THE LEGACY – part 2




The shadows of the past often loom large.  You don’t just represent the present…  you are a culmination of the past, and hope for the future.  Your time is now, only because of the toils of past generations.

Life changes.

How often we don’t realize where we are is because of who brought us here.

But sometimes we can, and that perspective can be magical.

Ryan Walsh you see is the 9th generation of dispatchers at our mother ship in Campbellsport.

Wife Katie, Ryan, Dogs names are Riley and Luna. Has a Cat named Otis (not pictured). More about Ryan Below*

It is solely the most important position within our organization. He is in control of the one thing we can control. The one thing that adds true value to what we do. Deliveries made in full and on time at our largest and founding location.

This is not to minimize any other position. Billing, estimating, ordering, receiving, purchasing, design, service, installing, selling, and so much more is very critical as well. And of course no location is more important than the other.

But the core of Drexel is our delivering and scheduling services…and it all started on Main Street in Campbellsport.

Everything we do that is right can be made horribly wrong by a delivery or install team arriving at the wrong time with the wrong product. It takes a team of experts to make a load perfect, estimating, the right mix of product quality and price, certainly good service and good billing practices… but one person can make a huge mess out of all it.

Ultimately, it is in the scheduler’s/dispatcher’s hands to make us look good.

That is why the 9th generation of dispatchers is so closely fostered, trained and coached. That person has to be just the right mix of saint and sinner, therapist and enforcer, mathematician and mechanic. With a little magician throw in.

Here are the 9 that have had the reins of Team Blue in the last 30 years, all continue to work here except Dick who left this world much too young, and Nick Leist who left Drexel for personal reasons:

Albert Fleischman

Dick Dornacker

Scott Rosenthal

Joel Fleischman

Jay Enright

Eric Beck

Jake Junk

Nick Leist

Ryan Walsh

Albert believed that we will NEVER say no to a delivery until every person in the company was on one or every truck was gone.  In 30 years we HAVE NEVER had a load that didn’t make it out because we ran out of time.  However, we do say NO occasionally, if it smells weird… it probably is!


Which of course has led to many stories, including…

Kris Ballard (at that time Kris was the secretary AND cabinet designer) taking out a load of 4’x’8′ styrofoam that peeled off the back of the truck like a deck of cards as she drove….

Starting to pull a delivery at 4:30pm on Friday July 3rd…and arriving home just in time for the fireworks in town…  been there…done that…

Receiving material purchased from a freight train that ran off the railroad tracks…

Making deliveries by boat, helicopter, and by hand… to prisons, schools, churches and countless more…

16 hour work days…

I’m sure most of us has a story like this, something we just HAD to do to please the customer.

We’ve delivered to Florida, Nebraska, and dozens of other states…we have done online sales to Alaska.  Our first delivery to Canada is starting next month.

And we will continue to do the un-doable….safely…on time…and complete…

When do you need it by, where do you need it?….and we will get it done by then.  The only thing stopping us is mother nature, and even then we win most of those battles.   We can and we will continue to BE the difference.

It’s simple really.  We are a logistics company.  Taking product from one truck on to the next.  Barb and the flooring team install it too.  At the core, that’s really all we do… we do make this small task, moving materials from one place to its last, fantastically hard!

History has taken us from no communication in any trucks, to a system where you called “base camp”, to beepers and pagers, to cell phones, and now to Drexel logistics.

Our current dispatchers and schedulers are:


Corey Disterhaft

(yes that is girlfriend Emma Hargrave)



Andy Feld


Barb Woolf

Ryan Michalak


Steve Hermsen


Danielle Thimming

Thank you dispatchers and schedulers, both current and past, for being the glue that holds the puzzle together. And to all those that surround them… you are all part of what we do. It is the daily “doing” that makes what we do so incredibly awesome.

Being on time and in full takes an army of blue. Each of you make that delivery go perfectly, and currently we are doing it 92.8% of the time. We will continue to improve.


* Jake Junk on Ryan:  Where would I start with Mr. Welshy! Ryan is a wonderful person to have on team blue and represents our Core values above and beyond. No matter the task, he always comes to work with a smile on his face and a “Can do Attitude!” It has been a pleasure to work and train with Ryan for the past couple years. He truly bleeds blue!   He’s like  “The Cat In The Hat!” No task to small and always having fun with a smile on his face. And at at the end of the day, the job is done, and the place gets cleaned, no matter what happened from point a to point b.

