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20. Be A Mentor. | Matt’s Message

Matt’s Message:
I have been fortunate enough to be with Famous for over 7 years. Looking back at my time here, one thing becomes obvious. If it was not for the continuous mentoring that I have received, I would not be where I am today.

The beginning of my career here had me pulling orders, learning to write orders inside, and working the counter with the crew at Cleveland West. Bob Russ is someone who took me under his wing. He not only made me feel welcome, but he and the rest of the team took the time to teach me every step of the way to ensure my, and Famous’, future success. After my time there I was on the road learning what to do and, sometimes more importantly, what not to do, with Joe Ruby, Mike Scott, and Sherri Foster. Once I was out calling on customers by myself, I ran into some roadblocks. Tom Krejci swooped in out of nowhere and helped me break through those obstacles. As I have continued with Famous, I have found opportunities to mentor others the way I have been since day one at Famous.

Growing up, my father instilled in me the idea of a successful mentor/mentee relationship. We rely on these relationships to help us grow and help others to reach their potential. Mentoring is not teaching someone else what to do. It’s a partnership between two individuals. When someone is giving of their time and talent, it’s your job to be respectful and receptive. No one can teach if no one is willing to learn. I encourage everyone, every day to not only be a mentor, but be a quality mentee as well.

Matt Penn
Outside Sales/Famous Bedford

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19. Create A Great Impression. | Kayli’s Message

Kayli’s Message:

Perception is everything. How you are perceived upon meeting someone for the first, or the 100th, time creates a feeling about you and what you represent in that person’s mind. Everything you do and say is a representation of you and organizations you’re involved with.

I was reminded of this recently. My parents are educators in the school district where I recently moved to. For the first time I was able to vote for my alumnus’ levy. While standing in line, someone approached me that I did not know. They asked if this happened all the time; that people know who I am, but I don’t know who they are. I answered, “Yes it does and I am always aware of how I conduct myself in the community because I know that I am representing my parents and am a reflection of them.”

I find myself forming opinions about organizations based on how their members act in my presence. One associate that comes to mind for being the best example of practicing this fundamental is Sheila Messner, our corporate receptionist. She always greets everyone who walks through our doors with a friendly smile, and a warm welcome. Sheila is often the first impression our associates, customers, vendors and guests have when they walk through our doors. She does a great job representing Famous and all of our 40 Fundamentals. I hope that everyone takes a minute to reflect on how your actions and attitude at work events, sales calls, counter days, etc. affect how our customers and vendors perceive Famous as a whole.


Kayli Bookman

Marketing Coordinator

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18. Be Positive. | Jim’s Message

Jim’s Message:

Your positive thinking, combined with your positive action, results in success.

Having positive actions, and reactions during each day takes effort. It is easier to do it with a group of people that have the same common purpose. It is also contagious, so keep it up!

The thinking part is the key to it all. We can choose our thoughts and let go of the negative ones. Henry Ford was quoted as saying, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the reason why so few people engage in it.”

A few people that deserve recognition for consistently being “positive” are Joe Arra, Michelle Morgan, Joe Hammer and John Mellor.

Like many others, I will remain a work in progress, but I am POSITIVE that it will end in success, just like it has for many others in our company. I am glad that we have a great group of personnel that think positive and take positive action each day.

Jim Hohman
Outside Sales/Famous Warren

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17. Deliver Results. | Tommy’s Message

Tommy’s Message:

Intentions can be dangerous. Intentions are those things that we mean to do. We can all have “good intentions,” but good intentions in themselves won’t complete a task.

This fundamental, in my mind, is very similar to the “See It, Own It, Solve It, Do It” fundamental. We get positive results by seeing an opportunity, taking ownership, of it, solving the issue, and driving the project to completion. However, if we stopped at simply solving the problem, would we be delivering the desired results? Obviously not the kind of results our managers would like to see. Delivering results is all about execution! Without executing what we have prepared, we would never get the results we want.

Being that I’m a huge Browns fan, I’ll use them as my example. All offseason we’ve heard that they are preparing for a big year. They’ve set their goals high, they’ve acquired some incredible talent on offense and defense (sorry Steeler fans), and they have the drive and passion to be, in the words of Odell Beckham Jr, legendary! However, the one thing they have to do in order to deliver their desired result, of winning a Super Bowl, is to execute.

