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Fridays With Fred


Next year is a big year for me — 35th year in business, new building, first grandchild. It’s made me reflective, and, if I’m honest, a little nostalgic. We’ve come a long way since that night in 1984 when it all began.

Hand-Me-Down Wisdom

A few weeks ago, I was getting my driveway re-asphalted and the contractor showed up 15 minutes early. He told me it was a lesson he’d learned from his father, who’d always told him to be early.

Hitting the Refresh Button

This year I had one of the most difficult hikes of my life. I returned to the Appalachian Trail for a six-day trip with our backpacking club. The first four days were excruciating and many times I thought I’d have to turn back.

My #1 Investment Tip

Some people invest in the stock market; I prefer to invest in people. Employees are one of the greatest assets a company has, and, ultimately, they’re the ones that are going to drive your business forward.

Life Can Be Taxing

After 38 years in the business world, I’ve realized that only one thing is as certain as taxes — life. Life happens, and unlike taxes, it doesn’t follow a nice schedule we can plan around every April. In fact, life is probably happening to someone around you right at this moment.

The Luckiest Break

Back when I was 30, I was teaching full-time and hated it. So I decided to go back to school to get my MBA. This meant I had to plan my classes around my teaching schedule, and the first one I could get was a programming course. I had no idea that I’d love it as much as I did — but that class changed everything.

Love Your Competitors, But Not Too Much

I’ve always thought you have two choices when it comes to competition: you either let it overwhelm you and view your competitors as enemies or you use it to push you forward and see your competitors as friends.

For the Love of Money

In 1974 I gave my mom 24 checks — half for my school loan, half for my car payment — with instructions to mail out a pair each month. I was 24 and had made the decision to convert my 1972 Ford Pinto into a “mobile home” and set off for adventure.

Sometimes You Have to Herd . . . Reindeer

Twelve years ago our first company Christmas card included 33 people and took about 45 minutes to complete. This year’s card had 300+ people and was a process of over 120 hours. In truth, bringing everyone together be a task. But the end result of doing so is worth it.