At Focus on the Future 2004, boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard touched on some of his memorable bouts during his inspirational closing speech.
ORLANDO, Fla. - Some contractor members of Plumbers' Success International (PSI), AirTime 500, and the newly formed Electricians' Success International‚ plan to go public early next year, according to the top executive of the groups' corporate parent.

"We're trying to get Wall Street interested in our industry again," said Jim Abrams, president and CEO of VenVest Inc., during a speech at the PSI Summit held in Orlando. "It is reaching a critical stage, and the door is about to open for those who want an exit strategy."

Abrams told the audience after the speech that a lot of work on the public offering still needs to be completed. While details at this stage are still sketchy, many contractor members have "put their houses in order" Abrams explained, to set the stage for Wall Street.

Putting their houses in order would mean, among other factors, having double-digit profits; double-digit annual growth rates; common financial and accounting software; and technicians on salary versus a salary plus commission.

The proposed deal would not affect Abrams' plumbing-related plans for the Ben Franklin franchise or other contractors affiliated with PSI who plan on staying independent.

Abrams knows first-hand the difficulty even a successful contractor can have when looking for a reward for a lifetime of hard work. Abrams told the crowd that in the early 1990s nobody wanted to buy his contracting business, even though it was profitable and ringing up $6 million in sales. He ended up selling the business to a couple of employees, only to take it back just two years later, after the company's fortunes soured.

VenVest Inc. President and CEO Jim Abrams informed attendees, “We’re trying to get Wall Street interested in our industry again.”
"There has to be some real money to be made or my story becomes your story," Abrams said.

The day after Abrams' speech, about 825 people attended and heard motivational speeches at the second annual Focus on the Future 2004, an event de-signed for technicians and office staff, and open to the entire contracting industry. The event was hosted by Success Group International.

"We're always looking for ways to enhance the lives of contractors and their employees and better the industry as a whole," said Terry Nicholson, president of Success Group International.

Common sense uncommonly applied may be the best way to sum up the day's various speeches.

In his talk, industry consultant Al Roach said, "What a great time to be in the home services industry; a $50 billion industry in which you can't flush, you can't drink, you can't get cool when it's hot, and you can't get warm when it's cold, without all the people in this room." Roach went on to talk about the essentials of becoming a champion.

Several other speakers were featured as well at this year's event. Vince Lombardi Jr. shared his father's inspirational stories of triumph and his own experiences and insight on achieving peak performance. Zig Ziglar Training's Krish Dhanam outlined how to overcome obstacles that naturally get in the way of your goals. Nicholson shared seven "Dare to be a Dreamcatcher" maxims that can help you achieve your goals. Carl DiBene, director of the New Millennium Academy, diagramed his concepts for "building a bridge" to the future.

Boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard, the closing speaker, gave a speech that featured highlights of his prize fights, along with how determination and perseverance can help outside the ring, too.

Smith is editor of Plumbing & Mechanical, a sister publication of The News.

Publication date: 06/14/2004