It’s already a cliché to say that 2020 has been a year like no other. Few people will be sorry to see it end. Looking around at our friends and neighbors whose jobs have disappeared as businesses have closed, the first among our mixed emotions is gratitude for our customers and our colleagues. The year has certainly not been all bad. We asked four Graham mainstays – General Manager Donny Pitts, sales managers Dave Arnett and Teddy Mathis, and parts manager Robert Perkins – to take a look back.
Favorite rig of the year
Dave and Robert both quickly point to the Maverick and even use the same language to describe it. Robert calls it “the most exciting thing to roll out of Graham,” and Dave observes, “It’s been fun to see the excitement the Maverick has created.” Teddy points to the new design that Graham created for Elite Lawn Care. Donny takes a broader view: “I can’t say that I have one favorite, but I like the rigs that challenge us and make us get out of our box.”
(As for the part of the year, Robert says the most requested by far is the AR30/40 Blueflex Diaphragm Kit.)
Lessons from working through a pandemic
Dave and Teddy both say, “Stay the course.” Donny expands on this point: “I learned not to panic, to stay the course and just deal with things as they come up. We didn’t know what was happening or what was going to happen but realized it was out of our control, so we just kept doing what we do and things turned out well for us.”
Robert points to specific operational changes: First, shipping requests have increased, as even customers who aren’t far away reduce face-to-face contact. Second, supportive vendors have helped Graham cut expenses by shipping directly to customers.
Favorite business memory of the year
Teddy recalls traveling to Boston just before the pandemic worsened. Robert’s is meeting Michael Stewart at Turf Doctor of Madison for the first time. Dave’s is more general: “The fact that we continued to grow during this crazy year.”
Donny responds, “My favorite thing about this year has been watching our people take responsibility for their actions, caring about their fellow employees, and taking pride in the fact that we were not going to shut down and we would get through this craziness.”
Top tips for customers going into 2021
Dave: “Maintain your equipment properly.”
Donny: “Take care of your rig and it will take care of you.”
Robert: “Call us any time you need troubleshooting advice. And change your diaphragms every year.”
Teddy: “Stay the course.”
– – – – – – – – – –
All of us at Graham thank you for your continuing business and support. The challenges we face will definitely continue into next year, but they will seem much less daunting if we continue to work together.