I rolled into the headquarters of General Air in Denver, Colorado in the early morning last week. Even though it was the industrial part of the city, it was still beautiful with the majestic mountains in the backdrop. Immediately upon my arrival, the team at General Air whisked me through the locker room and on in to meet with the team.
At the core of the noble calling of distribution is a sense of purpose. While this purpose varies by each individual business and their unique value system, an underlying theme runs through them all: they are driven by a purpose and meaning deeper than meets the eye.
My goodness … the world hasn’t gotten any less volatile, complex, or uncertain in the last week. What is going on in Afghanistan for instance both enrages me and hurts my heart as I see our soldiers and marines lifting children over walls, providing water, and cradling infant babies.
The Granite Group is “in the service business, 100%,” according to Bill Condron, President and CEO. But he isn’t just talking about their customers. During my visit with The Granite Group, the “service business” was redefined to encompass everyone that the company serves, and at the center of that are employees.
“[It’s about] making sure that the whole team knows and understands that they’re not just picking a product, they’re delivering a key component, a finished product, that our customers rely on us to deliver.”
Championing the noble calling of distribution—this has been our mission from the moment the We Supply America tour rolled onto the streets of America. For too long distribution—the backbone of America—has been the silent partner in making this country work. Each of the 30,000 distributors in this country (mostly independent and family-run businesses) provide the goods that keep America running while creating a $6.9 trillion economic engine and 6 million jobs.
Twelve weeks ago today, I packed the We Supply America RV, pulled out of my home in Barrington, IL, and began the We Supply America tour. Since then, I’ve traveled 10,000 miles and visited over 20 different distribution companies in more than 10 different states. I’ve met with countless company leaders and employees, given hugs, shaken hands, laughed, cried, and—most importantly—celebrated the noble calling of distribution.
“Hill and Markes is family-oriented. We care about the community; we care about our customers, and we care about our employees. We will do anything. We will always make it happen. We will always rally and make it together.”
It’s funny what can trigger an idea in your mind. Labor Day popped into mine earlier this year—it seemed many were thinking “we just need to get to Labor Day.” This moment that signals the end of summer was a marker of whether or not we “made it” through the pandemic.
This week I had a chance to meet so many individuals who dream big and take big actions to achieve those dreams.