There are a few people at Famous who I’ve noticed really deliver results on a regular basis. One being Bruce Raff who is basically a jack of all trades and always does an excellent job helping out Marketing at our Expo’s. Additionally, is the entire IT team, who are always running around (sometimes literally) trying to fix our problems as quickly as possible.

Tommy Klayko
Marketing Specialist

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16. Practice Blameless Problem-Solving. | Sherri’s Message

Sherri’s message:

In our line of business, we often run into problems with some of the products we offer. When problems occur, it’s important we do our best to solve the issue rather than pointing fingers.

There are several people who practice this fundamental every day, and the two who live this fundamental the most that I believe is Mark Ham and Jeff Rosenblum. We are very fortunate to have both of them on our team. Most of the time they can help the customer identify the problem just by asking a few simple questions. Sometimes it gets a little more technical and may take phone calls to the manufacturer, a job site visit or collaboration on the issue. However, they always identify the problem and give our customers the solution they need.

Sherri Foster
Customer Service Manager/Famous Cleveland East

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15. Walk In Others’ Shoes. | Callie’s Message

Callie’s Message:

This saying dates back to the Native American Cherokee tribe and became popular in the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

When I was growing up my mother used to say, “you do not know anyone until you walk in their shoes.”

“Walk In Other’s Shoes” is a saying we all know. But when it comes to actually understanding why someone is the way they are, it is easier to label them with a negative characteristic. To walk in someone’s shoes means to put yourself in the other person’s position to understand their actions or feelings no matter what the circumstance. If we lived this fundamental so many of our 40 fundamentals would be automatic.

We gain empathy and appreciation when we walk in other’s shoes.

We can better appreciate our customer’s issues when we live this fundamental. Many of us do the same thing every day, get good at what we do, then become complacent. An associate at Famous who lives this fundamental in everything she does and says daily is Judy Noll.

By living this fundamental we turn empathy into a best business practice. It increases commitment to our customers, fellow associates and business partners!

Callie St. Clair
National Accounts CSR

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14. Be Humble. | Tony’s Message

Tony’s Message:

Being Humble leaves a lasting impression on what people think of you. It can play a large role in creating a successful business relationship.                    

Expressing this trait towards others benefits everyone. It makes people feel comfortable in your presence and can open lines of communications. This to me builds trust and loyalty with customers and associates.

A good way to practice or improve being humble would be to always be cordial, ask questions, share your knowledge without arrogance, show respect to others, listen to what others have to say before committing to anything, and embrace change.  These are just a few steps, I’m sure there are many others to apply.

Not showing humility towards others can be a determining factor in them befriending or defriending you.  In sales we all know how important that can be.

A good example of this fundamental in action would be our Famous Round Table meetings. Our ELT exemplifies being humble by meeting with everyone in all departments. Getting associates to feel comfortable amongst their supervisors and fellow associates, sharing knowledge, asking questions, and opening discussions for debates. They are open for suggestions and give us an opportunity to make a difference in our company.

Remember, “People want to work for people who value their opinions.”

“No one person has all the answers. If you think you do, it’s time to reassess.”

Ask yourself, can I improve on being a more humble person? Being humble in representing yourself is a life lesson we should never forget or stop learning.


Tony Williamson
Famous Supply Toledo/Outside Sales

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12. Go Above And Beyond. | Amber’s Message

Amber’s Message:

Going above and beyond is what makes Famous Supply stand out from other distributors. Going the extra mile helps us all be a better person; it’s what sets us apart from everyone else.

This fundamental is what “we” at Famous Supply strive for day in and day out. We enjoy making each encounter memorable and each experience better than the next.

I am lucky enough to work at the Toledo Branch under Don Short, where everyone on our team goes above and beyond. Don will not accept any other behavior than above and beyond.

In Toledo, as a TEAM we handle our daily tasks and responsibilities together. When one area needs extra support, we as a team come together and go above and beyond. We make each other better in Toledo, the support we give one another helps us as a company be great.

