Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Deeper I Dig, the Fewer I Find!

This was my first thought when I saw the number of followers of mine start to dwindle.  The Lizard Brain, as I have learned form Seth Godin, was quite happy about this.  The lizard was thinking, of course nobody wants to read what you write, you are a mechanical guy ...Get over it ... Who cares.

Once I let him, he is a he by the way and a nasty little booger at that, vent for a while and allowed him to be somewhat thrilled with my agony of loosing less than 2% of my tribe, I looked at the situation differently.

It became really simple for me to understand. The deeper I dig into what fascinates me, regardless if it is reading on a specific topic, writing about things I know or just plain interacting with folks --- I realized that a few people in the tribe didn't want to go that deep or invest or waste their time on topics of my interest.

Simple right?  Or so I thought.  I have decided that what I am interested in may be compelling to some and not so much to others, I am now comfortable with this.  So as we gain followers, albeit Twitter, LinkedIn, etc... some will grow to like your stuff, some won't and some will just hate.

The important things is for me are, continuing to educate myself, take others who want to go for the ride along with me and be happy with that.  I live my days and nights with this concept, for the better or for the worse.

The bottom line, literally is: The more concentrated your tribe becomes, by people weeding themselves out, those who only want a casual encounter or to play the Social Media Game, you are left with a higher percentage of quality people who are with you for the right reasons.  With that reason(s) being, they enjoy what it is you produce.



Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Genesis of the Battle Against Mediocrity, .... My Particular Art

I was born in the summer of 1964, well before most homes had air conditioning, to two fine parents.  My dad, a tradesman and an excellent craftsman, my mother, a home-maker and full time mom at that point.  We, my sister and I, grew up very middle class.  We were proud of our parents, dad was held in high regards in his field and our mom went to nursing school during my elementary school years and became an RN.  Those couple of facts, I believe, are the basis of what and how AirTight operates.

The core of what we do is labor intensive work, coupled with the analytical responsibilities of trouble-shooting and a keen understanding of the sciences of electricity and mechanics.  Very blue collar, like our roots.  My wife’s, same as my roots.

When I got out of High School in 1982, I already knew what I wanted to do.  My dad as mentioned above was considered very good within the mechanical arena and I knew I wanted to follow suit.  He,  and then I, worked for McKenney’s, Inc. in Atlanta, GA, a unionized shop.  Due to their affiliation I went through a four year plus apprenticeship program.  This program was considered the “high bar” for many union trade schools within the US.  My dad was also an instructor there, so learning was never far away from me as my young brain soaked it in.

I learned from some of the best mechanical service tradesmen of the day at that school and upon graduation, returned to teach there as my way of giving back what I had learned.  Following technical school, some time at Clayton State College prepared me for the more of the business side of the leadership role, what an excellent time.  I learned so much from so many there, not to mention an Executive Management program at Georgia Tech that put me side by side with some really seasoned business veterans.  I was very fornunate to have found that program and able to attend.

So then fast forward 15 years to Charlotte, NC ... I was transferred here by my previous employer, by that time had bought into the company as a small stakeholder and as a division manager running a group out of the Atlanta headquarters and home office.

North Carolina and the word union have never and most likely never will coincide within the same sentence, much less work in real life.  It goes way back to the textile days when the folks here were brain-washed into thinking all unions were bad and that premise has never gone away. Within 18 months of moving to Charlotte, it became clear to me that AirTight needed to be formed, and so it was.  The first two years we remained a union shop and had access to the apprenticeship program, albeit a hell of a lot less robust than the Atlanta version I was a part of as a youngster.

After two years, our men voted to get out, saying they believed in AirTight more so than the union, in regards to who would care for them long-term.

At that point, I knew we had to create our own “Apprenticeship-type” program.  Through the local technical colleges and our first ever employee, Denny Baumgart, who was at a previous company with me as well, we have created a model that works.

AirTight hires a youngster, limited or no experience and pays for their school that they attend at night for the theory portion of their education and then they work full time for AirTight during the day.  It works for us and allows us to grow our own talent and allow these men to have a real career without having to suffer through the lack-luster educational environments that are so pervasive within our industry.

My right hand woMan is Shonda Ruland, our VP of Operations.  Shonda has been here side by side with me for nearly 11 years, she carries the same mantra as I do to her team, which is all of our Production Coordinators, admin, billing, AP, AR, etc…  The career path for our internal team is of high cognizance as well, we want all AirTightans to feel as they definitely have room to grow within the company.

The combination of my technical mindedness and psycho-obsession with details, followed with Shonda and her having at least the same degree of neurosis (in a good way) that I do ( with the deep, deep technical bench strength we have from Denny, now VP of Technical Services, our automation team, the many factory certified techs, AirTight Energy Group, etc… Makes for a strong Battle Ship.

We couple all of the above with the business philosophies from influences like: Tom Peters, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Jeffrey Gitomer, Mitch Joel, etc.  Some of these people we are actually friends with, like have lunch together  kind of friends, some of these people I only know about by reading ( their work, but all influence us daily … hourly. 

We are small, lethal and laser sharp with our focus.  Shonda is a LARGE part of what you see and is available for discussing this, as I am as well.  She can do a class for your team, sometimes having an outside looking in perspective works very well.  We could come to your place or you can come to ours,  we can do a day in the life with each other’s crews, we can talk about what it takes to deliver WOW! service, etc…

These actions mentioned above could be a catalyst to take our interactions and customer care to a whole new level:  We would welcome it.

Bottom line is, we are a service company.  We take great pride in going the extra mile.  We would do it even if no one noticed!

I hope this gives you a bit of insight to AirTight and me, really, it is the same mindset, one just has 34 mouths to feed vs. one.

All of these words are meant in a voice of, “We aren’t perfect, but we are damn sure striving for excellence!”.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

AirTight Energy Group Announced

Evolution is a normal process in all aspects of life and in any business.  Part of whatever success we have had as a company, in our opinion, has come from the ability to see trends early and then being poised and prepared to act upon opportunities when they are presented.

To this point, AirTight is pleased to announce the formation of the AirTight Energy Group, LLC.  This new group, under the AirTight umbrella, has been created to allow AirTight Mechanical ( to keep serving the HVAC & Mission Critical Infrastructures market.  Our goal is to keep serving at a very high level, as our customers have come to expect, while allowing us to fill a need that we see and that we are being asked to become involved with, in regards to energy management and automating facilities.

AirTight Energy Group will focus on electrical power utilization and efficiency gains through energy wise-products, these will include power factor correcting apparatuses as well as LED lighting systems from Redwood Systems (, the leading producer of low voltage LED systems world-wide.  LED lighting and in particular low voltage LED lighting is truly revolutionary, the lights require only a CAT 5 cable to power them, not a line voltage (120 or 277 vac) connection as historically all lights have required.

As building power usage and efficiency continues to be on the front burner for many companies, the interoperability of all building systems is so important and will be the number one method of ensuring your utility cost stay as manageable as possible, in particular with impending rate increases from our providers.

There is a natural flow to be recognized between the controlling and enhancing of lighting through a buildings automation and environmental control system.  This is a strong reason the connection between what AirTight Mechanical does with the Tridium ( products by Honeywell ( we represent and the alliance with Redwood will allow our customers to benefit from a reduction in lighting expenses.

If you have a need to reduce lighting expenses or a need to save energy by retrofitting the lighting within your facility, data center or an entirely new facility, we would love the opportunity to sit and discuss how the Redwood System can help meet those goals.  Please click on and watch the video at this link and see for yourself how far this technology has developed.  We look forward to continuing the conversation as it makes sense for you.