Thursday, March 24, 2011

Paul Arpin and My First Encounter

1954 Paul Arpin, Sr. with the 1st AVL Truck Model

Over the years I have had the good fortune to have worked in an industry that has allowed me to build a career, create friends, personally grow and to be part of what I think is one of the best companies anywhere.  For me, working for Arpin Van Lines has been also a life lesson and I can contribute that to one man, Paul Arpin Senior.

My first real interaction with Paul Arpin came when I was with the company for only a few weeks.  I was working in dispatch on a Saturday and I was getting ready to leave when another Arpin employee came running in and asked if I wanted to go to a Red Sox game.

Like I said, I really just started at Arpin and didn't know many people and there was a bus in the warehouse parking lot heading to the game.

It turns out that Paul Arpin had booked a luxury box and was taking some employees and drivers up to the game. Someone was a no-show and the bus was waiting to take off, so that's where I entered.

I ran out to the bus, got on and looked around.  Every seat was taken except for one in the very front
next to Paul Arpin. I was very nervous as I never really spent any time talking to Mr. Arpin other than to say "hi".  I was as green as you could be in the moving business.  Paul could not of been any nicer.  All the way up to Boston, he talked baseball.  He loved the Red Sox and knew of all the players, past and present, along with their stats.

For my last job, I had dispatched servicemen for Honeywell and one of the electricians was installing motion detector lights designed for driveways. At that time, in 1985, it was very new on the market. In fact, he had to order them from New York. I was telling Mr. Arpin about them and he was interested in possibly installing them at his home.

I contacted my friend from Honeywell the next day to ask if he would help with more information and install them for Paul and of course, he agreed.

The next business day, I was sitting at my desk in dispatch and Mr. Arpin came to look things over as he did every day, 10-12 hours a day. He stood in the middle of the room and looked over everyone's dispatch cards, jobs that were booked and assigned drivers for the whole country. I walked up to him pretty proud of myself because here I was, fresh off a successful road trip with the man himself, and I had information that he may use to help him personally.

He was in the middle of the dispatch area looking some work over when I approached him and said, "Excuse me, Mr. Arpin, I have the information you were looking for on the motion detectors."  He put his hand up, stopped me and said, "We are in work now."

I slouched back to my chair with a valuable lesson: When Paul was at work, he was at work 100%.

He expected the same from his employees and drivers and crews.  He set the example EVERY DAY.

Paul went on to teach me many valuable business lessons, as well as life lessons, for the next 26 years, most I hope to share with you all on this blog.  And of course, Paul and I went on to have many conversations about the Red Sox.  (Thank GOD they won it all in 2004!  Paul and many of the Sox faithful were finally rewarded.)

Truth be told I learned many lessons along the way and I am still learning.

David Arpin, drivers, agents and fellow employees and of course, my family and personal experiences, are all a part of my education in the moving business, life and  more important: the people business.

Life presents opportunities to learn every day from everyone that you meet, work and converse with...that is if you allow yourself to listen, see and reflect honestly at the end of the day.