Monday, March 30, 2020

I received this in the mail last week from Becky Pierce. Becky is in a senior living facility here in Orlando and she will drop me a note every once in a while! Becky was an Admin here at Williams Company for 24 years. Alan Williams used to always say that Becky trained him. 


Monday, March 23, 2020

Our oldest daughter Jessica is the News Editor at the Miami New Times. This is a portion of an article she wrote last week.

Be a Good Neighbor: A Few Ways You Can Help Miami Survive Coronavirus

In these borderline-apocalyptic times, it's easy to feel helpless, especially when you're cooped up inside all day with nothing to do but let your mind wander. But the fact is, there are real, tangible ways you can make Miami a better place as we battle the spread of coronavirus. And you don't have to be a millionaire to make an impact - it could be as simple as running an errand for a homebound senior or writing a letter to a frightened immigrant locked up in a detention facility. 

That said, if you happen to be a millionaire, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to ball out. Make it rain on local charities! Do your part. Be, as Fred Rogers would say, a helper. 

Buy a meal for a hungry family. Food insecurity is a very real problem for many locals right now. Thankfully, the Miami area offers many food banks. Farm Share, which is providing fresh produce and other food for Miami-Dade schoolchildren and their families, says it can translate each dollar donated into 14 pounds of food. Donations can be made online or by texting EAT to 41-444. 

Another organization in need of your support is Feeding South Florida. Although it continues to accept edible donations, the food bank says monetary contributions gives its organizers "the most flexibility to respond rapidly to food, logistics, staffing, and supply needs." Donations can be made on line. 
In lieu of its usual hot meals, the Homestead Soup Kitchen is serving bagged lunches - no questions asked - from noon to 1 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Monetary donations can be made online. 

Give the gift of a phone call. In-person visitation has been temporarilv canceled at immigrant detention facilities across the nation, isolating people who have already been separated from their families. The local nonprofit advocacy group Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees is raising money to help detainees pay for phone calls, which can cost up to 45 cents per minute in Florida. Pitch in at fomdd.org/donate.

Pick up groceries for someone who needs them. These are bleak times for anyone who was already homebound, as well as seniors and the immunocompromised. If you're confidently healthy, why not do something to bring a smile to someone's face? Miamians Kristin Guerin and Jessica Guttierez have started a volunteer delivery service for those who need an extra hand. If you're up for the challenge - or in need of help yourself- email buddysystemmia@gmail.com. 

Jessica reminds us all that we can help others in a meaningful way in these difficult times. I'm very proud to call her my daughter! 

Monday, March 16, 2020

I recently read a book titled "Silence in the Age of Noise" by Erling Kagge. Mr Kagge is a Norwegian explorer who has trekked across the Antarctica, by himself, for 50 days. The premise of the book is that we are living in a world that is filled each day with more and more noise and that we should find time in our day to turn everything off and just ponder life. 

In chapter 8 he references a study done by Harvard and the University of Virginia where scientists left individuals alone in a room for 6 to 15 minutes without music, reading material, the chance to write or their cell phones. The participants ranged in age from 18 to 77 years old, yet the results were the same regardless. Most felt uncomfortable. A third of the participants that took the test at home admitted to breaking the rules. 

The scientist then took the study one step further, in order to see whether participants would rather do something unpleasant, such as receive an electrical shock, than sit alone in silence once again. Each participant had been subjected in advance to a similar electrical shock so they would know exactly how painful the option was. And it was painful! Nevertheless, nearly half of the subjects eventually pushed the button to administer an electrical shock in order to reduce their silent time. 15 minutes. 

As for me, I have always enjoyed the silence. I get up early each day and usually sit in silence drinking coffee for 15-45 minutes. No phone, no ipad, no writing or reading, just time to think, pray and plan my day. I also enjoy a long solo bike ride, a few hours bobbing on a surfboard in the ocean by myself or a long solo hike in the woods. I find silence as a way to clear my head and to rejuvenate my soul! 

Turn off that TV, silence your cell phone, take a break from social media and try getting back to nature. Spend some time alone in silence with the only person in the world you have full control of...you. 

Monday, March 9, 2020

We've all been there. The sketchy-looking restaurant we've never eaten at before. We don't know the place, and we have our doubts. But we take a leap of faith and give it a try. As we step inside the door we decide to go wash up before being seated. The bathroom is disgusting. It smells bad, there are paper towels on the floor and there's no soap. Our first thought is not about the bathroom ... it's about the kitchen. If this is what they let us see, what do the areas we can't see, like the kitchen, look like? 

So what does this little tale have to do with us? It has everything to do with a first impression from our clients, architects, engineers and subcontractors. Is our jobsite messy or clean? Is our job trailer organized and tidy? Do we always start meetings on time? Am I dressed properly? Am I fully prepared for a first meeting? Have I done a little research on meeting a client for the first time? All of these things leave a lasting impression, even after a brief encounter. 

You never get a second chance to make a first impression! 

Monday, March 2, 2020

One of the charities that will receive a $10,000 check at our upcoming 100th Anniversary Gala is the Boy Scouts of America. My father was an Eagle Scout so both my brother and I became scouts in our youth. My brother and I did not reach the rank of Eagle Scout but we both spent years in scouting, and we both are better people because of the knowledge we gained in scouting. 

The scout motto is "BE PREPARED"

This simple phase has stuck with me for my entire life. My family and my friends that have traveled with me have come to know that I always will have extra Advil or aspirin with me, a spare long sleeve T-shirt, a flashlight or an extra koozie for your beer. I have a checklist for packing for a trip so I don't forget something and I always check the weather before I go to see if I need to bring a raincoat or a down jacket. 

When I entered the business world I quickly realized that I needed to be more prepared. That next meeting, an important interview, a visit with a potential client, all of these events took preparation. And I could always tell in these meetings who came prepared and who did not. It was clear to me that the more prepared I was, the better the outcome! 

Many years ago I came across a quote that I really loved. It is still taped to my bathroom mirror in my home. It says: 

Preparation is Confidence; 
Everything else is Beyond your Control

Monday, February 24, 2020

Have you heard the song "You Find out Who Your Friends Are" by Tracy Lawrence? The words are: 

Run your car off the side of the road 

Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere 
Get yourself in a bind, lose the shirt off your back 
Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus back 


This is where the rubber meets the road 

This is where the cream is gonna rise 
This is what you really didn't know 
This is where the truth don't lie 


You find out who your friends are 

Somebody's gonna drop everything 
Run out and crank up their car 
Hit the gas ... get there fast 
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me?' or 'it's way too far.' They just show on up ... with their big ole heart 
You find out who you're friends are 

I have been blessed with an abundance of close friends in my life. They have been such a blessing to me in good times and tough times. I have friends from college, my Gator Bus friends, my cycling buddies, my business friends, my men's group friends, my PEER group friends and my friends associated with my kids youth. Other than my faith and my family, they are my most precious asset. 

Being a friend takes effort. And it takes time. And it takes patience. I have found that some friends are easier than others. No matter, if I get the call that they are on the side of the road, I'm going to show up. It's what friends do. 

In a recent Wall Street Journal article called "The Surprising Science Behind Friendship" the author writes that friendships help your cardiovascular system, your emotional health and also your happiness. She also states "Friendship is about setting up your life so you have people you can rely on when you need them". As the lyrics above state "You find out who your friends are"!