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28. Think Safe. Work Safe. | Josh’s Message

Josh’s Message:

I think that when most people hear “Safety”, they automatically start thinking about different policies, procedures, or Personal Protective Equipment. Many people view safety as a “have to”, rather than a “want to”. There are many aspects of safety, and it’s easy to overlook its importance. . . We all need to go home to our families at the end of the day, and also be in good health.

Safety deals with the little things. It’s rarely one big mistake that leads up to an accident. It’s usually many small things that compound to create hazardous environments or situations. After accidents or injuries, it’s easy to have 20-20 hindsight.. Although examining what led to accidents is important, being proactive is just as, if not more, beneficial in creating a safe working environment. Instead of walking past a piece of paper on the floor, take the time to pick it up so no one slips on it. If someone needs help lifting something, offer assistance. If you see something unsafe, let your leaders know.
Safety, or a lack thereof, affects more people than just yourself. I have two young kids at home. If I were to get seriously hurt at work, or really anywhere, I have two kids whose lives would change drastically. I don’t want them to be affected because of poor decisions I’ve made. The same thing goes with those in our Famous family. Every day, the things we do not only affect us, but our co-workers and fellow associates. One associate that immediately comes to mind is Nichole VanHorn at the CDC. Not only does she work on her daily tasks in an organized way, she genuinely cares for the well being of the associates in the building. Nichole is always there to offer help, and always works to ensure safety procedures are being followed.

If we can look at the small things and realize that every little bit affects the bigger picture, we will become more efficient, productive, and safer. It’s not always convenient or easy, but we all have to do our part, even if it means going above and beyond and focusing on continuously improving our surroundings and ourselves. I’ll leave you with a quote that I had heard from Mary Hawk at the CDC.

“Safety is like a wheelbarrow. Sometimes you have to pick it up and push it!”

Josh Anderson
Central Distribution Center

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27. Share The Why | Jennica’s Message

Jennica’s Message:

I’ve been at Famous for 11 years and have experienced “Sharing the Why” from both ends of the spectrum. Without this Fundamental, I wouldn’t have learned as much, or be able to teach as much as I do today.

I started in Will Call picking orders with little knowledge of parts, the warehouse or the computer system. One person that I could always count on to explain the system, and how what I do affects other aspects of the business, was Lora Yakubik. When she took the time to explain the little things like sales history and inventory adjustments, it made a huge difference when I moved from Will Call to Inventory Control. To this day, I stress the importance of knowing how every position in the company ties together to everyone I come in contact with.

Fast forward to my present position as HVAC Warranty Specialist. Mark Ham has been instrumental to my success when it comes to communicating with associates, contractors and vendors. His technical advice allows me to explain why I am asking for more information. This has made a very positive impact on my relationships and success in my career. For example, Boehmer Heating & Cooling and MP Vivo Heating & Air Conditioning make my job a breeze. Any time that we have a warranty situation, it requires basic information such as model, serial number and homeowner information. When there are extenuating circumstances and complicated details, these contractors really shine. Their pride in record keeping is exceptional and it is something that I am able to learn from. My job is to help them help their customers. I take so much pride in being able to do just that with their help.

Most times it is easier to just do something ourselves because we already know how to do it, and why it has to be done. But if we take the time to teach others around us and “Share the Why”, we’ll all be able to accomplish more.


Jennica Messmore
Warranty Specialist

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26. Work With A Sense Of Urgency | Dani’s Message

Dani’s Message:

I chose Work With A Sense Of Urgency because it’s something that resonates with me. This is how my mind works – how I look at what needs to be done and how to approach it. I like hustle. I like a “get ‘er done” attitude. When I think about my work, it can be difficult to get perspective on priorities. There are requests coming from every direction– verbal requests, phone calls, emails, the mail – even someone stopping you in the hallway. I always keep a to-do list of things that I need to get done. It can become overwhelming. But one thing I’ve learned over time is asking myself – “can I do this now and get it taken care of?”

There is no sense in getting an email, marking it with a due date, filing it and writing it on a “to-do” list, when it may take a minute to look up the answer, reply and delete. Move on to the next thing. In the time you take to catalog it on your to-do list, you could have it done and off your plate. Consider that the next time you get an email or a request. That way you have it finished and your mind is free to tackle the next issue.

When I think of someone who works with a sense of urgency, I immediately think of Julie Wright. She does not mess around. She has so many requests coming in from everywhere and yet she is one person who always responds quickly when I need something. She gets a request and takes care of it immediately.

