Gallatin Happenings.. and why I (do) love Servpro

>> Thursday, June 10, 2010

I have now been in Gallatin for 13 days and thought I would never make it to our "day off". Servpro boot camp has been intense (to say the least).

I'm now sitting in an amazing coffee shop (Cafe Coco) in Nashville and feeling reflective.. because that's how coffee shops are supposed to make you feel.

My feelings about this Servpro decision have wavered greatly since the beginning of the New Franchise Training Program. I went from totally pumped in the first couple of days to scared crapless by corporate. Not to mention, after spending 13 days sharing a room with my brother I have started to question this "family business" thing... ha. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't have a better family to go into business with.. but let's be honest... sharing such huge life responsibilities is far from easy!

What it really comes down to is more than just nasty restoration jobs, yearly earnings and franchise regulations. This business isn't just a business. It was created from the sweat and tears of my grandfather and has been passed down because of his amazing love for his family.

Luther Martin Williams: "Papa"

In 1969 my granddad became the third Servpro franchise owner, following closely behind CEO Ted Issacson and his partner, Tal. All three of them were Service Master franchise owners and became friends through the annual conventions. Ted and Tal decided to branch off from Service Master due to difficulty in chemical distribution with corporate. They began the franchise as a painting company in Sacramento and decided to expand the operation into a restoration company in 1969. My grandfather was among the first on board with the new franchise decision, following shortly behind by other former Service Master associates in Washington DC and California.

As a regional director, my grandfather recruited new businesses in the Southeast quicker than any other Servpro owner to date. At one point, he trained and serviced North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida all from his local West Columbia office. He was also one of three owners to receive the Humanitarian Award (pictured above) for his amazing contribution to Servpro and the local community.

Growing up I loved my papa for many reasons, but not because of his accomplishments. Honestly, I have been a little oblivious of that portion of his life until this month.

My papa was a truly humble man. He loved us so much and spent a great deal of time with me during my outdoor nature-crazy phase. Actually I was lucky to have two grandfathers who put up with my obsession for fishing and furry creatures.

When I was 9 I decided I wanted to raise baby ducks in our pond with an incubator. My papa knew the unlikelihood of me succeeding with such a venture, but bought me an incubator anyway (don't tell PETA..ha). We kept the incubator in his laundry room, which for some reason my nana approved of, and I filled it up with eggs every time I found a new nest around the pond. Out of probably 3 dozen eggs I successfully raised one duck to adulthood. My papa was so incredibly patient with me, gently reminding me that if I opened the incubator too often the eggs would not hatch. Looking back I probably shouldn't have been allowed to take on such a project (for the poor ducklings' sake) but it taught me a lot. It also brought me a lot closer to my papa.

To me, he was just a wonderful father figure who joined me in my love for the outdoors. To find out he also basically built an empire as a businessman and community leader is just all the more wonderful. Not that I'm surprised.

Since I never gave him any reason to believe I would ever want anything to do with Servpro, I hope that he is looking down from heaven and is excited to see Taylor and I embarking on this new journey.

I know it won't be easy, but I have the best motivation to succeed. Because, after all, it's not about money or accomplishments, rather it's about family and self-determination. I'm not going to disrespect my papa's and dad's hard work by not giving this thing my best.

So, there's my sappy blog entry for the week. I write these entries for myself, but I also know my mom religiously reads them so, there ya go, mom :)

I probably won't add another post during my stay in Gallatin, but I'm excited to be shooting a family of 9 in North Myrtle Beach next weekend! Stay tuned...


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Tia Nicole Photography has launched this summer after many practice photo sessions and the encouragement of some dear friends and family ("Life Through Tia's Lens" was a recommendation of my good friend, Kristin, who has been an avid supporter the whole way through!). This blog has documented the process from the beginning and also dates back to some older rantings during grad school and football seasons. Feel free to get to know me and my work. I like to focus primarily on natural shots, true emotions and beautiful landscapes. I also absolutely adore kids and pets so you will find a good bit of my work in these areas. Feel free to contact me anytime! I love blog comments!

My pup, Rylynn!

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