Last night I sat down with my two boys and watched a hunting show on youtube.  Nothing too groundbreaking there, we have done that before.  This time I cued up my friend and co-worker Trey Arentz.   Trey started here in operations and has transitioned into an inside specialist at Kiel.   He’s an authentic guy and lives with passion, I knew that the second I met him.  Trey casually mentioned this video to me, and I thought I should watch it.

Trey loves hunting and the outdoors; it truly is magical to see him talking about the outdoors.  When you watch the video you will see that.  It’s one of the reasons God made Trey.

Trey had been working 45-48 hours a week until the new start of our 40 hour work weeks.

That is between 250 and 400 hours a year difference.

Potentially 4000 hours in the next decade. I am guessing for Trey a lot of that will be outdoors.

That is why we are doing this, so Trey can do that more!

It’s not about making more money (or less which is a possibility but I don’t believe it), it’s about the Trey’s of the world. It’s about you.  Thank you Trey.

Thank you for being one of the amazing 550 people that work here!

Here is his short film.  Probably consumed best not at work.  (Obviously.)  I highly recommend it for anyone that loves life, family, or the outdoors in general.




How do we get there?  DISCIPLINE = FREEDOM.  The more disciplined in our tasks and our jobs at work, THE MORE EFFECTIVE, the quicker WE will get there.  It’s why Justin Spuda, our player personnel director, loves Jokko Willink, who wrote a whole book about it.   Project G, forces us to be disciplined but will create FREEDOM!   And on, and on.

Do not use “I can’t get anything done because we are forced to work 40.”

It’s a bullshit excuse and I personally won’t tolerate such nonsense. 

That doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges, but there were plenty of challenges working 60 hours a week too…

For systems, this is a work in progress at Little Chute and of course all new to Amherst.  We will get there as we “level the load.”  In manufacturing a bit of overtime every once in a while may be needed to put 5lbs of stuff in a 1lb container, but we will work on it!


For me?

I’m not sure there is anyone at Drexel that enjoys working more than myself.   It’s all I have ever done.  And truth be told, it’s darn near the only thing I am particularly good at.   I have never broken 45 in golf.    I have never shot a trophy buck, never caught my limit of fish, my garden is a work in progress, I am not a craftsman, like many of you.  I only like vehicles because it takes me from a to z.  I could go on.  I guess we all have our weaknesses and strengths.  Mine just happens to be work.  It brings me great joy to see an idea come to life and employ people and ultimately beat the competition as it generates income too.  It’s fantastic helping a customer uniquely and know that my touch, even in a small way, made that project or their building business better because we were a part of it.  So working less for me is almost ironic, the thing I do the most I am trying to do less.  BUT I WILL TRY TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

This does not mean there won’t be long days, and work to do.  Last week I worked back to back 14 hour days if you count drive time.  I loved it.  But at one point later in the week, I took an extended lunch to drop off some stuff to the restore shop to put some items to good use that were in my garage.  BABY STEPS!






35 years ago on April 1, 1985, my father and mother started Campbellsport Building Supply Center Inc.

I remember my dad including us kids in the conversation when he was working on the original logo.

Happy Anniversary Drexel.

I’ve made a lot of memories at work.  A lot of good ones.

You know the problems we had at work, kept us up many nights.   Oh, and we had problems.

My mom and dad, too I am sure.  35 years later, those problems sure seem minor.   The good memories are much stronger.

This too shall pass.  No worries.




This came in a e-mail newsletter.

I share with permission.  Thank you Mr. Davis.

