I get the opportunity to speak with a lot of different people everyday. One of the things I do as a banker is ask a lot of questions. Questions like how much, for how long, what collateral, who is going to pay and what is your current line of work. I always enjoy hearing about how people make their living. Some people are your average Joe and work in a local industry. Other people are professionals that work in the medical field or insurance business. Others are teachers, while others are self employed. I always wonder how people end up in their line of work and I also wonder if they are truly happy in what they do. I can honestly say that I love my job and love helping people with their financial needs. It is a good career that hopefully I can continue for many years. But if you asked me if my banking career was my all time favorite job, then I would have to tell you no. You see, every summer and Christmas during the years of 1991- 1995 (my wonderful college years) I was a Bud Man!
I grew up in a great household where hard work was expected. My parents provided me with everything that I needed but I did not have a silver spoon. When I was old enough to hold a summer job, that's exactly what I did. I cut grass for many a summer and then I worked for the local Recreation Department. I wasn't getting rich by any stretch, but I had gas money and money to spend for dates and such. After high school graduation, my Dad decided that I may need a job in which I could earn a little more money as I prepared to go off to college. He arranged for me to get a job with Fitzgerald Ice Company helping with the distribution of their product as well as general warehouse work involved with their products. Now some of you are thinking that I actually worked at an ice company, and that is where you would be wrong. Fitzgerald Ice Company has been in business for over 100 years and is the proud distributor of Budweiser Beer! My Mama was so proud!!
I think my Mama prayed every morning as I left for work in my Budweiser work shirts that I would not run into the preacher somewhere. Truth be told, if I ran into the preacher in the places that I had to visit, he wouldn't have said a word. I have been in every juke joint, beer store, bar, convenient store, liquor store, and grocery store in this part of South Georgia delivering products proudly displaying the Anheuser Busch name. I had a blast!! A typical day started at 6:00am as we checked off the trucks for the day's deliveries. An average day consisted of 800 to 1000 cases with anywhere between 15 and 30 stops. After your truck was emptied, you headed back to the warehouse to load trucks for the next day. We usually got to knock off at 5 or 6. It was long days and hard work, but at the same time it was kind of fun and taught me a great deal about the business world. I got to do some neat things like learn to drive a semi truck and a fork lift. I got to see how sales people handled their customers. I got to see how a marketing giant like Budweiser got their product name recognized and what they did to always stay fresh on the consumer's mind. I learned how supervisors treated their workers and what they did to motivate or not motivate their employees. I also learned that I better study while I was in school because these 12 hour days was not what I was cut out for!!
Because I was a hard worker, I got to keep that job for 4 years during my college career. Every summer and Christmas vacation, I would come home to find my job waiting for me. I was so thankful for that! That job paid for all of my fraternity dues as well as any extra spending money that I might have needed. That job also helped me in my studies. As a marketing major at Georgia Southern, I wrote a lot of papers about Anheuser Busch and the marketing juggernaut that they were as they were selling the most popular beer in the country.
I often think about the great people that I met while I was employed at Fitzgerald Ice Company. I bank a good deal of them today and several of them are still good friends, but I always think of them around Christmas time. When I started working there in 1991, part of our Christmas present was a Budweiser Christmas Stein. I really like these steins and have them displayed in a case at home. The reason that I always think of Fitzgerald Ice at Christmas time is that for the past 19 years I have continued to receive a Budweiser Christmas stein from the great folks that still work there. I guess I did a good enough job while I was there that they continue to remember me at Christmas, or it could be that some of them now owe me money :).
Thank you Fitzgerald Ice Company for the stein and for the life lessons that I learned while I was working there! You mean more to me than you will ever know!