A Man Who Gave Me Confidence

When I started working as a service technician, I’ll be honest, I really wondered if I was going to be able to learn my job and grow with this industry.  I’m a firm believer that the education in this business never stops and anyone who thinks it does will only be limiting their own abilities.  I am proud to say even though I know I have a long way to go I also feel I have come a long way.  A lot of that is because of the endless amount of educational resources that are available to me throughout this industry.

I often find myself thinking back to the many days and nights in a customer’s basement or crawl spaces.  One particular guy that comes to mind often is Mr. Kovilaritch.  He was the first customer that for some reason without even knowing me right from the first day I set foot in his home displayed an incredible amount of trust and confidence in me.  I remember Mr. Kovilaritch asking me how long I had been doing this kind of work.  I was afraid to answer that question for the first year because I thought if a customer knew I had not even been doing this work for more than a year then I had no business in their basement and some customers did feel that way.

But I was honest and I told Mr. Kovilaritch I had only been working for the company for about 10 months.  I tried to reassure him before he even said anything that I would not do anything I was not sure of and that if I had a question I would not hesitate to contact my boss.  I also reminded him that the office was only two blocks from his house so if we did need another technician he would not have to wait long.  Before I could say any more he just put his hand on my shoulder and told me to relax.  He said, “Take your time Alan, I have a good feeling about you son.  You’re going to do ok in this business, I can tell.”

I swear from that day forward that man gave me so much confidence I just worked harder and harder to learn my job.  I had many reasons why I wanted to succeed in this trade but now one of the reasons was because I did not want to let Mr. Kovilaritch down.  I got to know him and his wife well enough that sometimes they would just call to ask me to stop by for some fresh baked cookies and coffee.

A sad day in my career was when I learned that Mr. Kovilaritch had been diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer in its latter stages.  I am glad I had the opportunity to hold his hand, tell him what a special person he was and thank him for encouraging me as he did.  I consider it a blessing and a privilege to have met Mr. Kovilaritch.

Mr. Kovilaritch passed on just before Christmas that year.  I miss him and will never forget him.  My hope for my fellow technicians is that they will someday meet their own Mr. Kovilaritch or if they are fortunate, a few of them!

“The knowledge we share today will make a better industry tomorrow”

Industry Educator & Consultant
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