Murphy's Law: 2009 End-of-Year Fave Five

December 28, 2009
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Mike Murphy

Nearly 18 months ago, an opinion rendered in this fine assembly of paper and ink generated a noticeable amount of attention - “Who’s in Your Fave Five?” took a verse out of the T-Mobile TV commercials with Dwayne Wade and Charles Barkley, to create a list of people I would most like to have on my advisory team.

Closing out another successful year, why not think back to the people that may have most influenced our lives, our decisions, our successes? Thinking about those people whose opinions we most value may cause one to think, “I should be spending more time with people like that.”

Perhaps your list could include people you have never met. For me, Abe Lincoln sits high on the list. Though never having had the pleasure of sitting down with the old log splitter, something tells me that a little time with a person like that might be well worthwhile.


Drum roll, please! Who is on your list?

STEVE SAUNDERS: This tall Texan is quite well-known in a lot of industry circles. He or his company has received a bevy of awards from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, and he is a sought-after speaker, especially in regard to energy efficiency and the green movement.

I met Saunders a long time ago, and ended up at one of his backyard BBQs with all the staff at Tempo Mechanical Services, a funny name for a mostly residential HVAC company. If you know the man, you know he has the ability to create multiple syllables from formerly shorter words. Somehow, he always causes me to listen intently to whatever he is talking about, and when I walk away I’m thinking how I might implement something I’ve just learned from him.

What I like best about Saunders is that he is one of those people who makes time to make people feel important. I listen to people like that.

KYLE GARGARO: He is this big-headed, bearded guy that sits across the hall from me. He is the person that actually assembles the paper and ink every week that keeps The NEWS cranking on all eight cylinders. If it were not for him my life would be very complicated. But aside from his work ethic, his sense of humor and calm demeanor make him worth bouncing ideas off of on a regular basis - like daily. Gargaro is adept beyond his years.

Having one or more bright, young minds on one’s advisory board is a good idea in my book.

ADAMS HUDSON: If you have ever had any affection for marketing in your business, you may have heard of Hudson of Hudson Ink. He is one of those like him or not kind of guys. I started off pretty unsure of which side of that fence I was on. Now, I get on the phone with Hudson on a fairly regular basis. We actually come up with some amazing stuff, and he’s quick, which I really value, because I’m kind of slow. It’s a perfect match. Some conversations start off in one direction, do a 180-degree turn, or a 45, or a 90, and we end up with something else that can impact our businesses. Now, that is valuable. But, Adams, not so valuable that I’m going to pay you any more for the columns you write in The NEWS.

DAVID PANNIER: Sometimes the good guys in this business move on too soon. Pannier is one I will probably lose touch with as he is retiring from active duty at Trane/American Standard some time soon. I didn’t spend a lot of time with him, but when I did, and if I could again, he is the thoughtful, dry-witted type that makes you want to listen carefully when he talks. Smart as a whip, and he knows what is important for a business to be successful. Working with people rather than trying to override their agendas is his biggest strength. An industry titan, he could have played his trump card almost any time he wanted to, but he always seemed to find a nicer way to accomplish his goals. There is something to be learned from a person who can do that.

Dave, good luck on the golf course; as I recall, you’re going to lose some money.

MARISA AND MICHAELA MURPHY: A tie for fifth on the list. Not everything can be about business. In the day-to-day struggles, there are two people that I consider my best personal advisors - my two teenage daughters. We don’t always agree. In fact, as might be expected, we disagree a lot of the time. I like people who hold opposing views and don’t mind telling me so. This is a match that really was made in heaven. Love ya kids; you made the Fave Five this year, along with some other amazing people.

Happy New Year to all!

Publication date: 12/28/2009
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