*Todd Flitter on Ryan:  Pretty simple when it comes to Ryan —Cool, Calm and Collected!!! No matter what the pulse is, how many deliveries there are to do…Ryan always has time for everyone and seems always put a little joke and fun into the mix. Ryan is extremely good(top notch) at what he does. Getting the job done and keeping the flame low is exactly what he provides to his Team day in and day out. Everything you could ask for in a Teammate. I guess there’s a reason he wears the #12 jersey!



– 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.







Team, this is a monster load, you might want to digest this over several readings or one blast of info.  Up to you.  I apologize in advance for grammar, etc.


It’s light out at about 4:20am.  And by that I mean it’s not complete darkness.  Absolutely love seeing this.  We will have about 60 days of this.  I’m a morning person.  I see many more sunrises than sunsets.



This one REALLY hit home for me.  In fact BOTH have happened to me recently.  I do get frustrated sometimes, I play “HELL I AM THE OWNER CARD, HERE I GO!!!” when I can’t wait for the team, or just don’t feel like communicating it to 330 of you… and I do run ahead of the team, with the excuse that…they will follow if I run fast enough.  How wrong I am!!!

Also, IF YOU DON’T INVOLVE ME and you run ahead, I become very frustrated as well.  Sometimes the team will say, Joel we have been working on this, in reality…running ahead of the pack without anyone around.  I think that feels liberating to them.  Think of a child at the zoo, running ahead.  They are so free… until a parent calls them back, then the parent is so frustrated and the child is so sad and disappointed that their plans didn’t work out.  I’m gonna pick a bit on Dan Thiem here, because I know he can handle it and real examples are better than generalities.  Dan has sometimes worked hard on a new project, he’s so darn excited he could scream, yet I knew nothing about it.   When he tells me I have real concerns…and then I am that parent at the zoo…and Dan is that child getting called back.  Not fun for either one.  Dan I promise I will try to run with you sometimes, but please invite me along!  We all fall in this trap don’t we?


1000 afternoons.  That is how many Fridays afternoons people have had off approximately since January 1st, since we have implemented this in 2017. (20 Fridays, 50 people a Friday.)   Has it been easy?  Hell no!  As EB stated you have to start working MONDAY to make sure we are COVERED Friday afternoons or you are screwed.  Our loads, deliveries communications and quotes have to be BETTER THAN EVER.  Hey, that’s better for our clients too! 

Has it been without frustration?  Is the race over?  Did we “win”?  HELL NO!  The finish line is not even close, WE HAVE TO PUSH HARDER!   What do I mean?    Less work hours are confusing; there is always work to do, why are we being “punished”?   I’ve always been able to work unlimited hours, why the change?  Can’t I just work when I want to?… Team, this takes a great deal of talking it through.  All vehicles, animals, and people too are just BETTER with more gas left in the tank.  We are BETTER for working a few less hours.  Thanks to Andy, Amber, Emily, and Julie we are able to state matter of factly, we on average are working about 2 hours less a week than in 2016.  That’s a fact.  It may seem less, but in reality it is simply not true.  Do the math, the .50 raise offsets that very well!  This might not be true FOR YOU, and if this is a pain point, TALK TO SOMEONE PLEASE ASAP.  Let’s accomodate your NEEDS!   Great leaders, great companies have guidelines but also listen and adjust based on individuals.    LET’S TALK!  I HOPE I AM NOT SO INTIMIDATING THAT YOU CAN’T TALK TO ME.  FEEL FREE, ANYTIME, I MEAN IT!  STORE LEADERS ARE READY AS WELL, AS WELL AS ALL LEADERS ON THIS TEAM.  ONE TEAM, ONE VISION.

This pain point is worth it.  I truly believe it.  We must keep fighting for it.  Why do I believe it?  The 1,000 afternoons.  So far.  The time spent with loved ones.  The time away.  The time to rejuvenate.  I have even received a letter from an owner of an unnamed bar in Plymouth that appreciates the uptick in business! (I made that one up, just to make sure you were still reading this.)

1,000 afternoons.   That makes me smile.  I hope it does for you too.


