It Was Time for College
I remember how disappointed my father was with my prospects of getting into a university or any college for that matter. My dad wanted me to go to college more than anything. He was planning to re-mortgage his home to afford to send me to school.
I applied at Eastern Michigan University and requested an in person interview. I knew that if I could talk with them I would be admitted. I was admitted on a very strict probation.
I passed my first year by a slim margin (as always). That summer I sold pots and pans, speakers, telephones and radios literally out of the trunk of my car. My dad was really disappointed when I told him that school really wasn't for me and I wanted to be in sales and marketing. I took the next year off of school. I remember my dad calling me, asking if I was ready to shut my trunk and get myself back to school. I was ready. My dad said that he would pay for school after I improved my grades. The first semester I fell short of our agreement of a 3.0 B average. I was still earning money by selling out of my trunk, and I was delivering pizzas. I was never lazy. I always worked very hard. I paid for school on my own that semester. One day I received a call from my dad saying, "Maybe school isn't for you, Brian." I was thinking that myself when he continued with "I have a friend who is in the window business...why don't you call him?" I, of course, took down the number knowing I wouldn't call it.
That night I was with a girl I knew and was telling her of the conversation with my dad. She says, "That's funny, my brother is in the window business...I'm going to call him." I ended up getting on the phone with him and by coincidence he happened to work for my dad's friend. We talked for a while and he encouraged me to look in to the company before saying no.
I remember thinking, "Who the heck replaces their windows?" After seeing their business, I finished the term at school and went to work for the window company. I was a Canvasser (a door knocker). I moved into sales shortly thereafter, and was reminded by my father to be a sponge. He told me to learn the business. My dad always reminded me to work hard which I always did. He also told me to be true to myself and to others.
My Dad's friend and his son ran a very successful company. I learned a ton from them. The son became a friend and to this day we keep in touch.
I moved on to another company and learned exactly what not to do. Selling a great product was not enough. You needed to have amazing customer service as well. The employees I worked with actually had contempt for the customers. To them, customers were an inconvenience. I remember thinking that if I ever owned my own business, things would be run very differently.
I decided I would go back to night school to pass the tests needed to open a window company of my own. I remember how diligent I was about this work. I walked into the testing room knowing I would ace the test...and I DID!
Looking back, my dad taught me to work from the heart and to be true to myself. My mother used to say, "Brian, you are truly your father's son." My father's name was Hanley. I named the company "Hansons" which was short for Hanley's son.
My father was able to see my business flourish during his lifetime. My father died in 1992 of a heart attack. Fortunately for my father, he died in his sleep. He was only 49 years old.
Just a few days before my father died, I ran into him by chance at a local parking lot. He said, "Brian I am sure proud of you, I made a winner." That spirit lives within me and within Hansons everyday....Thanks Dad...I love you.
President of Hansons