Wow. Taking on this months challenge has been a...challenge. Reliving the past is hard. So, in this post I will talk about my professional life and how I ended up where I am today.
So, as a senior in high school, I knew I was going to be an engineer. Probably a mechanical engineer. I loved to take things apart and see what made them tick. Putting them back together correctly was sometimes a bit of a chore.
One day as I was walking between classes, I saw a guy at a card table. He was a recruiter for North Carolina State, school of Textiles. No one was stopping to talk to him. Since I knew State had an excellent Engineering school I stopped to say hello. We talked a bit and of course he asked if I might be interested in a Textile degree. He said, "You know it's like getting a mechanical engineering degree, just in manufacturing textiles". Jumping ahead, it wasn't.
So he invited me to come spend a weekend at the school, stay in a dorm room, and go through a textile school welcome. Kinda like going to a time share sale. So I went. And I loved it! 4 years later armed with a Textile Materials and Marketing degree, I landed my first real job with a company know as Burlington Industries. I became a quality control guy assigned to deal with quality complaints.
I remember my boss telling me one day to pack for a week long trip. We flew down to Mississippi to a company that manufactured bullet proof vests. The Kevlar in those vests was made by us and the owner of the company thought the fabric had too many flaws. This stuff is really expensive so it was my boss's job to check it out and save as much as possible. So, he and I started looking at rolls of fabric. He showed me what we were looking for and said, "It's all yours now!" and he flew home. First time ever inspecting fabric, 2 hours of training then left in the middle of nowhere to look at a bazillion rolls of expensive fabric.
I survived and went on 2 years later to West Point Peppered and became a sales rep. I traveled the North East and then was assigned the West Coast. I would be gone for 2 weeks at a time and loved every minute of it. It was tough on the home front though. Eventually the company came to me and asked if I would like to move from a salaried sales rep to commission. And, oh yeah, you would need to resign from the company and start your own sales company. You know what? I did!
This new company started as a sales agency. We picked up a few other lines to sell and eventually became a distributor for these products. Then we made the move to becoming our own manufacturer.
We teamed up with the guy that invented Trex, the synthetic decking material and we bought a closed plant. I remember the day. Trex guy pulled out a check book and just wrote a check for the plant and equipment.
The next several years were filled with getting a dead manufacturing plant resurrected and working again. This was the most challenging thing I have ever done. We had over 100 people on payroll, old equipment that needed a ton of maintenance, and I was living 2-3 weeks at a time in Grover SC. We succeeded in getting everything running and did well for a bit until our business began moving over seas. Much of our large customers build cinema or auditorium seats and they were moving production to China. Not long after this began we sold the company and I was out of a job for the first time in my career.
To say I handled this badly might be a huge understatement. It took about a month for the shock of everything going away, to go away. I started looking for something to do and I remembered my office manager talking one day about how she thought she would be good in real estate. To my knowledge she never got licensed, but that conversation had stayed with me.
Off to school I went. Got my license, and three years later my Broker license. 16 years later I am still in the business selling homes. I have also become a trainer and work in our marketing department helping the 1800 agents in our company become better at what they do. best thing about real estate for me is I get to be home every night. The constant traveling as a road barrier now over, I realized how stressed I had been. The last 2 years of my textile career had left me so stressed that I literally had withdrawal issues from the constant adrenalin rush.
The end of my real estate career is probably within sight. As I near retirement from Real Estate I marvel that this is what I have done longer than anything else. Real Estate is a terrific career choice for the self motivated and persistent.
Now, once again, I must, way too late say, "So enough about me, What about you?"