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 they were concerned that 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, the customers 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 – two hot dogs and a coffee (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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