Next time you are working with a customer or talking with an associate, take the time to go the extra mile. Above and beyond doesn’t have to be a task or chore, it could be as simple as asking someone “how are you doing today?”. Go above and beyond in all aspect of life and strive to do better every day! I can honestly say doing this will make you feel better as a person!

AmberAmber Swartz
Regional Showroom Lead / Showroom Consultant

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11. Speak Straight. | Pete’s Message

Pete’s Message:
Does Speaking Straight mean speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? NO! Doing that without thinking of the other parties involved can be rude! Does this mean to lie? NO!

In business and personal relationships, we are often tasked to deliver unwanted or difficult news. Regardless of the news, if done with Tact, Honesty and Integrity, it will be well received. Even if it’s not, most of the time the other party will appreciate you telling them.

A customer wants to know if their delivery is delayed, the product is damaged, or the truck had a flat tire. This is as important as knowing that everything is on time. They need to be able to make arrangements. They don’t want to pay a crew to sit and wait for something that’s not coming or is damaged.

If you are unhappy with something and never speak of it, no one will ever know. Sometimes this is okay. Other times not.

When I was a child, a friend of my father’s would often come over after work. On occasion he would bring me a couple of chocolate chip cookies left over from his lunch. I thought this was because he knew I loved them.

I found out later in life that it was because he disliked chocolate chip cookies. He didn’t want to tell his wife he hated them because she loved baking for him.
So he could have looked at this two ways:
• Tell the baker in hopes of getting a different flavor cookie.
• Tell the baker and risk never getting cookies again!
If you ask me, he made the right choice! I still love cookies!

So “Speak Straight”, but it’s best not to speak when you’re angry. Most times you will say things you will regret later.

We have all heard things like “think before you speak” or “Once the words leave your mouth they can’t be retrieved.”

So think about what you’re about to say and ask yourself:

Is it True
Is it Helpful
Is it Inspiring
Is it Necessary
Is it Kind

Have a great day!

Pete Isaacs
Building Products & Multi Family Housing Specialist | Famous Supply

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10. Listen Generously And With Patience. | Elio’s Message

Elio’s Message:
Have you ever been in a meeting where everyone is talking over one another so their points could be shared? How often do we listen to truly understand the other’s point of view? When we learn to listen and understand the perspectives of others, we improve interpersonal relationships and achieve better results (often because we have better information on which to act).

Listening is one of the most important skills in life. Listening costs nothing. It allows you to understand the person sitting across from you, connect with them and reach common ground. Listening is the golden key to relationships. You spend years learning how to read and write, and years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training have we had that enables us to listen so we deeply understand another human being? Probably none, right?

Most people try to be understood; they want to get their point across. In doing so, they may ignore the other person completely. Some pretend they’re listening, selectively hearing only certain parts of the conversation, or hearing only the words being said and missing the meaning entirely. Why does this happen? Because most people are preparing a reply while they’re “listening”. We filter everything we hear through our life experiences as a frame of reference. We check what we hear against our autobiography and see how it measures up. Consequently, we prematurely decide what the other person means before they finish communicating.

I practice, and at times I struggle and fail. I often catch myself doing two things at once because of all the things on my plate. When I sit with a person I try to just take notes and save my questions until they’re done expressing their thoughts. I try to look at the scenario from their shoes. I find when I focus and let them say everything they want, I get a better understanding of the situation.

Tom Krejci is a great listener. When Tom was at Famous, he would push everything else away and give me his undivided attention no matter what we were talking about. Mike Scott is also a good listener. I had the pleasure of making a joint sales call with Mike to meet a very large customer. Mike had a piece of paper and a pen. His phone was in his pocket. Mike would ask a question and listen, looking right at the customer. He wrote an occasional note, but never interrupted. When the customer had concluded their thought, he would ask if there was anything else. Only after that did he ask a question or two, and the process would start all over again. At the end of the 20-minute conversation Mike summarized what was discussed, asked if he captured everything and asked the customer if they had anything else to add.

Listening isn’t just what happens when someone else is speaking. It’s a skill that we all can get better at to become better leaders, associates, friends, and human beings.

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” — Doug Larson

Elio Andreatta
Director – HVAC Products | Famous Enterprises

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