Editors Blog

Taking Care of Business: Competition Saving, Not Killing This Guy

March 14, 2008

I liked this story I read last week about an HVAC contractor who saved the life of a competitor - literally. I picked up the story from an online version of The Brick Times in Lakehurst, N.J.

Don Bertrand is owner of Brick Heating & Cooling and Al Rogulski is owner of Care Temp Heating & Air Conditioning, two local businesses. Although Bertrand turned his business over to family members a few years ago, he remains an active member of the local business community and still keeps a watchful eye on other HVAC contractors, like Rogulski.

Both men were invitees on a boating and snorkeling trip last year sponsored by one of their local distributors. It is not uncommon for this distributor (and many others across the United States) to reward its best customers with a thank you outing. The men were among several New Jersey business owners enjoying a day on the water.

Bertrand jumped into the water to go snorkeling while Rogulski decided to stay dry and remain in the catamaran, which other people used as a launching point for their forays into the water. “I decided not to go snorkeling,” he told the Times. “The water was kind of rough. Within 15 minutes, there were people screaming. Someone was floating, bumping up against the boat.”

The floater was Bertrand.

“I've snorkeled before, years ago. I knew how,” Bertrand said in the news article. “I decided to go out. I didn’t think I’d have any trouble. It started to get rough and windy. I started back. I was swimming against the tide. I got about eight or 10 feet from the catamaran. My face went down in the water and I went out.”

Other people pulled Bertrand out of the water, but he was not breathing. He needed CPR but no one in the boat knew how to perform it. That’s when in rushed Rogulski’s adrenaline. Although he wasn’t trained in CPR, he knew he had to do something.

“(Bertrand) had salt in his nose, water coming out of his nose,” Rogulski told the Times. “I knew that if I didn’t intervene that he was going to die.” It took him 15 minutes to revive Bertrand but it worked. “I've never performed CPR before. Just something took over. After the fact, it was overwhelming.”

It didn’t matter to Rogulski that he saved the life of a competitor - it mattered that he saved a life. Period.

“I just felt like I had to do what I had to do,” he said.

Nice job, now get back to work. Competition is killing you.

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