Editor's notes: Lessons learned the hard way

Jenni Chase
January 9, 2009

When asked to identify a lesson learned early in his career, 30 under 40 award winner Stanley Yee, now a principal and building enclosure consultant at The Façade Group in Portland, Ore., admitted to many. “Career development is all about making mistakes and learning the hard way,” he said. “And it doesn’t only include your own mistakes; you can learn from other people as well.”

I agree, and it is with that sentiment in mind that I’d like to share some of my favorite “lessons learned” from this year’s group of 30 under 40 winners.

In frustrating situations: “Whether work or personal, don’t respond when you’re angry. Take a step back, be patient and then reevaluate the situation and come up with a logical answer when emotion isn’t involved.” — James Amato, sales manager, Lincoln Distributors, Tempe, Ariz.

After important meetings: “Follow up with an e-mail or letter documenting what was agreed upon at that meeting. People have the tendency to misremember what occurred in a meeting.” — Devin Bowman, national sales manager, Technical Glass Products, Snoqualmie, Wash.

During the quoting process: “Never quote pricing to a contractor’s customer. I learned that early on and I will never make that mistake again, especially now that I own my own business.” — Erica Chandler, co-owner, DEsigned Glass, Burnsville, Minn.

When delegating: “Hire people to do specialized work. I had to pay a lot of fines for workers’ comp and insurance issues. I learned to let an accountant do the work he’s specialized in.” — Richard Ramos, president, Nationwide Glass, Los Angeles

Before starting work on a job site: “Get a deposit on the job. I learned the hard way about how, on some business practices, you have to take a stand. It’s just good business.” —Michael Hood, owner, Liberty Glass & Mirror, Frisco, Texas

When introducing new ideas: Don’t surprise the boss. “Early in my career, I had a somewhat provocative idea about how to grow sales. I chose to bring this up with our CEO and my boss in a meeting. I hadn’t run the idea by my boss, and he wasn’t prepared for the discussion. I learned from that moment on, no surprises for the boss.” — Ed Sprigler, director of customer experience, Belron US, Columbus, Ohio

When making decisions: “Trust your gut. Your first thought is usually right-on.” — Dee Dee Kagias, location manager, Glasspro Inc., Georgetown, S.C.

As for my lesson learned, it's "listen to subscriber feedback." Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to weigh in on how we can improve Glass Magazine. Based on your comments, we are introducing a new design treatment in this issue that allows you to find the section of your choice more quickly and easily. The commercial glass section is dark blue; retail glass section is light blue; auto glass section is light green; and fabrication glass section is dark green. Don’t forget to peruse the editorial outside of the individual sections also; it’s packed full of products, news and trend analysis applicable to everyone.


Jenni Chase is editorial director of Glass Magazine, e-glass weekly and GlassMagazine.com. Write her at jchase@glass.org.