Please forgive my indulgence to share a very deep lesson I learned this past year. It’s not a new lesson for me, but a powerful reminder of one I try to keep in focus throughout my life. I will die. You will too. The question is how we will die and how we will be remembered.
This year, I had the privilege of attending two memorial services. Yes, the “privilege.” Two amazing people in my life passed away after prolonged bouts with cancer.
I won’t share the details of their lives because I lack the ability to succinctly convey the impact Deb Cole and Cal Brown had on hundreds of people directly and thousands indirectly. At both services, however, lives were revealed that showed two people who courageously walked into the darkness with dignity. That darkness is of course death.
The last time I saw Deb, an artist, teacher, traveler, and consummate optimist,  she was smiling and laughing as though she had not a care in the world despite knowing her days were numbered. Cal, a world renowned expert on rheumatoid arthritis, avid cyclist, boater and incurable optimist, displayed equal dignity in the face of death.
I remember asking Cal, during the last cycling excursion I would ever enjoy with him, what the prognosis was for his cancer. He flatly replied, “Oh there is no prognosis.  I’m just trying to manage it the best I can.” It was then that I realized for the first time he was dying. It wasn’t news broken to me by others in a moment of hushed, fear-based gossip. It wasn’t a sobbing admission expressed in fear.  It was a matter-of-fact comment from a man staring down death and calmly stating the inevitable.
At his funeral, Cal’s brother remembered the moment they received the pivotal diagnosis of likely death. He told Cal, “We’re going to battle this thing.”
Cal replied, “I’m not going to battle cancer. I’m going to interpret it.” He planned to “interpret” cancer. And he did. He understood it’s toll. He watched how people responded to him. As a doctor, he retained his clinical curiosity about the heinous infiltration to his body. He interpreted cancer just as we should interpret life.
Again…it would be impossible for me to express the dramatic impact these two people had on the lives of so many. The real lesson at both services, the two most magnificent memorials I have ever witnessed, is that our power is not in what we do or get for ourselves. It is the contributions we make to others.
So 2019 has been a tough year for many. Violence is high and we have become inured to mass shootings such that they barely make front page news. Suicide rates are up 33% in the last ten years according to the American Psychological Association. There is a lot more bad news to share…but what’s the point.
If you’re tense and nervous and you can’t relax, (yes! quoting from David Byrne of the Talking Heads!) you’re not alone. There is fortunately something you can do about it. Build your legacy.
I admit I couldn’t help at moments during the memorial services wonder what people would say about me when I die. (And please do NOT respond to tell me…please. It is NOT the purpose of this e-mail. The e-mail is my gift to YOU.) I wondered if I was alone so I asked others at these services and every one admitted that they had felt the same thought creeping in. In fact, nearly every one said they felt humbled.
Let’s be clear. Nobody felt humbled because these people had amassed wealth. Wealth addiction and the admiration of wealthy people has become a fascination worldwide bordering on pathological. Let it go.
They all felt humbled because you could literally feel the presence of Deb and Cal at their own services. Their spirits live on. The attendees felt humbled because they wondered if such magnificent memorials could or would be held in their honor. They felt humbled because they faced the truth of the inevitable. Eventually a life we lead gives way to a legacy left behind.
Legacy is a funny thing. We will all be remembered for something, but too often fail to consider our legacy until it is too late. For the wealthy, they create legacies by buying hospital wings, university buildings, and endowments. The rest of us have to go a different, humbler route and one I would argue is equally honorable…if not more.
My friends were remembered partially for the dignity of their deaths, but more by the humble contributions of their existence. I think that they died with calm dignity because they knew what they had accomplished.  I wish the same for you. You will die too. It’s a truth worth considering so you can strive to be remembered as you wish. It is your legacy.
Christmas, even though I was raised as a Jewish boy, has always held a special place in my heart. I remember watching alone an old version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (the 1938 version with Reginald Owen and the only one I think worth watching) and crying so happily when he resolved his past to embark on a new and better future. To me, it is what this time of year is all about.
It’s cliche’ to say it is not about trees and lights and gifts, but yet we spend billions every year to ensure the symbolic trappings of the holiday are emblazoned throughout the landscape. But is this really the spirit of Christmas? Toys? Shopping? Food comas?  Of course not.
We know Christmas is about something deeper, but struggle to tap into the love and unselfish giving that is truly Christmas. Not just once per year. But all year. All life. But how do we remind ourselves of that?
Remember life is not permanent. Live knowing death awaits. As we prepare for another year and a new beginning, my wish is for you to live to build a legacy that endures long after your body does.
It is a beautiful world.  Live to give. Live to build a legacy that people will envy and, more importantly, seek to emulate.
Merry Christmas. God bless us all. Everyone…especially tiny Tim.
All content in this email is the copyright of Building Leaders unless otherwise noted.
Rick Davis, CDT CSP
Office: 773-769-4409
Cell: 773-255-5539










If you are “busy” tune out distractions.

