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Pat On The Back (Row Boys)

I was just introduced to Carol Fey by way of an article, “Back Row Boys” (January 2004); it was excellent.

I pretend to be a writer - so you know I am extra critical - and don't often use the word “excellent” while describing the writing in our industry. Hers more than made the cut.

The “Back Row Boys” are the same folks with which I deal daily, only now they're the Back Office Boys (also known as “the owners”).

After reading this article, I no longer wonder why marketing (my business) sometimes seems like black magic to them, and why the conceptual often gets lost in its translation to its physical counterpart.

Her article did much to demystify that for me. Thanks. I will be more careful in my communication hereon to make sure it is more “hands-on” related.

One thing I have noticed over the years is that my typical marketing customers (contracting business owners) seem skeptical - even abrasive - at the notion of new business solutions.

Yet I finally figured out that the 78 percent of owners in this industry who started off as technicians were trained as “fixers” themselves. Thus, to be a “fixer,” you have to find something broken.

Therein lies the nature of skepticism, which I now meet or even welcome as their natural way to grasp the solution.

Adams Hudson
Hudson, Ink
Montgomery, Ala.

After reading “The Back Row Boys” today, I felt it was time I sent a note telling you how much I look forward to reading Carol Fey's articles in PM magazine each month.

I'll even go further and say how much I enjoy PM magazine; no other industry rag I read has as many skilled writers as it does.

I was a Back Room Boy. In fact, in 11th grade when I was queried by the school disciplinarian, “Parker! What do you want to get out of this school?” I responded, “Me!”

To say that school didn't give me the warm fuzzies is an understatement.

Suffice it to say that, after graduation, I got a job doing building maintenance in a new 48-story building. Soon the 1,300-plus PTAC's that heated and cooled the apartments were coming out of warranty, and management thought it was time to either hire one or two HVAC techs or train some of the maintenance guys. So off to school I went.

After the fourth class I came home in amazement and explained to my wife how much I enjoyed education. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that two years later I went back to the same school as an assistant instructor. Twenty some years later, I'm still teaching. And still loving education.

So enough about me. My real concern about our industry is what our public school system is doing to the candidates we are getting today.

Throughout the education process the students are being told that, “You won't get a good job if you don't go to college.” I couldn't disagree more. I know some darn good mechanics who make over $60,000 per year.

Many jobs for college grads are in the $35,000 range. I wish I had kept a record of the number of people with master's degrees I have met who have flat-out told me they wished they had followed my career track and not theirs.

Carol, keep up the good work, and I look forward to reading you each month.

Harry Parker
Dual Temp Co. Inc.
Allentown, Pa.

I want to compliment Carol Fey on her January article. Different people do learn in different manners.

And while manufacturers and distributors bemoan the fact that contractors are not businessmen, it is important to realize they have skills that businessmen generally do not have.

The only way all of us can succeed is to realize contractors, manufacturers and distributors each bring something different to the party, but each is important to the party's success.

Dave Morrison
Supply North Central Group
Ann Arbor, Mich.