Al’s Corner – November 2023

 Taking Inventory of Your Life, and Being Thankful

Good day everyone, Happy Thanksgiving, time for the November 2023 Al’s Corner note.

Ladies Day Luncheon is Dec 8th, at Bevo Mill in South St. Louis. This is a formidable day of great food, drinks, and networking. Go to the Transportation Club of St. Louis and register!

Taking Inventory of my personal and business life every year. I started doing this in late November of 1999 and have done so every year since at the same time. You see that is when I started taking 10-20 guys with me to the Memphis area, which morphed into an annual trip to Tunica Mississippi for golf, gaming, and libations. The first year 4 golfers went. We started calling this the “recruiting trip” as one of our attendees witnessed a major university recruiting a talented football player from Memphis. This recruit helped cause one of the greatest football schools’ teams in the country to be docked with a 2-year bowl ban, 5-year probation, and lost twenty-one scholarships. The school was Alabama. The former high school coaches of the player asked for illegal payoff types of stuff totaling $200,000 along with other illegal maneuvers. You cannot make this kind of stuff up. So, this all started around 25 years ago, with four guys playing golf near Memphis. Crazy but true.

The following twenty-four years were never like the first one again. For me, each time I went I took a moment to reflect on my personal life, which I was single when I started going, then married to Kathy five years into it. The married life with one of the nicest, sweetest, and beautiful women in the world, has been great. Plus, until this year I had my incredible cat Simbee to look forward to seeing when I got home for eighteen of these years. Now my business life has been a bit of a roller coaster. 

Through the years—The early years I did not have a great business income, so I had to spend wisely. Luckily, during my first year in Tunica I hit a $1200 jackpot on a $1 bet which paid for my next 2 years. I put $1,000 in my wallet and said I am going home with that much at least, which I did take more home actually. 

I remember 7 years being trickier than others like 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2020 and this year 2023 when I changed positions or companies. I had lots of uncertainty back then about what life would be like in the future. I think 2013 was the worst in uncertainty. I was fifty-four and starting over with my business partner of 4 years Brad. But we stayed focused by believing in our process, that we were good at this business, and we had a great idea that was good for the customer, the carrier and us. Plus, we worked cheaper I believe, at a lower percentage. We paid the carriers more, reducing our percentage, but we gained better service, and more loyal carriers. Plus, our staff, led by Debbie, outworked the competition. We have profit shared with our employees too. I must add that 2022 was amazing as our sales soared led by another incredible hire Jason.  

Overall, my business life has been tremendous, mostly. I learned to stay focused on where we were going, not the negativity of a bad outcome. 

So, my conclusion this year on my trip was that even though Brad and I had to change company affiliations, I (we) are in a good spot going forward. I believe we have partnered with a more honorable, more focused company in WEL that aligns with what we are trying to achieve for our customers of doing an excellent job (thanks WEL). Plus, our staff, carriers, and Brad and I should do great in the future. Again, this year I am grateful, even though change can be trying at the least. 

To end this month’s note I want to mention that Alana Reinhardt too is changing companies. I have known her for 15 years, and she is an impressive worker, wonderful lady, who is very smart, kind and just a beautiful person! Wherever she ends up that company will be INCREDIBLY lucky to have gotten her! 

Have a great month, and pray for peace in the future, AL

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