Hello there, Hajoca friends! As we greet here in Georgia, “How y’all doin?”
I am currently writing from Leesburg, GA. No, this isn’t my new profit center … I’m still at Lithia Springs, but I am just filling in temporarily on the counter here while the manager is away. Leesburg is a 3-man operation: A manager, a counter salesperson, and a driver/warehouse guy. With a small profit center like this, all of the team members have to wear many hats, and everyone pitches in to get the job done. Since the manager normally spends a lot of time working the counter, I was more than happy to come down and help out in his absence! This is one of my favorite things about being in the Management Development Program: We get the opportunity to travel all over the region to work at different locations for inventories, training, or just filling in for a while. I love getting to meet the team members at these PCs and get a feel of what it’s like working in their market. Lithia Springs is considered part of the “Metro-Atlanta” market, so working in places like Leesburg (South Georgia) opens my eyes to how differently these markets vary from one another.
A lot of things have changed since the last time I wrote! First and foremost, I have officially made the transition from Phase One to Phase Two. My transition has been a little different than most, in that typically you will spend the first six months or so of Phase Two doing inside sales. The difference between inside and outside sales is basically just as the names imply: Inside sales consists of being “inside” the profit center and supporting the outside sales staff, who spend most of their time “outside” the store meeting with customers and building relationships. However, during my counter and operations modules of Phase One, I was basically acting as an inside sales professional as well. I was able to learn the ins-and-outs (pun intended) of inside sales by doing things such as job and material quoting, customer and product pricing, inventory management, and working closely with the customers to track down products and materials that they have a need for. I am really enjoying the outside sales role so far. I enjoy meeting new people and building relationships with them, so this job is right up my alley. I will admit though that it is quite the challenge going into a contractor’s office without ever meeting them, and trying to get them to give you a minute of their time. A contractor’s time is one of their most valuable pieces of capital, so it is important they feel that you understand that and do not abuse it. I have learned that, by acknowledging their time is important, they are much more open to talking to me. After all, time is money!
When I first started writing this blog post, I was in Leesburg. Fast-forward five days later, and I am writing from the beautiful St. Louis, Missouri! I am here attending Mainline University, a 3-day workshop meant to educate Hajoca employees on all the features, benefits, and just plain ol’ awesome details about Mainline, our private label brand. Mainline is a collection of all things plumbing – faucets, sinks, valves, fittings, etc. – and ‘private label’ means that these are products that only Hajoca locations carry.
Okay, enough about business… Let’s talk about yours truly! Since I last wrote, a lot has changed. About a month ago, I moved into a new apartment, AND I LOVE IT. I moved from Kennesaw to Smyrna, which is only about a 10 mile move, but it made an enormous difference in my commute times. Metro Atlanta is infamous for its terrible, snail’s pace traffic, which I was caught in nearly every day. Before I moved, my commute to work was about 40 minutes (on a good day), and about an hour and ten minutes on the way home. Yeah, it wasn’t fun. From my new place, it’s about a 25 minute shot both ways! I’m also trying to build a customer base in Smyrna, so it’s nice being able to say that I live nearby when visiting customers. In my opinion, living in the market that you serve is important because it can help you understand the ins-and-outs of that market a little better, and also helps you relate to the customer.
I’d also like to share with you guys a little “personal project” that I have been working on for the past few months. I call it … (Drumroll) ………. “Project Get Fit”. Having been an athlete all through high school, I focused a lot on my physical fitness and endurance. When I reached the latter years of college, however, I placed fitness on the back-burner and shifted my focus to my grades and academics. Yes, I gained the infamous “freshman 15” (although admittedly it was WAYYYY more than just 15, and I wasn’t a freshman). So about six months ago, I decided that I wanted to make a change. I wanted to get back in shape. Weighing about 260 at the time, I made a commitment to myself that I was going to get below 200 lbs again. I didn’t care how long it took, but I was not going to stop until I got there. I wanted to change my eating habits, cutting out empty carbs and sugar. My diet would consist of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. I stopped drinking sodas, and only drank water, coffee, and milk. I also got back in the gym and started doing a consistent cardio routine. On my first day on the treadmill, I could barely get in a 10 minute mile without feeling like I was going to pass out. As of yesterday, I ran 6.5 miles in just under an hour! I plan on signing up for a half-marathon soon, and maybe even a full marathon eventually! It has always been a dream of mine to finish a 26.2 mile race. I am happy to say that now, after a little over six months of clean eating and killer cardio, I have reached my goal of being below 200 lbs!!! I feel better now than I have my entire life. It is crazy how much of a difference I can feel in myself just by living a healthy lifestyle. I have attached a few pictures of my progress along the way!
I want to thank you all for taking the time to read my blogs. It really means a lot to me, and I’m glad I get to share my experiences with you all. I hope by reading these posts, you gain a better understanding of what it’s like being in the Management Development Program and working for the magnificent company that is Hajoca. In the words of Mr. Rick Fantham, Hajoca’s President, “Hajoca gives you the freedom to live into your dreams.” I can honestly say that this statement is 100% true. I would even go beyond that statement by saying that Hajoca doesn’t just give you the freedom to live your dream, they provide you the support, strength, and encouragement as well! With Hajoca, all things are possible. Take my fitness journey, for example. From day one, I knew it was going to be a long and tough journey to reach my goal. I could have easily given up, and almost did quite a few times. However, my Hajoca family supported me every step of the way. With countless bids of confidence and encouragement like “Keep up the hard work!” and “Looking good!” from my team, I was able to stay focused on my goal and I knew that they were going to be there to support me through the tough times. I am beyond thankful that I have found a home in Hajoca. I hope you will too!
Well, that’s all for now, folks! I will write again very soon with an update on how things are going. Until then, stay safe, have fun, and be happy!