My father who owned motorcycle dealerships in Southern California in the early 70s. As a young girl, I went to work with my father each Saturday. I completed cleaning and inventory chores for the reward to have Winchell’s doughnuts and ride motorcycles in the afternoon! Those Saturdays gave me the opportunity to watch the subtle nuances of how my father could build relationships of trust and bond with people.  

In addition to having a tireless work ethic, he had the gifted ability to engage, relate and build trust with everyone from all walks of life. The CEO from a major corporation or an 18-year-old enlisted Navy Green Pea. He was also creative at marketing. He hosted community events that provided exposure for the business but also gave back to the community through various events, sponsorships for riding safety classes, lending equipment and speaking at local schools. The subtle exposure of watching how he conducted business taught me the skills of how to treat people, build relationships and give back to the communities we serve as the cornerstones of building a business.

Y. Rene Tuchscher, COO
KBM Building Services
San Diego

I have had several mentors in my life of which I respect and admire. One of those mentors is Barney Gershen. About three years ago, I was reading an article in Services magazine about customer retention. The article was written by Barney Gershen, a Founding Member of the BSCAI.  (Building Service Contractors Association International).  Upon reading that article, I was inspired to call Mr. Gershen.

It has been three years since our initial conversation. Within those three years, Mr. Gershen has become a mentor, friend and partner.  Many, many times he has made it much easier for me to see the light through the trees. I have incorporated a lot of his advice and business sense into my own business and have seen it flourish throughout the years.  I sincerely believe it is an honor to have someone like Barney in your life that you can trust, learn from and hold with high regard.

Jim DeGrado, President
Cardinal Building Maintenance
Alsip, Ill.

Currently I have two different mentors. I have a SCORE advisor who helps me stay accountable for the big picture goals. I also, have an industry-specific mentor who helps me with more of the daily challenges that arise from running a growing service business. They are both great and have their strengths and weaknesses.

As a motivated individual, I have never been just satisfied with one mentor. In my opinion, the purpose of having a mentor is to learn.  So, when the learning is over so must be the relationship, especially if you are like me with a never-ending search for knowledge. Like I always say, “What you EARN is equal to what you LEARN.” You can never out EARN you’re LEARNING.
Who is you’re mentor? Don’t have one? Where are you getting you’re LEARNING from?

Jason Vance, Owner
Window Brothers

Who is my mentor? It certainly cannot be limited to only one person. While I can’t list all of the people who have helped me develop personally and professionally here are a few that stand out in my mind as the most significant mentors in my life.

My great-grandmother practically raised me as a young child while my mom and grandmother worked to support the family. We lived with my grandmother two houses down from “Ma.” Ma taught me how to have fun, how to care for a home, how to cook, and how to be thrifty. Even after my mom re-married when I was 8, and we moved about 40 miles away, I always visited, helped around the house, and learned about her life while she was being raised during Great Depression as the only daughter among a family of 9 brothers. I learned our ancestry and family history and was fascinated every time without fail. I believe my later love of history was strongly influenced by the time I was fortunate enough to spend with her.

My dad, “Joe,” raised me like his own son from the time he married my mother when I was 8. He was a Baltimore City Police Officer, a world-class athlete, a master craftsman and a jack of all trades. There was nothing Joe couldn’t do. He was a great dad, coach, and friend — even when I was difficult at times. Joe helped instill the values and work ethic that guide me to this day. I don’t believe anyone ever worked harder than my dad. He would finish his full time job with BCPD and come home to our farm to tend our 5-acre vegetable garden, feed our livestock, fix the ramshackle house we lived in, and start the next day doing it all over again. Even with all of that, he found time to coach our local baseball and soccer team.

My first business partner, Robert Rogers, taught me everything I know about sales and professional relationships. Rob was and is the best salesperson I’ve ever met. I watched in awe as he ran seminars and meetings, recruited employees and agents, and engaged everyone he met at a higher level than most business professionals. He had this aura where everybody wanted to tell him “yes.” He is a great friend and leader. He wasn’t just successful alone. He made hundreds of other people around him successful; those that were, like me, fortunate enough to follow his lead and to absorb everything we could.

I have had many more mentors in my life than I have mentioned here, and I’m sure I will have many more. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by so many talented and generous teachers and sources of inspiration. I am grateful to them all.

David Kelly, Regional Director
Jani-King of Baltimore