The holiday season is my favorite time of year, and for me, Thanksgiving has always been the “kick off” of that season (although I suspect that some people and retailers have pushed it back to Halloween).
With all of the lights draining the power grid, you can literally feel the electricity in the air. There is something very special about that electricity, and it is something we as Americans should all give thanks for as we move further into the holiday season.
Personally, I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks publicly as I reflect back on my first 377 days on the job here at Specified Technologies Inc. (STI).
First of all, I am thankful for my beautiful wife Courtney and two wonderful children Jacy Kate & Jaxon John.
Without Courtney’s love, devotion, encouragement and understanding, I would not be half the man I am. I am thankful for her keeping me on track, having a great sense of humor and not letting me take myself too seriously.
Without the love of my children, my world would not nearly be as bright. They are the inspiration and motivation behind everything I do. I am eternally thankful for them and they are my driving force, as I attempt to build and leave them a legacy that they can be proud of.
I am thankful for my STI family.
A little over a year ago, I had no idea how important firestop was to code compliance and in particular to life safety. That is until I met the STI family… Within 5 minutes of my first interview, I knew that I had to join STI to help deliver that message. I am extremely thankful that Jim Stahl, Sr. and Charbel Tagher had the foresight to start a company solely dedicated to firestopping. This well focused effort has elevated us to a position of technological and market pre-eminence in a relatively short span of time.
I am thankful for everyone at STI (customer service, engineering, HR ‘Hi Diana’, marketing, finance, etc.) They say “it takes a village”, and so I “thank you” for being that village for me. In particular I am thankful to my manager (Northeast Regional) David Augello and my “Outer Boro Brother” (Territory Manager) Mark Nunn for their invaluable teachings this past year. My development would not nearly be at the level it is without you gentlemen… Thank You!
I am thankful to our distributor customers, our contractor partners, and even our competition.
While it is easy to realize why I am thankful for our distributor customers (they pay us money) and our contractor partners (they buy our stuff from our distributor customers), you may be wondering why I am thankful for our competition.
I believe that competition drives innovation across all business channels. From an engineering standpoint, we are always developing new, innovative products to stay ahead. From a customer service standpoint, we are always striving to do our best for those we intend to serve. And from an in-the-trenches sales standpoint, we are always looking for ways to add value where the competition is not. Whether it’s on the job(site) firestop certification training, product mockups, job site walk-throughs, engineering judgements, submittal paperwork, etc. We work tirelessly in the fight against the likes of Hilti, 3M, Rectorseal/Metacaulk, Tremco, etc. These companies keep us on our toes… so I am thankful because we will never become stale and we will continually look for ways to better serve the market.
Finally, I am thankful for every one of you who have taken the time to read my words here.
I hope you all have a bountiful Thanksgiving, a happy holiday season, and a healthy prosperous New Year.
~ John Zalepka