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PJanuary 31, 2014

Carrying Ernesto’s Hod

It is with great humility that I begin my new job today.  Rick, Andy, Andrew and Adam have all been incredibly generous in allowing me the honor to carry Ernesto’s hod.  The hod is the platform, or tray, that is used to bear the mortar and bricks for the mason. The hod carrier, although in a less than glamorous position, was the key support figure in the care of the masonry crew.  I hope, in the custom of Ernesto, that my very best will be enough to support us in our “masonry” endeavors, so together we can carry on the tradition of building “beautiful cathedrals.”

Some of you heard me talk last week about the lessons we all carry forward from Ernesto.  I’d like to reflect:

A.     No job is too small:  At EDiS, formerly Ernesto DiSabatino and Sons, Inc., we remember that our founder worked in manholes.  As a result of his craftsmanship, he would ultimately be charged with building an entire city, with those around him, for over a century.  We are never afraid to accept the smallest of chores, to carry each other’s burdens and won’t turn our back on the smallest of clients.

The Hod Carrier

B.     We pledge to see our clients become successful:  Ernesto had a knack for putting his clients into a successful position.  He understood that his trade could be seen as a commodity or it could be seen as an essential ingredient in the success of his patron.  He chose the latter.  Today, we assist so many different industries and see our services as being a catalyst to our clients’ success.  And they trust us to think that way.

C.     Beautiful cathedrals are built of broken stones and tiles:  On their own, stones are stones and tiles are tiles.  The mason has perfected the art of seeing the beauty in the individual stone and integrating it with other stones, using his tools and mortar.  The risk he runs is that he will be working with hundreds of other tradesmen, whom he may never meet or see.  By bonding himself, and his core values, with those around him, the individual stones soon have the potential to become a fantastic mosaic. At EDiS, teamwork, reliability, faith and trust are our tools and our mortar.

D.    Our competition is teaching our customers more than we could ever know:  Ernesto was keenly respectful of his competition.  They were artful, smart and capable. What he also knew, is that they were not always masons.  If carpenters could invent a system to replace stone, he needed to pay attention.  If the automobile could replace his investment in mules, he needed to pay attention.  And today, if Google can teach our customers about rapid and accurate responses, we need to pay attention.  The competition isn’t always driving a pickup truck with a construction logo.  But the competition is always teaching our customers something we need to know.

E.    Never stop imagining the streets are paved with Gold: When they left Sant’Omero, Ernesto and his sons are likely to have dreamed of seeing streets paved with gold.  While one might expect that they were disappointed to find dirt and stone on Broom Street, where they resided, we surmise that Ernesto was content.  We have learned of his optimism and faith and carry that tradition forward today.  Together, we don’t fear to dream and understand that sometimes one person’s dirt paved streets are another person’s gold.  We don’t let trials and tribulations get in our way of innovating and we are constantly looking for a better way.

F.    You are only as good as the people with whom you surround yourself:  Ernesto’s first line of defense was his family.  He held them very tight as he entered the world of uncertainty in his new country.  Next, he surrounded himself with the good people of Sant’Omero.  One hundred and six years later, his company is made up of the very best people in the industry.  We are very fortunate to have each other.

So as we look forward together, let’s never forget to look back.   We are all, in some odd way, daughters and sons of Ernesto.  I am honored to carry the hod.

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