Earlier this year in March, I was sitting next to President Barack Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, and I thought to myself, “How in the hell did I end up here?”
As many of you know, Fritz-Pak has been a long-time advocate for the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Over 35% of our products go overseas to more than 30 different countries, and we have used to services of EX-IM Bank for many years. We have written articles in favor of reauthorizing the bank, we have spoken with our Congressman, Jeb Hensarling, on this matter, and we have given interviews to newspapers and magazines about our personal story and experience as a small business US exporter. Well, sometimes if you make enough noise, you just might be heard, and that’s what happened as the White House invited me to sit in on an Economic Roundtable event.
It was a tremendous honor to represent my company, our industry, and offer my story and experience to the President and other business leaders. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am very humbled by the experience. But what I want to share with you is the answer to my question: How did I end up here? And the answer is so simple, so easy to do, so life-affirming that I had to share it.
I spoke up.
Too often in our lives, in our jobs, in our government we sit back and say nothing. We have opinions, but we keep them to ourselves. We have ideas to solve problems, but we don’t share them. We could do more, but we simply don’t.
So I challenge everyone reading this article to speak up this year. There is no shortage of organizations and associations that work on behalf of their members to improve our industry. Have you joined an association? If you have, do you participate? Do you offer your opinions on how things could be better? Do you take action that would help improve not only your business, but that of others as well? This isn’t about donations or pledges or advertising. This is about participating with a group of peers and getting things done that will affect your business and that of others. And who knows? You might find yourself sitting next to a future President one day and thinking to yourself, “How in the hell did I end up here?”
Unfortunately, the government has strict rules about showing pictures from the White House. But for those who need video proof, please see here: President Obama Holds a Roundtable on Small Business Exports
Fritz-Pak Corporation is a member of the American Concrete Institute, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, the American Society of Concrete Contractors, including the Decorative Concrete Council, the American Concrete Pumping Association, and the International Packaged Concrete Manufacturer’s Association