Construction hard hats.  I was at a tailgate tour Friday.  PEOPLE THESE ARE GAME CHANGING AWESOME.  EVERY SINGLE TIME I GO TO ONE, I LEAVE WITH A HUGE SMILE AND SAY, “GOSH DARN THAT WAS FUN, WORTH IT, AND SPOT ON PERFECT!”  Anyways, last Friday we are at a commercial jobsite in New London (hey, I met a guy, great guy, hunts next to my dad’s place in Almond, we are now like fast friends, told me to stop and have a beer sometime….oh and he is building a 70×150 pole shed that we now have the inside track on…yeah these are SOO WORTH IT…and Cheyenne and the Blue Door Coffee Co. are doing a great job!) and we DIDN’T HAVE HARD HATS ON.  The newer account manager said kind of proudly, “Oh if he asks me to wear one, I always go put it on.”  I saw this as a teaching opportunity…

What he said is fine.  It’s average, it’s a B-, I guy wants something we go do it, probably better than mos suppliers he chooses.  But we CAN DO AN A+.   IT’S ABOUT UNDERSTANDING OUR CLIENTS, AND RESPECT, and FORMING GOOD HABITS.   If we ALWAYS wear a hard hat on a commercial site it shows a bunch of things:

  1.  RESPECT:  I understand your needs.  I know you don’t have time to race around and hold everyone accountable to wear a hard hat.  You are saying, “you can count on me, even if it’s apparent no one else is wearing one, I will, we will at Drexel always have your back.
  2. HABIT:  I always wear one.  That way it’s easy.  I don’t have to make a choice.  Commercial site = hard hat.  EASY.
  3.  I GOT YOUR BACK:  Even if today is a shit storm.  Today friend, you can count on me.  Always.  And it starts with my hard hat on ready to work for you.


Lastly, below is a picture of Admir and Aleik.  Tile guys from Albania.  Admir has been here 5 months.  They do amazing work.   They absolutely LOVE AMERICA AND I THINK THEY LOVE DREXEL EVEN MORE.  Most days we hire them on a subcontractor level to work for us to do tile work in the Brookfield area.  Classy guys I have gotten to know.  Don’t underestimate the power of supplying happiness and Drexel.  Admir and Aleik do not take Drexel or America for granted.  You don’t think Drexel is important.  Admir and Aleik need us, we need them.  Drexel makes that happen.



I am friggin jacked for this week, this summer, but especially this moment!  The sun is rising, I got to get in the shower, and get soon to a career I simply love.  A few days (and hours off) did this soul well, but now I am restless and hungry to change the world and supply happiness!   Let’s roll!  TIME IS A TICKING!  WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE AT AN HOUR WE DO NOT KNOW.  THAT SOMETIMES FOR ME IS ALL THE MOTIVATION I NEED!


– 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.




I am nearing the final stages of building my house.  Overall the experiences has been really good and very educating. Building it “on the side”, through the winter, obviously has its share of challenges. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  A few times I wasn’t sure which of those it would be, but at the moment it is looking like “stronger” will win out.



Through the process I of course had the opportunity to work with a number of different subs, each with their own style.  If I can share one piece of advice for anyone who decides to do this process and handle the GC end of things….it is to pick subs that A), you are the most comfortable with, and B), pick sub-contractors that work with each other and/or speak highly of each other.  It pays off in the long run.  These guys made it easy.



The purpose of this email however is not to guide you through the home-building process. It is to share a story about one sub in particular who goes the extra mile and truly cares about the work he is doing.  He has similar DNA as to what we strive to have at Drexel. It all comes down to CARING.


The sub-contractor in this case is Don Schmidt Plumbing.  Don is doing the Septic and the plumbing.  I had gotten two plumbing bids, and Don was not the cheapest one.  However I felt good about what he had to say, and he is a customer of ours. It turned out to be a great decision because he has added a ton of value from the first day.  Not even on things completely related to plumbing. From the ideas that came up, to the quality of his work, and the condition he left things in when he left, I couldn’t be more pleased.  You can tell when someone cares vs. when they are just there to do their job.  I had another sub, who will remain un-named, who you could tell was there to just get the job done and not much more.  That sub over-promised about when they would show up and then when they showed up they were sloppy, knocked things over (without picking them up), left their marks. They left the jobsite having accomplished what they needed to, and a different vision of excellence.   I will pay that invoice with a little bit of a discomfort.  I will write the check to Donny with a smile on my face.

