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Sep 16 2011

Big 5

Category: General InfoLori @ 11:30 am Comments (9)

Last month I told you that I would be drawing 5 names from my list of connections and subscribers in honor of my 500th post, to win their choice of prizes (an LCN 4040XP closer, a Schlage CO lock, a Schlage residential keypad lock, or a $50 Amazon gift card).  Yesterday was my daughter Norah’s 5th birthday, and she chose the 5 winners at random.

And the winners are…

  • Tom Foote of Laforce, Inc.
  • David Condon of Northeast Security Solutions
  • Monica Nunez of Accurate Lock and Hardware
  • Patrick Quinlan, AIA of Providence, Rhode Island
  • Deb Henson of DH Consulting

Congrats everyone!!!  I’ll be in touch soon to see which prize you’d like.

In other news…the New England Chapter of DHI had a fabulous chapter meeting last night, with a record attendance of 101 people!  It was a historical review of the chapter and the hardware industry.  We had lots of old catalogs, old photos, and a timeline presentation of big events in the chapter history.  Many of the retired DHI members attended, and Jerry Heppes, DHI’s CEO, traveled up from Virginia to attend.  It was a great event and I want to send a big thank-you to everyone who worked so hard to put it together.

A few people who had to leave early asked me to send them my “speech,” and as I was editing it this morning I thought maybe some of you might like to read it too. It gives a bit of my perspective on my time in the industry. If any of you (ladies especially) would like to add your 2 cents, please leave a comment!

When I was asked to speak tonight, I didn’t commit right away – I had to get used to the idea that I’m now classified as a “seasoned veteran.”  I actually stalled until about 18 hours ago.  I wanted to make sure that I had something to say that was worth sharing.  I talked to my colleague, Shelley Hudson, about it and we agreed that a woman’s perspective would be of interest to some, but what would I say?  I didn’t want to stand up here and complain about how hard it is for a woman to get anywhere in a male-dominated industry, and I didn’t want to go on and on about my personal story.  But as it turns out, those two things are exactly what I’m going to talk about.

I started with HCI/Craftsmen in Winooski Vermont in 1987, at the tender age of 20.  On the advice of my bosses (some of you know Bob Poirier and Ralph Robbins) I stayed in my office and rarely visited jobsites, because if the contractors saw who was managing their projects, they would have lost all faith that they’d ever see their material.  Once I had earned a reputation for doing what I said I would do, they trusted me and I was able to come out of hiding.  I got yelled at by GCs a few times over the years, and I have to admit – I cried sometimes, but eventually I toughened up, they lightened up, and we got a lot of doors hung.

When I started with MPS Sales (the rep agency that is now the New England office of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologes) 17 years ago, I thought I had earned my place within the industry, but I basically had to start all over again with a new set of customers – this time distributors.  I was an AHC/CDC but I was still a female voice on the other end of the phone.  I would answer, and the customer would run through the list of guys – Is Reyn there? How about Harris? Steve Poe? Harris Senior?  You could sense the growing level of desperation.  When I insisted that I could help, one customer said, “OH! I didn’t know you knew anything!” and another said I could help by bringing him his lunch (I won’t mention any names).  At one factory training I overheard one of the trainers ask another, “What, did some of the guys bring their wives?”

I could have gotten mad, or insulted…I could have said, “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I’m Lori Greene, AHC/CDC!”  I could have tried to force them to respect me and take me seriously, but that’s not my style.  Instead I decided to learn as much as I could, and be willing to help whoever asked.  This strategy has worked out well because nobody has ordered lunch from me in quite a while.

I became a member of the New England Chapter in 1988, and this was one place that I never felt like I had something to prove.  I was accepted, and I count many chapter members as friends and mentors.  DHI is also responsible for the majority of my formal industry education.  I served as chapter secretary and president in the mid-90’s, and I have always appreciated the help of the many volunteers within the chapter.

My way was paved by the women who joined the industry before me, and I hope that I’ve helped to make it a little smoother for the hardware women of the future.   I can’t speak for all of the female chapter members, but I for one appreciate the support of DHI and particularly the members of the New England Chapter who have helped me along the way.  It hasn’t always been easy, but we’re still here, and we’re not going anywhere.  Thanks.

Have a great weekend everybody!

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9 Responses to “Big 5”

  1. Jess says:

    congrats to the winners of the lock, the gift card and the LCN 4040XP closer!

    happy late 5th birthday to kidzilla, did she get what she wanted??


    • Lori says:

      Believe it or not, she hasn’t opened most of her presents yet! We had 5 different activities last night so she agreed to celebrate on Saturday.

  2. Dave Saltmarsh says:

    Lori, would have liked to have attended; still crazy here this time of year with new students, faculty and staff. Nice speech; you certainly do not give yourself enough credit for what you have done in the industry e.i. enlighten Architects, Engineers, AHJ’s of code requirements and FDAI awareness. Excellent work.


  3. Daniel Ferry, AHC says:

    Great Story Lori,
    I believe that you are coming down here to Georgia for one of our Chapter Meetings some time next year. Seems like I heard this on the grapevine.
    Can you bring me a ham & swiss on rye? 🙂
    I will pick it up at the meeting.
    Sorry, but someone had to do it!!!

  4. Deb Henson says:

    I agree with Dave, you don’t give yourself enough credit for what you’ve done. Or maybe you don’t realize how valuable you’ve made yourself. I’ve been in the industry over 33 years and you are my “go-to” person for info I can’t find and somehow, you always come up with a source. When I started in hardware in 1978, I was one of 3 women in the St. Louis Chapter. The early meetings were difficult as the men had trouble adjusting to having women present. LOL! There was no “telling” the contractors anything–we were in Missouri–I had to “show” them. I think I had some of the best contractors in the country there in Southeast Missouri. I remember an architect friend of my Dad’s (who was a mechanical engineer) told him that I wouldn’t last long. He didn’t even know me! By the time I came to Mississippi 11 years ago, there were a lot of women in the industry. I’m proud to have been in on the ground floor.

    I hope Kidzilla has a big 5th birthday celebration on Saturday!! She sure made my day!

  5. David Barbaree says:

    There is an unfair assumption that men know what they are talking about when they speak up, until they prove otherwise; and that women don’t know what they are talking about, until they prove otherwise.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have had the confidence to speak up and feel like I know what I am talking about because of you, Lori. You tip the scales back where they should be. Your ongoing hunger for learning and tapping in to the base of knowledge of your vast network makes you a valuable and trusted resource for everyone with a similar desire to learn.

    Maybe men need to feel a little more unfair discrimination directed at them to teach them to listen more and say less. My wife is very intelligent and she is my finest tutor in this matter.

    Thank you for all you do. I learn more with every post.

    • Lori says:

      Aw – thanks David. I don’t like to harp on this, but you are right about the assumptions that are often made. I experience this far less (almost never) these days, but it was a little rough at the beginning of my career. Hopefully that’s a good sign that things are changing and will continue to change.

      – Lori

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