This one is going to be crazy and all over the board.   IT’S HOW MY BRAIN WORKS!

You might want to eat it in nibbles and come back often to read more.

Or Just browse it

Or digest like a med-rare prime rib, cut it into bites and eat it slowly over a great cocktail…

You see team, really for the last 3 weeks I’ve been in a smaller world a bit than usual.

We had Expo week, followed by a trip to New Orleans to learn at the ProSales100 user conference where Doug Carlson sat on a panel of the top 4 people under 40 in our industry.

Then last week Sunday I got a severe pinch nerve in my back.  I was in pretty good pain and didn’t work in the office all week.

Going even further back, this our season where we prepare for the Farmer’s Market season that is rapidly approaching.  Strategic and operational planning.  Meaning I was at “the zoo” most days and not at your location.  I will get back to seeing you at your locations VERY SHORTLY.   I love being with you guys and will “be back” (although I’m not really gone) soon.

So over these 3 weeks, since often I was a bit disconnected from the day to day of Drexel, I was able to read, reflect and warm my inner soul.  Here’s the randomness of what I wanted to share based on my experiences and reading.  No particular order, just random.

Holler if you want more information on any of this.


Don’t forget about our 1% improvement margin goal this year!  What a difference it will make.  Here are ways to do just that.   Bill Lee On Margin


William James said, ‘We don’t laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh.’ So start your day on a delightful footing. Laugh, play and give thanks for all you have. Every day will be an exquisitely rewarding one.”


“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”


We laughed so hard.  For so long.  Good times with Andy and Doug in New Orleans.  We also made incredible connections with peers and vendors around the country.  (Seriously).  No seriosly, we learned a lot.  Ok, it was a bit foggy sometimes but we really did learn a lot!





Usually I don’t get too jacked about new products in our industry.  This article shows “drywall with biceps” and perhaps a “better solution” then cement board.  Some of your builders are yearning for you to be the supplier of choice… so make them smarter, share your smarts… (Simply send them a nice email with links to new products is a good way).

New Products Article


In the next few years we will be really focusing on being the premier leader of technology.  We have always believed in being proactive and not reactive on technology… until “The Great Recession” hit.  Now we are just “ok”.   That will change.  Change is good.  Change is great!   Change is SCARY!  (HA)  I just read “The Story Of Us: How the Culture at U.S. LBM is Changing the Distribution Industry” by L.T. Gibson.  It’s basically a long promotional piece put into book form (think advertising article combined with their playbook made up of 200 plus pages) and that is what it is.  US LBM is a billion dollar company that owns Wisconsin Building Supply and Lamperts and many more.  They are really rolling with their builder app, where they track invoices, loads and moer.  We will not only keep up but pass them.  It’s a nuclear  technology race!  Nathan Grinwald, Emily Bestul and Andy Rettler and many more will build and lead a great tech team!



Time.  It is our most important resource.  You control it.  The Gnome IS YOUR BEST FRIEND!  Think about it friends.  If you just had a few hours each day with no distractions what you could get done.  Then gnome is your hero!  That’s why he exists.  We can even take that to the yard level.  If you are pulling a load or falling behind, just let your teammates know, so you can stay focused on that task.

If you or your department or your location is not using gnomes regularly, you are wasting your life away with needless tasks, I promise you that!

It’s about YOU.   When I had my pinched nerve and sitting at home.  I TRIED to BE POSITIVE.  I TRIED TO make a difference to those around me, but it was near impossible.  When you are in pain… you are not yourself.  My take away from this is two fold.

  1. If you are dealing with someone that simply is not pleasant, don’t judge them.  You don’t know what baggage they are carrying.
  2. Get your ass in shape!  If you are out of shape… you are not the best person you can be.  It’s that simple.


If you really knew you were dying soon.  What would you do TODAY?  I encourage you to feel like death is in your near future.  That mindset changes EVERYTHING.  Pesty problems seem smaller than ants.  Priorities become top of mind.

Starting today, learn more, laugh more and do what you truly love to do. Do not be denied your destiny.*


““To serve, of course. No matter how big a house you have or how slick a car you drive, the only thing you can take with you at the end of your life is your conscience. Listen to your conscience. Let it guide you. It knows what is right. It will tell you that your calling in life is ultimately selfless service to others in some form or another.” ***


“the quality of your life will come down to the quality of your contribution.” ***  How are you helping others?  At the end of the day you will be happy if you have helped others, first yourself in mind, body, and soul…and then leave the rest to simply helping others.  But Joel, what should you do?  That is up to you, but I promise if you take time to listen to your soul, you will find it.

*  Ron Neitzel came into my office with some wise advice.  It was along the lines of this, “Joel I heard about us (Drexel) promoting how much we give back to the communities in a big way.  Consider instead to serve humbly.”  Wise words by Ron.  Thank you.