So it’s obvious here who we want to be as Drexel. We want to be more like Don.  Bringing value to the table.  Showing the customer we care for more than just the minimum.  I have some more specific examples for you about the differences, as the above is fairly generic. I will try not to get too long winded:


Value Added Suggestions. Donny seems to go through every project as if it were his own. Giving ideas and tips for products or practices that will bring value down the road. And these things are not more money in his pocket. He does it simply for your best interest.  IE: We had planned on putting an iron filter in, and he explained why we wouldn’t need to do that after reviewing the water tests. Less $$ for him…but the right thing to do.  Treat each customer with this level of care. Early on he suggested that I bury all the downspouts before they backfill. I wasn’t going to bother with that until the end, but this saved me a ton of time and sweat. Him and the excavator did it significantly better than I ever would have.


-Clean.  Leave everything you touch in better condition than it was before it was in your possession. I often could not even tell if Don was there because he didn’t leave a trace of a mess. And anyone who knows me, knows how much I appreciate this. Apply this principle to every aspect of life please.


-Lunch.  On Friday I had the day off and was working out there with Don and Mark Schairer’s crew installing the septic tank.  Donny had his wife bring lunch for all 8 of us.  And he picked up the tab. And you could tell he was genuinely proud to do so.  It brought smiles and good conversation over the lunch break.  This stuff goes a long way.  Don’t pass up the opportunity do this type of thing for your customers.


His Wife. Donny regularly works with his wife Gwen. She runs back and forth to the truck loading & unloading material and is there to help him out.  When I stopped by one day during lunch, they were both sitting on the front porch eating lunch together.  You never hear them argue, they have truly developed a relationship of compromise and support for each other that I have a lot of respect for.  Love, Serve, Care–> It all starts at the home front. Take the time to respect and practice compromise with your other half, because without those two things you just a fool.


The Rug. This actually speaks for itself, and believe it or not was the trigger for this email.  See below picture. One seemingly insignificant example that sum’s up Don’s level of care for his work.  As they were installing the septic, I noticed Don had pulled a rug out of his truck and covered the patio door to protect it. Average people don’t do that stuff. I know I never would have thought of it.  That right there is preparation and foresight.  He always has the right tools to get the job done, and is highly organized.




I will leave it at that.  Every now and then I feel the need make the attempt to try to be a little bit insightful, and I think I was waiting for the moment during this project….what have I learned that I can share?   If nothing, then was it really worth it?  This was the strongest message I felt I wanted share with my friends.  We talk about supplying happiness, well this is proof that others are out there doing the same, and what it looks like.



On a lighter note, since I listen to the radio on the jobsite constantly, I hear this commercial frequently and I guess a similar message applies.  Are you just doing it…or doing it well?


John Deere,  Not how fast you mow my friend it’s how fast you mow well.


Thanks for your time,


Steve Herriges

Drexel Building Supply | Campbellsport







Life isn’t supposed to be perfect.


INSTEAD do what Jon Gordon suggests:

“Positive Leaders don’t lead in a sea of tranquil positivity but through the storms of adversity and negativity. Optimism is essential.”

Bad shit happens.  Always has, always will on this planet.  I am 100% sure of that.


The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1-3

– 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.



On Friday, as I’m beaming with good news, I find myself meeting with a team member.  They are “trying to figure things out,” which I applaud.  I loved that she confides in me, not sure I can help, I’m a horrible listener, but I have large ears…that’s gotta be a start.  Anyways…   The problem to me is, we’ve met on this before, going back a few years.   Meaning: nothing has changed… yet there she is …figuring things out.

But that’s not the reason for the TGIM.

Further into the conversation, we will call this person Daisy, Daisy relates, “But you obviously have it all figured out…” and that’s when the conversations screeches to a halt.

I stammer, I laugh, I actually get a little pissed.  Then the light bulb goes on in my little brain.  THIS IS A TEACHING OPPORTUNITY (my 2017 one word: teach.)


We are completely unique people traveling around a sun, on a round object, in a unique speck of time, at a unique place. It’s a solely unique experience, there is no app or map.  No on in the past or future will have a manual and sit back and think; I have it figured out.

Yes, I have 3 kids, an amazing wife, a nice house, a growing business, good friends, a dog that loves me, the best people in the world to work with… but figured out?  HELL NO.  NOT EVEN CLOSE.  I struggle CONSTANTLY with what’s the next thing, I chase perfection.  How easy it would be to lose any of this at anytime.  Perhaps customers won’t want to buy from us, perhaps my family will get hit by a bus, perhaps my dog starts liking my wife more than me (let’s not get crazy here)… I mean figured out?  No way!   But am I happy? Yes.  Am I going forward? Yes.

