CEO’s CORNER: An Interview with Allen Furrer, Mr. Handyman

headshotWhat were some early influences for you?
I grew up in a very rural area of Indiana on a farm. I had the opportunity to work for neighbors who had strong values and work ethics. I was paid very little but it was like going to school but getting paid for it and I really liked that aspect. I started working for a close family friend on his farm when I was 13 years old and drove a homemade garden tractor to work. It was about 3 miles and I could get the tractor up to about 30 miles an hour. I then was able to by a motorcycle then a car for transportation but I didn’t have my driver’s licenses so I had to have older friends come to my home to drive it down to the corner. My mother was killed in an automobile accident when she was 35 years old. I was 14 years old and the oldest. I had one sister and one brother who were younger. We grew up at a very young age.

Tell me about your parents.
My parents were very loving and caring people who had a very few close friends that we were always doing something with on weekends. We spent time with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We were mostly involved with our church and family.

TractorDo you remember when you first became a manager?
I first became a manager when I bought a small restaurant in the farming community near where I grew up. Since I was the owner I guess I was the manager.

What were some early leadership lessons for you?
I was blessed to have many people willing to invest in me and take chances on my willingness to work for them since I had little experience in the field they hired me to work in at the time. I learned that there are people when given the chance you will be rewarded by their loyalty and hard work toward a common goal.

Tell me about the culture of your company.
Our company is a place where I want people to enjoy what they do and have fun at doing what they do. If anyone does not want to do what is right then they would not find it a rewarding place to work. We believe in having a process for everything we do and it there is not one then we will have one shortly. We want to do whatever it takes to provide services to our customers that are considered first class like a concierge.

What are some of your weaknesses?
I have little tolerance for people who are not real or make excuses for not doing the right thing. I have to work at not trying to waste time on people who have little aptitude or ability of succeeding.

How do you hire?
I hire people who have a desire to serve others and are self-starters who want to motivate others to accomplish common goals by helping one another. I consider aptitude,  value and personality when hiring.

What advice do you give new college grads?
The diploma is not a ticket to a job. Get experience in the field you think you want to work in before you graduate. Find a company that will help you find a job when you graduate or have influence in your job search. Networking with other people who have the connections.

Anything else you would like to add?
Stick to the plan and always remember how you got where you are and who helped you along the way.

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