If you believe you have already done that take 10 minutes, 10, and write down shit you absolutely no longer have to do.  What can you simply eliminate.  You can’t just add, add, add… you must eliminate.  10 MINUTES, AND PUSH YOURSELF.  IF YOU ARE OVERWHELMED…. Human nature wants to help and do MORE, instead be more IMPACTFUL and DO LESS.








From: Steve Larson
Wtown Team,

Below is EXTREMELY long winded.  This will probably be the longest email I will ever send.  For that, my apologies.  If busy, snooze it for a later date or delete.  If you don’t know what the snooze tool is, stop, lets get that email feature in your arsenal right now.  You may learn one thing, you may laugh once or you may think I’m nuts.  Worst case scenario, I wasted 5 minutes of your time and I’m being selfish by reliving a heck of a trip as I type this.
     Hurry up and then wait.  Flying internationally we were told to be to the airport 2.5 hours early.  When we arrived no one was there to collect luggage nor was security open yet.  We could have slept another hour and been a little less like zombies.
     *Drexel analogy =  When do they need it?  NOPE.  When do they REALLY, TRULY need it??
     This is where the resort got the hooks in deep…immediately.  It set the tone for our trip and we knew we made a good decision on where to honeymoon.  We landed in Montego Bay, blasted through customs uneventfully, and were greeted by a gentlemen who insisted we drop our luggage.  He showed us to the resorts “club” in the airport.  It had 2 CLEAN bathrooms and a tap full of free, cold Red Stripe.  We were told it would be 30 minutes for our driver and shuttle to arrive to take us to the resort.  15 minutes later we were filling up our mugs and climbing into the shuttle. <—-  Under promise, over deliver!!!
     After an informative commute with a friendly driver we wheeled into the resort.  Somewhere between the airport and the resort, they COMMUNICATED to their team our names and that we were newlyweds (without us knowing).  They had our luggage unloaded and 2 cold glasses of champagne waiting for us before we could climb out of the van.
      **Drexel analogy = Client’s names on chalk board door, having floor plans and files ready BEFORE they get here, offering coffee and/or water, spelling and pronouncing names correctly etc. All of these minor details are huge on first impressions.
     We went snorkeling twice.  We were 10 minutes early both times, yet we were second in line.  A gentleman beat us into the line, onto the boat and into the water both trips.  He had only 1 leg!
     **Drexel analogy = no excuses. plan. prepare. DO IT. The weather on February 3rd is going to be shitty.  Everyone at work, on the news, and on your phone is talking about the 6″ of snow  in the forecast.  Guaranteed that gentleman would start his drive early and be here on time.  Weight limits & price increases…they happen every year.  Be ready. Be prepared.
     Rick’s Cafe.  For those not aware, its a bar & restaurant on a cliff.  There are a few spots where guests can jump or dive off of the cliff….2 of which are uncomfortably high.  Those who slowly approached, toed the line, read the caution/warning sign, looked for the deepest water, checked the wind etc. NEVER jumped.  Those who just kicked off their sandals and handed their sunglasses to a friend and sent it, JUMPED.  Of all of us who jumped, no one wished they hadn’t.
     **Drexel analogy = ready, fire, aim.  #5secondrule.  Anybody who gave themselves time to think about what could go wrong came up with an excuse. 5,4,3,2,1 GO.
     Snorkeling.  Samantha, my wife, drank a snorkel full of salt water 1 minute into our first trip.  Struggling, slightly panicked, uncomfortable and nervous, she was staring back at the boat immediately.  Shortest snorkeling trip ever?  Nah, she knew how much I was looking forward to it and how rewarding it could be so she adjusted her goggles and attitude. 45 minutes later we had seen lobster, puffer fish, eagle rays, an anchor, a canon, ballyhoo, yellowtail snapper, brain coral, barracuda and a shit ton of other stuff not native to Lake Winnebago. Kudos to her for grinding it out.  Yep, we went again 2 days later and it was one of her highlights from the trip.
     **Drexel analogy = growth, change, development.  Getting into uncomfortable spots will make you stronger/better/smarter.  Stick with it.  Grind it out.  Be patient.
     Our room at the resort was pretty underwhelming.  It was old, dated, needed a facelift/remodel etc. BUT, it was perfect. Huh? Yeah, everything else made it great.  The welcome, the staff, the weather, the beach, the water, the drinks all made a mediocre room look like the Ritz Carlton.  Total OPPOSITE of Nick & Emily Whitty’s Buffalo Wild Wing experience 3.5 years ago.  Their wings tasted the way they always do, but because service was shit, communication was shit, delay was long and they weren’t warned, drink glasses were empty = it seemed like the wings tasted like shit!
