Occasionally, someone will comment to me that my trips sound more like vacation than work. Well, that’s how I feel, too!
Getting to visit good friends all over the U.S. and Canada is more like vacation than work. However, no one seemed to mention the vacation theme when I said I would be visiting Regina, Saskatchewan in December. In fact, most of the people I talked to about the trip looked at me like I was crazy. I was starting to think I actually might be crazy when I arrived in Regina. Every person that I met, from the car rental counter folks to the waiters in restaurants, and to the very members I came to Regina to visit, said almost the exact same words as they greeted me. “You really came at the right time! The weather here is great!” See, the crazy part was that when I arrived, the temperature was 21F! And they were serious! In fact, most of the people had the sunny disposition that we Midwesterners feel in April after a long, hard winter. It certainly put my complaints about the cold weather in Chicago into perspective!
Nonetheless, I soon realized that this trip would be just as much a vacation as any of my other trips, as I started my visit at Warner Leasing Company, Ltd., a NationaLease Developing Member. Sharlene Allan took me on a tour of their growing facility, and I had the chance to meet and talk with several of their dynamic staff. We discussed a number of the NationaLease programs, including the Supply Management programs and our National Account team. We also chatted about some of the valuable information that we received at the recent NationaLease Canadian Leadership Summit in Winnipeg.
I left their facility and made my way through Regina to check into my hotel. I passed through a lovely area south of downtown Regina with beautiful homes and several landmarks including the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the Mackenzie Art Gallery, and the Provincial Legislative Building. My favorite landmark is the intricately detailed Albert Memorial Bridge, which was originally opened in 1930.
Sharlene came by the hotel a short while later and took me to meet Roger Pettigrew and several of their other team members for a delightful dinner at Golf’s Steak House. We enjoyed one of the house specialties, the tableside Caesar salad, which was quite possibly the best Caesar salad I have ever tasted. After an evening of good food and great company, Sharlene returned me to my hotel to get some rest after a very long day of travel.
The next day, I got to cross the Albert Memorial Bridge again on my way to visit Hornoi NationaLease. I sat down in Shawn Hornoi’s office and we talked about some of the major challenges they faced in Regina last winter with the brutal cold causing so much damage to the equipment. We also talked about the challenges of recruiting diesel technicians and the creative ways they are tackling this issue. While we were talking, Sterling Hornoi stopped by. I was very glad to have a chance to meet the man who started the business back in the 1970s.
Shawn and I discussed a few of the new services that NationaLease offers the members, such as the career posting page on our Website (http://www.nationalease.com/careers) , the new Website templates available for our members, and the new NationaLease Emergency Services & Fuel Directory app. Shawn then showed me around their facility and talked about some of the plans they have to continue growing the business, well into the second generation and beyond. Of course, the folks at Hornoi were no exception to the rule—they also reminded me how lucky I was to visit Regina when the weather was so great!
I came home to Chicago with a renewed appreciation for our members. Whether they have been in business five years or 50, there are always challenges to face—competition, economic uncertainty, personnel shortages, government regulations, and yes, even the weather. NationaLease has literally weathered these storms for the past 70 years, and by looking at each challenge as an opportunity, continues to grow and become stronger through every challenge. Just as the folks in Regina see a 20 degree day as a cause for celebration, it’s really all a matter of perspective. I definitely returned from my trip with a renewed perspective, but that really should come as no surprise. After all, that’s what vacation is for.