Those of you who know me have probably heard me speak about the importance of having a mentor. My definition of a mentor might be a little different than the dictionary’s, but it has the same goal. To me, a mentor is a person who has already walked your path, wants you to succeed, and is willing to tell it to you straight.
When I started my general contracting business, my mentor at the time suggested I stop in to see Fred, the CEO of my bank, twice a year to keep him updated on my business. That way, when my account would come up at committee for renewal or any other needs, Fred would know what was going on.
So, for the next 17 years, I would poke my head into Fred's office twice a year to say hello and give him an update on how things were going. I would sit down and quickly brief him on some of our key projects. Then, I would quietly listen. You see, Fred knew the business side of construction. Not only was he the President and CEO of the bank, but he also owned a successful and well-established mechanical contracting firm. For that reason, I considered Fred a business mentor in my life. Our meetings would almost always end the same way—he would give me a smile and say, “Go get 'em!”
After my meetings with Fred, I would leave the bank grateful for his wisdom and encouragement, knowing the bank was part of my team for success. In my experience, it is equally important for a contractor to have the right insurance company as part of their team. As Acuity’s Construction Specialist one of my roles is to help our insured contractors and offer free business support to them upon request. Drawing from my 37 years of experience, the connections come naturally when visiting face to face with contractors.
When I meet a father who is about to pass his business on to his children, I acknowledge his many years in the construction industry and praise him for leaving an inheritance to his children. When we are saying our goodbyes to a young man, woman, or couple who are excited and enthusiastic about their construction business and the future, I find myself smiling and saying, “Go get 'em!"
I believe if we all remember that behind every company, behind every policy, behind every desk is a person who could use a genuine word of encouragement, we will achieve the goals that are set before us.