     **Drexel analogy = If we dot our I’s, cross our T’s, handle everything the way we should, we may be able to get away with 1 crooked stud in a bunk of lumber.  Strong relationships and WOW’d clients can make up for a bogey.  Our room was the crooked stud or delaminating door and it was beyond okay!  Put it this way, the rooms were not great, yet the resort has a 90% returning client rate.  Hmmf
     It rained every day in the afternoon.  Bummer right? Nope.  A blessing.  Less sunburn, a reason to sit on a balcony and have a beer and listen to the rain.  A change in scenery.  A reason to talk, to grab lunch with resort staff. A cool time to sit and laugh with strangers in a hot tub in an absolute down pour.
     I locked my phone in the safe in the hotel.  Refresh, recharge, disconnect, play, party, celebrate, and as the Jamaican’s said “no worries”.
     Did I think about work, yes.  Was it refreshing knowing that the lights would be on and that this big blue ship was pointed in the right direction while I was gone? Hell yes. That is cool!   A compliment to the team that runs it.  Kudos to you.  May of 2019.  3rd biggest sales month to date…not 3rd biggest May.  3rd biggest month…EVER.  Keep doing the small things well.  Block and tackle.  Snag the high hanging fruit first.  Hold your teammates accountable.  Be the best, and do it with a smile.  Lets roll!  This battleship is solid.  Its gas tank is full, it is well oiled, its getting stronger.  Did Nick and the team change a few tires over the years? Yes.  Where there slight jogs in the navigation to get around pot holes, yep.  That’s why it is as solid as it is.  No one wanted Nick to leave, but he deserves a BIG thank you and a congrats to him and his family.  Change.  Change won’t stop. Neither will growth or development.  The mission remains the same = Supply. Happiness.
Random stuff:
– Tips/Gratuities:
     The resort was all-inclusive with a no tipping policy.  I attempted to tip most of their team.  All accepted, but 2.  Those 2 had emails sent to the manager. No I didn’t tell him that all the others accepted tips, just that these 2 would not. Kudos to them.  ETHICS.
– Jamaican Millwork:
     The door on the bathroom was a louvered barn door.  It must have come from one of those trees that was 90% air.  Not a lot of privacy.  Glad this was a honeymoon, not a first date! HAHA!
– Middle of the food chain:
     I snorkeled with 2 types of fish = fish that you can eat, and fish that can eat you.  Head on a swivel!!
– 5 second rule
     I read half of the book on the plane en route to Jamaica.  Funny line that I thought of while snorkeling.  “Does a fish even know what water is?” ?????
    Yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken. Very expensive and popular in Jamaica. Odd
– Uniformity
     From airport to resort we passed many groups of students walking from school.  They were all in uniforms.  Color coded per school & level in the education system.  Dress for success.  Rock the Drexel blue. Keep your trucks clean and make a great first impression when strolling into a jobsite or when a client pulls into the yard.
     Sidenote: These kids were walking.  Some of them miles one way.  They have access to buses.  They choose to walk, talk and hangout with their friends rather than hop on a bus.  Pretty cool
– Borders
     From the airport to resort we passed through several Parishes, I believe these are the Jamaican version of our counties or states.  Ryan Powers can correct me if I butchered this part.  Anyway, at each border we were stopped….by baby faced youngsters in full camouflage yielding AR-15’s.  What a welcome!  Usually when I drive from WI to the U.P. I just see a Pure Michigan sign!
– Winning Attitude
     The locals had nothing material.  They barely had roofs that didn’t leak yet they were extremely happy.  This may have been their faith, the weather or the ganja but I know it wasn’t money.  This was probably the biggest eye opener for most visitors.  If you take anything from this email, let it be their attitude.  Their service…with a smile, was impressive.
– “Island Time”
     They moved slowly.  Like they truly had no worries.  It could not have been more different than when we touched back down at the Charlotte airport where it was a stressful race for everyone.  I have no clue how they were able to find anyone fast enough for a bobsled team.
That is all that I have for now.  Sorry again for the novel.  Thanks for the support while I was gone and thanks for your patience as we fill the Millwork Specialist role.
Be you and be great today!





