Doing a 360

There’s a great story about a co-pilot in an airliner who blunders into a thunderstorm while flying along one day. Amid the turbulence and flashes of lightning the captain cries out, “Quick, let’s make a 360 and get out of here!” To which the hapless co-pilot replies, “Which way, left or right?”

I recently retired from my career as a captain and check airman for a major airline. Previous to my retirement, Kent Rawhouser, my longtime friend and Bible study companion, discussed the possibility of my working for A&J Specialty Services, Inc. when I finally “pulled the plug.” Due to the turbulent economic times, I retired a few months earlier than was previously planned, and I started working part-time for Kent.

Because of my previous experience as an instructor and a contributor to some of the procedural manuals of my former airline, Kent put me to work analyzing and writing procedures for his restoration business. At the same time I took classes and examinations to qualify as a fire and smoke restoration technician, and a water restoration technician. I also visited a ‘sister business’ in Tulsa, Oklahoma to learn about contents restoration.

I have been pleasantly surprised at the many similarities between my old and new professions. Both perform a vital and needed service to the public. Both require great amounts of technical skill, study, training, and dedication to gain and maintain proficiency. Both require an understanding and deft touch in communicating with customers and clients. Both require a constant awareness of and dedication to safety and procedural compliance. Both operate in a fiercely competitive environment where client relationships are won and maintained through prompt service, skill, care, and listening.

Kent has also asked me to help apply a new, high-powered business software program called InSite-360. This has involved a detailed process of converting the previous database to fit into ‘360’s’ new format. It also has afforded me the privilege of analyzing A&J’s complete operation so that I can apply ‘360’s’ various tools to the diverse elements of the business.

When people ask me how my retirement is going, and how I like my leisurely new life style, I chuckle and reply that I’m doing a ‘360’. My best informed friends ask, “Which way, left or right?”

by Mark Finley, Administrator/Manager, A&J Specialty Services, Inc.