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” Leonardo da Vinci

Dani Procyshyn
Assistant Controller

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25. Be Relentless About Continuous Improvement | Rick’s Message

Rick’s Message:

Continuous Improvement is extremely important to the success of Famous, so much so that it is also one of our Core Values. This commitment to continuous improvement has been vital to Famous’ past success and will be even more vital in today’s rapidly changing environment.

It is the responsibility of every associate at Famous, regardless of department or position, to always look for a better, more efficient way of doing things. Even when things are running smoothly and you are content with your processes, challenging yourself to ‘improve’ the process will benefit you and everyone in the company. When we challenge ourselves and strive to become better, it is contagious; everything around us becomes better too.

Not challenging ourselves and continually looking for opportunities for improvement is not an option in today’s world. Embracing Change is another one of our fundamentals that comes to mind as a necessary part of living this fundamental. If we are not moving forward, we’ll be left behind. I’m sure everyone can think of at least a dozen companies that were around for many years that are no longer in existence because they did not practice continuous improvement. They were reliant that their processes and successes of the past would carry them into the future; utilizing the logic of “we’ve always done it this way”.

One associate that comes to mind when I think of this fundamental is Del Landin. Anyone that has worked with him knows he is passionate about process improvement. Having worked with Del on several projects, I know he continually challenges all members of the team to provide input into improving their processes, and contribute to continual improvement.

“Success is a process that continues, not a status that you reach. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.” – Denis Waitley

Rick Dunn
Transportation Manager

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24. Embrace Change | Brian’s Message

Brian’s Message:

Just when you start to get used to doing the same thing every day, life will always throw you a changeup. Change is not always as welcome as trading your fold up map in the glove box for a handy little smart phone. How we respond and adapt is what sets us apart from others in life and business.

Think of change as it relates to your favorite sports team. Each year fans eagerly look forward to embracing new changes with players and coaching in hopes of having a team that can contend for a championship. The best teams look back at what they’ve done and develop new strategies and rosters in order to move forward towards the goal of winning a championship.

Famous Supply has been in the distribution business since 1933 selling countless different brands and delighting customers with our service. In recent years we’ve changed things up by offering our own Private Label products. This came about by changes in the market as our competition developed their own Private Label goods. Customers consistently demand more value to stay competitive in a changing industry. We embraced the request by sourcing high quality products that our customers love. This initiative has greatly benefitted Famous by allowing us to be more competitive when we sell these quality products, giving our customers a new choice of product that meets their needs.  

We don’t always have this kind of control when it comes to change but we do have control of the attitude we express when change is present. Look for the positive outcomes and remember that it takes time to do anything worth accomplishing.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” –Henry Ford


Brian Burrer
Business Development Manager/National Accounts

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22. “Bring It” Every Day. | Mike’s Message

Mike’s Message:

Anyone who has served their country in the military knows, we must bring it every day! A good example of this is one of our own, Jeff Mason. Jeff served honorably in the United States Marine Corps and was deployed overseas to fight for and defend our freedom. While in harm’s way, he knew he had to bring it every day and do whatever was needed, so that they could engage the enemy, hit the objective, and accomplish the mission.         

Our mission here at Famous is to supply the best product at a fair and competitive price and with great customer service. Jeff leads by example. Whether it was in his previous role in Building Products sales or in his new role with the Purchasing Team, he brings it every day. For all of us at Famous it doesn’t matter what your role (our mission) is because we are on the same team and we have the same goal. So this week let’s, bring it every day and Famous will accomplish the mission.


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21. Communicate to be Understood. | Samantha’s Message

Samantha’s Message:

Like many of our Fundamentals this is one that requires us to practice several of the others to get right.  It goes far beyond just spelling and grammar.  It’s being clear on expectations, sharing the why, speaking straight, and walking in each other’s shoes. Everyone receives information differently and we don’t always know what someone’s preference is.  I think the best thing we can do is exactly what this fundamental says; “Be brief, accurate, clear, and use the simplest possible explanations”.

Email and text messaging is fast and effective, but often leaves tone and intent up for misinterpretation.

One sentence read in the wrong context can damage a working relationship. Saying, “That’s fine, do what you want” doesn’t always come off as breezy and laid back, but passive aggressive.   That’s why it’s better to know when to pick up a phone or drop by someone’s desk for a conversation rather than shooting someone an email because it’s expedient. This is especially true when you are discussing something complicated, time sensitive, or difficult.  A lot can get lost in translation, but a phone call or a face to face conversation with a follow up message leads to a lot less confusion in the long run. I struggle with proofreading my emails before I send them to make sure my spelling is correct and my commas are in the correct place.  When I have to type a long message I tend to make less errors if I walk away for a minute and come back to proof-read my message before I send it.  Like my 5th grade teacher wrote on the chalkboard one afternoon, there is a big difference between “Let’s eat, grandpa” and “Let’s eat grandpa”.