Good morning Matt, Beth, and Joel.
I’m writing to call attention to customer service that my husband and I know is far above and beyond the “normal” way of doing things.
We are remodeling our 1960’s-era kitchen, and doing much of the work ourselves to keep costs as low as possible.  We hope to keep our budget right around $15,000.   From designers to contractors, we have had difficult getting anyone to work with us due to that low budget.   One contractor who visited our home left me in tears, not because he was unkind, but because he flatly stated that he wouldn’t be able to do anything for us.  His suggestion of a price to replace our floor was two-thirds of our entire budget for everything.  I finally decided to take on the whole kitchen design myself, and I have spent months in exhaustive research on every aspect of it.  Due to the very high rating they receive from contractors and DIYers, we are purchasing IKEA cabinets, and that also has been a “turn-off” for contractors/companies we’ve talked to.
My husband Wayne and I met Amber just by chance when we were at Drexel to return some Corian samples, and we are really glad she approached us that day.  She has been helpful and enthusiastic about our project right from the start.
I visited two other kitchen/bath showrooms (which will remain nameless) in the area, and through them I finally found just the right countertop material.  I asked Amber and the other two companies to give me a quote on the Hanstone, based on the drawings and measurements I provided to each of the three companies.
Company 1 was very dismissive of my various ideas and shut me down on each question I asked, when he spoke with me on the phone.  His bid came in at over $5,000, which didn’t surprise me.  He didn’t want to do our small job, which he made very obvious to me on the phone.  Therefore, he made his bid outrageously high.
Company 2 completely dropped the ball.  Over a week later, I had heard nothing from them.  When I called to see how things were going, they had not even started to look at the bid yet, and the assigned person was out of town for the next several days.  They were quite apologetic about what they called their mistake, but by this time, even without another bid, we were ready to go with Drexel, all because of Amber.
Here is what Amber did:
  1. Every question I had, she got an answer for me, whether she had to call Midwest Tops, or someone else.
  2. She sent us a bid for $2300-$2800 the same day we visited the Drexel showroom.
  3. When I suggested an idea for a second type of countertop surface in a certain area of the kitchen, she didn’t dismiss my idea with “no can do.”  She made two drawings of my idea and sent them to me, and also got information on the cost of an unfinished wood top.
  4. She has been timely and responsive at every turn.  And all of this BEFORE we even decided to go with Drexel.  She made us feel like we are worthy of her time and attention even though we’re not able to spend $60,000 on a new kitchen.  She has supported the creativity and attention I’ve been putting into my own kitchen design for many months.
We can’t say enough about how relieved and thankful we are to find a person/company willing to work with us side by side, since we can’t afford to hire all the work out.  Amber has made me cry in a good way.  I now believe we will be able to get our low-budget-but-dream-come-true-for-us kitchen!!  We can’t say enough about Amber’s friendly professionalism, her timely attention to our questions, and her efficient approach to everything she does.  What a stellar employee!!
With gratitude,
Lisa and Wayne