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Letters To The Editor

The MHEDA Journal regularly receives comments from our readers. In this Letters To The Editor section, we publish letters sent to us during the past quarter. We invite you to send your comments—all feedback is appreciated! Letters must be received with a name and contact information. Send future comments to Chris Powers at editor@TheMhedaJournal.org.

An Open Letter to MHEDA “Boomers”

Good People:

Life continues to change. We all know this mantra, and some of us actually accept it as fact on some level. But, the vast majority of us believe that life changes only for “those other guys,” subscribing to the Joe Walsh line, “Thank God I haven’t changed.” Seldom are we afforded the opportunity to have someone or something show us just how much we have changed.

At the recent MHEDA Convention, I had the great fortune one evening to spend time with a couple of the younger members of our industry. These two were college students studying for their degrees in supply chain management and industrial distribution. I was very impressed by their business acumen and understanding of how goods are moved and delivered throughout the world. The depth and breadth of their industry knowledge blew me away. Their instructors should be very proud.

Over and above their knowledge and even more significant to me was their genuine sincerity and ardent desire to make a difference in the world. Their enthusiasm was inspiring. They were so anxious to get started in the business, feeling that their knowledge of business systems and supply chains coupled with their desire to “do good things” would have a positive impact on the lives of people all around the world. They wanted to help to create supply chains that could deliver food and medical supplies quickly and cost effectively to the people who needed them.

Standing there listening, it took me back some 30 years, where I had been in the company of young people who possessed some of those very same aspirations. What had become of them and their dreams to change the world? Had they put in to practice the lessons of ethical and smart business practices that they acquired at the knees of their mentors? Had they been able to lead a productive business life and hold on to their ideals? Had they made a difference, however small, in the lives of the people around them? Had they always done the right thing? Were they grateful for all they had? Had they found others who shared their vision of what is “professional and right and fair” and partnered with them to make contributions to our industry and to our society? Or, had they had been jaded by the pressures of business?

With these two bright, inspired individuals, it suddenly became clear that where they are is where I had started. Was this my chance to temper these young idealists? To warn them not to be too naïve and not to let their emotions get in the way of business. To be careful! Those were my initial wrong-headed thoughts. Then, I realized, they didn’t need that from me. They didn’t need approval or endorsement from me or my contemporaries. They believed in themselves and were confident about their abilities. They didn’t need to hear any “so-called” sage advice, nor listen to ten reasons why their ideas probably wouldn’t work.

What they needed was a job and a chance to demonstrate their skills. We have come full circle from the idealists we had once been to the seasoned veterans we are now. We have changed. You too may have discovered this truth while working with the young members of your staff.

The rest of the “good work” we are going to do for our industry and our society for the balance of our careers is going to be done through the hearts and minds of bright young people like these. They are our new guard and our future.

Far be it for me to preach to you about how much you may have changed over the years (You say you haven’t changed all that much? Yeah, right!). But, if your experience is anything like mine, you have probably changed enough to forget what it was like to be fresh and full of new ideas. Wouldn’t it be great to get back to that space again? We can. We can take a step back to where we started and begin the adventure again, working through and with the energies of our successors.

Like me, you are a member of MHEDA, and like me, you know people in our industry who are not currently members of MHEDA. Call that other distributor you know right now. Tell them they need to join the adventure. Send them a link to www.mheda.org. Ask them to join MHEDA and support the industry. If they won’t do it for themselves, they should do it for our next generation of leaders, many of whom are our employees. They will carry on for us and do this better than we ever could have.

It’s the right thing to do.

— Bill Ryan, Vice President / General Manager, LiftOne (Charlotte, NC)

Convention Feedback
The Spring 2010 issue of The MHEDA Journal, with the cover “2010: The Rules Have Changed,” is a fantastic offering! I think this is the most helpful edition that has been put out in a while—maybe ever. It just seems like it is stacked full of great advice that is very timely for the dealer in today’s business environment! Congrats to everybody that had a hand in putting this together. Well done!

— Brian Harris, Vice President, Sunbelt Industrial Trucks (Dallas, TX)

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association

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