Mike Dakes and Bryan Huntley do really well practicing this Fundamental. If they have a question for me or need me to do something for them they usually touch base with me personally to make sure I understand what they need so that all future email conversations surrounding the subject go much smoother.


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20. Be a Mentor. | Jen’s Message

Jen’s Message:

Knowledge, education, and experience are key drivers of success for our company. To continue making forward progress, we must encourage each other to gain a better understanding of Famous as a whole. Learning from someone who has more experience is one of the quickest ways we can grow in our own development. The more we know, the better we are able to serve our customers. We cannot be the best in this industry if we are not actively seeking to better our knowledge base.

Being a mentor is one fundamental that is very close to my heart as I came to Famous with zero experience in this industry. My background was sales and customer service and I relied on the leadership and guidance from others to help me learn the products, our system, and The Famous Way. Learning from the experience of other people is one of my favorite ways to expand my education. It adds personal connections and creates memories which can make it easier to remember specific details.

When I think about people who excel at being a mentor, I immediately think of Mel Staats. She is always willing to answer any questions I may have and will patiently show me the correct way to handle any situation. She encourages me and challenges me to go out of my comfort zone. I am very fortunate to be working with such an incredible leader and mentor.

Being a mentor can be as simple as showing someone how to do something instead of doing it for them. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” Let’s teach each other how to fish. No one can be an expert in every aspect of what our company does but take a minute to think about what could happen to our company if every single person became a mentor. By taking the time to help each other learn, we can continue to grow as individuals, progress as a company, and provide better service to our customers.

Happy fishing!


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19. Create a Great Impression. | Olivia’s Message

Olivia’s Message:

Great impressions matter a lot– sometimes you’ve only got one shot! Some studies say that you only have 30 seconds to impress someone and other studies say that it only takes seven seconds before a judgement has been made by the other party. It’s not impossible to reverse someone’s opinion of you but it takes a lot of work and time to reverse first impressions.

As I recruit our amazing talent, I try to remember that every step in the interview process can influence the candidate’s impression of our company. Lack of response can also kill a relationship; it shows the other party that you don’t value their time as much as you do your own, or that you simply aren’t interested in them. It is incumbent upon us to show respect to one another.

Each of you formed an impression of Famous from the first interview, to the first day on the job. I would go one step further and say every day is an opportunity to leave a great impression on our fellow teammates, customers and suppliers.

When I first started at Famous I felt very welcomed by many. Michelle Gresh created one of the greatest impressions when I visited the Ashtabula branch for the first time. She was warm and friendly, and introduced me to everyone in the branch. She explained the history of the building and the town itself. She took pride in the branch and her fellow coworkers and went to great lengths to make me feel welcome. I know many here at Famous, both past and present, have made great sacrifices to build meaningful relationships.

It’s the little things that create great impressions, such as a friendly greeting to a customer, welcoming a new associate to the team, or inviting a fellow co-worker to eat lunch with you. These actions build comradery and can create strong bonds. We all have a part in creating a positive work environment not only for external customers, but for each other as well.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” – Will Rodgers


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18. Be Positive. | Travis’ Message

Travis’ Message:

Being positive is essential to success at Famous Supply because the more we exude positivity, the better our chances of finding lasting success and happiness. By looking at the bright side of situations, we will produce far more positive outcomes than negatives. This is especially important when dealing with people; we have to remember to see the best in others whether they are coworkers, customers or vendors. Being positive opens doors to better relationships and improved communication. Positivity makes an individual more approachable which improves communication and builds stronger relationships. When an individual is in a negative state, it brings negative outcomes. If we fail at being positive, negativity fosters a negative environment.

We’ve all had those days where it feels like nothing can go right, and it’s “one thing after another”. Those are the important moments where we need to make a conscious decision to be positive, even though the easier route may be negative. Within the walls of Branch 63 (Ashland, VA), we have a phrase that we often say while loading up the trucks for the next day’s deliveries. “Somedays you eat the bear, but somedays the bear eats you”. This positive statement not only makes us laugh, but also produces a positive environment. It reminds us that not every day will be a good one, but most days will.

Teamwork is a great way to practice positivity; working well with coworkers fosters an optimistic work environment. Looking at the glass half full instead of half empty is a positive attribute. A positive outlook includes starting the day with positive thoughts. Recognizing a coworker for something that they did well is a great way to spread positivity.

If you were to turn 180 degrees away from negative thinking, where would you find yourself?


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