This sea-to-shining-sea tour and the creation of our eight films has truly been a labor of love. Somewhat apropos on this Labor Day weekend.
Producing We Supply America was the hardest thing I have done in my 35+ year career. For many reasons. Yet this labor was also most rewarding.
Rewarding due to the people I met. The places I went. And the purposes I discovered.
The People I Met
I have a fundamental belief about people and this world. It’s simply … there are so many good people in this world. Far more good people than bad.
While the news is full of everything wrong in this world, and social media is pitting you against me, my travels this summer reinforced my belief.
There are so many good people in this world.
People who care. Who give. Who contribute. People who love one another, love what they do, and why they do it.
Maybe one moment that sums up the people I met, is captured in a brief exchange that I had with Rich – the transfer manager at DSG’s Plymouth, Minnesota branch.
When I asked Rich why he loves working for DSG he immediately responded – “Because I love what I do, and” – pointing at the leadership team who was giving me my tour – “they like what I do too.”
This simple response says so much to me about the people I met along the way these last 97 days.
Good people going through this life together with respect. A bond. And a deep deep desire to help each other advance.
The Places I Went
This country is absolutely stunning. From the differing mountains at the top of the continental divides in Pennsylvania and Colorado. The shores of the Pacific Coast Highway in California and those sail boat-filled bays in Connecticut.
The sweeping acres of bright green 90-day corn throughout the midwest and the wondrous granite boulders throughout the Arizona desert.
And equally as stunning – yet in different ways were the places within the businesses I visited. The organized chaos in every warehouse and distribution center is truly magnificent to see.
Touring fabrication and light assembly areas as well as the areas where wire is cut and metal is bent – all had a specialness about them.
Granted, as the future of work continues to be redefined, seeing many of the offices still with empty desks was not something that felt good.
When I think of one place that sums up the places I’ve been my mind goes back to my visit at Marsh Electronics in Milwaukee. Jim Bannovich the president of the business is a self-avowed lover of flags.
I was touched that he believes so deeply in our cause that he has We Supply America flags flying throughout his facility. He told me these flags are a constant reminder of the important work he and his team do every day to supply this great place we call America.
The Purposes I Discovered
I do think one of the most rewarding aspects of my summer has been the discovering of purpose.
If I heard this once, I heard it a hundred times – “You know, until you started talking about the noble calling of distribution Dirk, I never really thought of it that way. But you are right.”
And I liked hearing it.
We did set out to champion the noble calling of distribution and I believe we have made a dent in this cause.
As part of the backbone of our country (another term I heard over and over) what you do is critical and full of purpose.
We don’t have the society we do without distribution. Without the middle man.
I really like what I saw and learned from Ryan Holtzman, the 3rd generation president of Holt Electric in St. Louis, Missouri. He is leaning into the purpose-filled noble calling of distribution with their Middle Man-Ifesto.
Proudly proclaiming the purpose of distribution is more than moving boxes. Adding value. Contributing to their customer’s success. Creating jobs. Contributing to a more beautiful and vibrant community. And the meaning behind being an independent family-owned business.
A Labor of Love
Twice last night I woke up a bit disoriented in my own bed wondering where I was.
And you know, in one respect it doesn’t matter if I’m in my bed at home, the RV, or soon the bed I’ll be sleeping in next weekend at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale (I’m flying!) where I’ll be traveling to speak at the FISA annual conference.
In all these places I’ll be in the same place.
Our great country.
Full of beautiful loving people.
Who are purpose-driven.
To supply America.
This summer truly has been a labor of love.
Thanks for following along.