space here to say one final thank you after he passed away suddenly Sept. 16 at the age of 65.
From the beginning, our father-son relationship was atypical and we had to work hard at it. You see, after my parents divorced when I was 5, my mom and I moved to her hometown of Milwaukee. After school would let out for the summer I would hop a plane to Boston to spend my break living with my dad. Once my dad got out of the restaurant management business, he got into the construction industry.
To maximize our time together during those summers, my dad would bring me to the construction site whenever it was appropriate. Did you know the nationwide chain Boston Market was originally called Boston Chicken? The only reason I do is because I was onsite with the one my dad was the general contractor on in the late 1980s.
These jobsite visits would come every summer until I took my first job in the summer of 1998. I did not know it at the time, but those visits to sites and opportunities to watch plumbers, electricians and other laborers would lay the groundwork for my time in this industry. Since joining pme, I’ve walked the unfinished grounds of the (now open) Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, a natatorium in San Francisco and recently the NordHaus mixed-used apartment complex in Minneapolis.
I learned how to walk a jobsite and talk with people on the premises because of my dad.
I remembered when I was first hired to work on pme’s sister publication, Supply House Times, and was nervous about my first work trip. Our publisher Bob Miodonski and I went to Madison, Wis., to visit First Supply’s location in the state capital. We walked in the front door and all of a sudden I had déjà vu. I had been in this place before, just in New England. I didn’t know how much I was prepared for this job.
After conducting a day’s worth of interviews ranging from the company’s executive brass to its warehouse workers, I was ready to sink my teeth into the job and here we are today.
I learned to talk to people, including the wonderful people all throughout this industry, all because of my dad.
Take a moment to think about who taught you the ropes of the industry. Maybe it’s a parent like I had, maybe it is a college professor or an industry mentor. Trust me, take a moment out of your busy day to let them know how much it meant to you. I spoke to my dad 12 hours before he passed and I wish I had the chance to say thank you one last time.
Goodbye, Dad. I love you very much and we made our time together special.