A Humbling Experience
Winning the Degelleke award is a very humbling experience! Joining a group of thirty-seven individuals, honored with this award in the past fifty four years is really incredible. The fact that it was completely unexpected makes the experience even more exceptional!
In the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to look back at the past thirty-six years of my career. The people. The products. The companies. The experiences.
Luck has so much to do with ones path in life. I was so fortunate to encounter a young Gil Phillips in my first few years in the industry. A wonderful, had working, thoughtful, aggressive, and talented guy! In retrospect, it’s startling to realize how young he was.
Gil was so generous with his time, energy and enthusiasm. Taking me “under his wing”, literally seven days a week, he taught me the ins and out of the interior construction industry. The most generous contribution to my career, however, was his willingness to let me make my own decisions and mistakes. Gil turned me loose with a branch office after a one year training period. What a lesson in survival. Learning to sink or swim with ones hard work and determination. My years with Gil are among my most cherished!
We have all heard that all things happen with a purpose. Had it not been for the collapse of the interior construction industry in 1976, I probably would never have returned to Boston and the eventual business with my brothers and family!
So many other wonderful memories in the past years. My friends at Design Sales Associates. I clearly remember when Roger Leon left the contracting business and became an Independent Manufacturers’ Representative, one of the early modern rep firms. We worked as a team on numerous memorable projects, me, the contractor, Roger the Rep. When time came for me to start a rep company, Roger and Design Sales Associates were there to help! Many of our initial products were secured with their assistance! On our first major project as a an independent rep we created a team with Design Sales, the seven billion dollar, King Khalid Military City in Saudi Arabia. A five year project! Who had ever heard of Saudi Arabia in 1980? The 83 year old architect is still a good friend of mine today.
CISCA was always a very important organization to me. Remembering the years with Gil and his deep involvement with the organization had a permanent impact upon me. The legendary names from my early years, Robert Lindahl and Michael Kodaras and their well known acoustical training seminars, I attended their seminar in 1968!
Victor Jacobson, Marty Brennan, and John Jacobson of Jacobson and Company! Jim Whittaker, Harold Wettlaufer, Doug Ayers, Rowland Denman, Corky Falbaum, George Irvine and Henry St. Hilaire, names frequently mentioned in my early years in the industry, many becoming friends in later years!
Special relationships have also been an important part of CISCA, with other former DeGelleke Winners, Tom Valenti, Claude Bagley and Larry Edwards! Outstanding individuals who have had such a dramatic impact upon our industry.
In recent years, the opportunity to work with, and develop wonderful friendships with, Bill Manson, Jr., Rick Ziska, Mike Hankins, Claude Amerson, Tom Jacobsen, Tom Edens, Don Faa and Bonny Luck and so many others, makes winning this award even more meaningful! If it were not for CISCA I would not have even known some of these wonderful people!
My involvement with CISCA was not to win awards, but to work hard to help this organization grow. When elected to the CISCA Board, my commitment was to add membership, increase the awareness of the role of Independent Manufacturers’ Representatives in our industry, and to help increase the level of professionalism of our Industry. Long believing that one cannot sit on the side lines and hope that others will take care of business, it was important to become involved.
It’s amazing that I could win an award for dedicating my time to an organization and industry that means so much to me. The interior construction industry has been my professional life for more than thirty five years. Its exciting, challenging, demanding and best of all more fun than any other industry one can imagine!
It’s an honor to be part of this industry. It’s an honor to have been selected by my peers to follow in the footsteps of so many truly impressive leaders of our organization. It’s a responsibility to continue to contribute to this fine organization, to assure our place and the place of our future leaders. Thanks to all CISCA Members for the opportunity to have fun and make a decent living at it!
William L. Shannon CSI, CISCA
President of Shannon Corporation
Recipient of the 2004 De Gelleke Award