I've found it very easy to get caught up in the negativity of today. It surrounds us in the media, hits home when a friend is let go from a job, and makes me think twice about making a major purchase or spending money to meet friends out for dinner. But things were thrown into perspective for me recently when a member of the Concrete Contractor team passed away unexpectedly.
By title Phil Merrick was our national sales director, but by all other accounts he was a family man, an outdoorsman, a faithful friend and a good co-worker. His loss reminded me of the importance of living a positive life and enjoying the things I have without worrying about the things I don't have.
In a workday surrounded by talk of recession and struggling businesses, Phil's hunting stories, play-by-plays of his sons' football games and hypersensitivity to inclement weather were welcome distractions I will miss. They reminded me of all the little joys that hide on the backroads of life that are so easy to pass by when you don't take time to step off the main highway.
When I would go to Phil's office to talk through an article idea or discuss new technologies or products in the industry, he'd take the time to ask me how my weekend was and tell me a little about his. This is also the way Phil approached his job in sales - he liked to get to know a client and understand their needs before getting down to business.
One of the ways I've learned to deal with the loss of someone I care about is to appreciate the ways they continue to play a part in my life. I know Phil's memory will live on in the pages of Concrete Contractor - during editorial meetings we will examine the angles Phil always challenged us to consider and we'll look at how equipment plays a central role in a contractor's livelihood. And on winter mornings I'll always think of Phil's advice on potentially dangerous weather and remember there's nothing at the office important enough to risk my life on slippery roads during a Wisconsin snowstorm.