*  When we are born, we are crying while the world rejoices. Live in such a way that when we die, the world cries while we are rejoicing.

*  I don’t watch the news.  Gave that up a few years ago.  I did while my nerves were being pinched and sleep was a struggle.  Gosh, what horribleness they preach for ratings.  If you watch the news, stop.  Just stop.  Trust me all you are doing is convincing yourself the world is a horrible pace on it’s way to anarchy or worse.  Oh and Donald Trump is orange.  So weird!

* FILL ONLY YOUR MIND WITH GOOD.  You have a friend on facebook, instagram, or a bartender you see that is always negative?  Well take them out of your life!

*  Happyness is a journey, not the destination.    If you say, when I have this, when I do this, when I get here…then I will… you are doing it all wrong.  Instead say today I HAVE THE OPPPORTUNITY to.   Stop putting off your happiness for the sake of achievement. Instead, why not enjoy the process?”

*  You are a way bigger deal than you think you are.  God doesn’t make average people to do average things.

*  I loved the Expo.  Here are a few of my favorite pics.  Expo and Vendor Summit Pics

About my little “speech” at the expo.  I only practiced it once with the Culture Club a few hours prior to giving it.  I never wrote down any notes.  I prepared enough to have a vision of what I said, but not plan.  Follow the path.  For all of you that public speak that is the best way.   Be prepared, but not over prepared.  You lose yourself otherwise…and it becomes stiff.  Also AND MORE IMPORTANTLY…THIS HAPPENED.  In my room at say 5pm knowing I had to talk in front of 700 people I got a little anxiety and started to get nervous.  This lasted about an hour, and the nerves started to escalate.  I decided to take a quick cat nap.  When I awoke just a few minutes later, I was still nervous.  At that moment, I was like you know what, I forgot to pray on it.  I said some along the lines of,  “Holy Spirit this speech is for you.  And you are in charge of me.  I trust in You that it will go well.  Please help me.”  Something along those lines and instantly, I mean instantly I was no longer nervous.  The power of prayer.  Oh, the 6 drinks before didn’t hurt either!

*  Work on tomorrow and this week today.  Take time to get a plan for your day, either as soon as you arise, which means waking up earlier or plan on Sunday night.  Each day my midday I start planning my week.  Each Sunday night I plan my week.  Really helps control the chaos.

*  Congratulations you are in the top 10% if you are still reading this.  I am proud of you.

*   I sent this to some people last week, I also wanted to include this on the blog.

We went to New Orleans. Here is a little recap.

Andy Doug and I went to the Prosales100conference. Doug was a on a key panel of 4 under 40.

Economic outlook is bright. One person said “our industry is finally sexy. It’s a good time for all of us.”

New orleans recap, we made good connections, learned a lot about what spruce can do, which is a ton.

We are making connections from other parts of the country with similar businesses and culture as ours (and some quite different) each experience molds our vision. It’s good to have friends in the industry.

We learned that we need to sort data and reduce noise. Read the key data.

W learned our CULTURE AND GROWTH makes DREXEL a stand out in the nation. We INSPIRE others.
We are KNOWN nationally.

We learned this a big game we play… WITH A HIGHER PURPOSE.

The key man in the moneyball book and movie spoke to us. I was bored to death with all the data. It is Andy’s (our d coordinator) hero, CRAZY. love having Andy on the team! Brings another perspective and diversity to us.

Doug did an amazing job on the 4 under 40 panel. Extremely proud to count him on our team. Much smarter than me and much tougher as he had a real hip problem but fought through it.

This gave us a focus and vision even more so than we had.  We are on the right path, just now need to GRIND.

New Orleans was a cool place, I’d recommend a visit. Lots of history, music, great food and drinks.


You can’t get to the next level if you are the same person. Nothing changes if nothing changes.  You can’t change a person that doesn’t want to change.  So change we must.


Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things! -Pope Francis


Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (NLT)

Colossians 3:23

In concept we know we are working for the Lord wherever God has placed us. But are you really? Do you go the extra mile to make a difference for the Lord, even if you don’t get the extra buck? This is never the easy route, but Jesus never said it would be. Remember to go the extra mile willingly today for the Lord.


A must read for anyone that coaches or is involved in youth sports.  Dear Coach, written by an 11 year old


Visionaries, optimists and believers don’t listen to what others say is impossible. They see what’s possible and they make it so!  – Jon Gordon

*** Excerpts from the book,

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
Book by Robin Sharma


– Joel Fleischman.  Joel is Head Coach of the solution providers for Drexel Building Supply.  (drexelteam).   You can follow him on twitter:  @JoelmFleischman.   Our mission is to be a supplier of others happiness.  I hope this little post did just that.





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