We are going to Madison.  This could put us out of business, yes it could.  Am I worried, not a bit, we have a great team.  Could it fail?  YOU BET!  And if it does, so what?  We do it again, and again.  We try, we fail.  We do it without fear…. which is why…here’s 10 ways to start “figuring it out.”


  1.  TAKE THE FIRST STEP.  The hardest part of working out at 5am religiously is THE FIRST STEP OUT OF BED.  Once you are up and vertical the rest honestly is cake.  That first step takes all the will power!
  2.  DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECTHere’s a short article if you are interested in learning more.
  3.  JUST DO IT.  Tomorrow is not promised.  In 100 years we will ALL BE DEAD.  Please don’t care so much, let it go.  Life is a game, be bold.  Nike was right.  Completely.  Just do it.  There are hundreds of cliches that talk like this, and they are all exactly what we need to here!
  4. As Keith Batenhorst likes to say, FSU (or F*** S*** Up).   And by that he means, make a mess. Or as we say around here, “READY, FIRE, AIM.”  Basically if you just get started, you will figure it out.
  5. FEAR.  Oh, that’s real.   That’s why you need THE TEAM to walk you off the ledge.  A team of bad ass people that will encourage you… which leads me to #6…
  6. POSITIVE.  Hey, you know which ideas suck?  ALL OF THEM.  You know which ones are good? MOST OF THEM.  The difference?  A positive influence.  That’s it.
  7. 1% BETTER.  If you focus on getting started, then focus on getting better… that’s a great path.
  8. STUPID BIG DREAMS.  Think in BIG DREAMS but live in little steps.  Want to be an organic farmer someday? Start with your own garden.  That’s a good first step.
  9. TIME.   But Joel I don’t have time to get started?  Look we all have 24 hours each day.  No one gets more.  If you aren’t taking the time for “your true passion,” you are doing it all wrong, or it’s really not your true passion.
  10. HAVE FUN.  If your dreams are not fun, they really can’t be your dreams.  Quit doing…and get started on something else.

Extra credit:  Your passion is maybe DREXEL and outside of work.  It’s ok to be obsessed with our mission to supply happiness, and say raising honey bees.  It doesn’t have to be one or the other.  It can be both.  There’s room for both.



– 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.





Having been off from work for 3 days, I had a realization.

Rather… I read a bunch of books and this is the quote that has stuck with me for days, like peanut butter on bread.

But Joel, life is about making memories, being happy, balance.

How can life be too short to be busy?

I took some time and looked back at my favorite all time moments with my friends, family, and well just me.  Almost all of them happened in the “in between” moments.  When I had a moment to stop and show my children the blooming tulips, the bird making a nest, a conversation after supper.  JUST HANGING OUT.

My favorite moments are not the 3rd game I played that week in a baseball tournament, or that trip to the Dells, or that time I spent on the internet, although they all have their place.  I encourage you to find time to NOT BE BUSY.


I traveled with a person recently, let’s call that person Ray.  Ray for years has honestly been kind of intense, cranky, and well at times not super fun to be around.  Take him off the grid, and I was like, yeah this is the guy I love.  What was the difference?  Ray wasn’t consumed with daily tasks.  He had time for himself and others.  Good Ray > Busy Ray.  Be Good Ray.

What busy work can you give up?  Or can you focus more on your tasks so you do have a moment for those moments?

Just having got back Monday morning, I realized I was too busy to properly connect with my team.  Wow. Shame on me.

John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you are making plans.”

I’ve heard this quote, “If the devil can’t make you BAD, he will make you BUSY.”

How true.  Being busy has to quit being a badge of honor.   I’ve had this conversation too many time… “Gosh, so darn busy this week.” …”Oh, aren’t we all?”… And we hurry off to do something.  You know what… I’m gonna start saying… “I’m not that busy…what do you need?”

It’s hard to be incredibly happy, even harder to actually supply happiness, when you are so busy… I believe it’s actually impossible.  You CAN be HIGHLY ACCOMPLISHED AND SUCCESSFUL AND HAPPY without being 1000000% busy.  You say “it’s not possible”… I say, “Watch me.”

– 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.