A Father’s Tribute to His Son

by Harry Dinsen

A Father’s Tribute to His Son

It has now been a year this past Memorial Day that my son Edward has been working with me at the same company, a custodial company. It’s not a glamorous job, yet the environment and the firm for which the company we work for subcontracts makes all the difference. There are problems, the occasional crisis (which keeps us busy), all which goes without saying—but what job does not have problems nowadays?


Edward started out twelve years ago with a pretty good firm in the electronics industry—that was after several false starts he had with temporary jobs and jobs that he was just not suited for. He had not yet found a job he was comfortable with. However, after eleven years with the company, someone decided to ship everything to China.


Edward, like his friends, was laid off and had no place to go. After a stretch of job hunting with no good leads, I was able to get Edward a job at a site our company had a contract with. He was there nearly a year before we find out that it, too, was closing: everything there was going to China as well.


It seemed, for once, providence was on his side: the company we contract with has four buildings, which I oversee. On one of those, the lady taking care of it decided to go home to Arizona suddenly on a whim. That left another personnel vacuum in that building. We had already been through five people to take care of the building and the firm’s people there were not happy. At this time, I was filling in and fortunately, they were already used to me—but a couple of the department managers were concerned about a permanent person. They didn’t care who or what; just someone they could depend on who would be on site longer than three months before leaving.


Our own manager, to say the least, was not happy either; we had a long discussion on the situation and I finally suggested, without arm twisting, to bring Edward over from the other firm, which was closing in a few months anyway. It was the Friday before Memorial Day weekend that we had him transferred to our site. That is a day he will never forget. It was a whirlwind afternoon of going through security, site personnel, the in-briefing with the site manager, and then he met me at the building the manager and I were “entrusting” to him. He was already aware of the problems he was inheriting from previous discussions we had had before he reported that Friday afternoon.


It did not take him but a short time to discover the company we are contracted with is a tight-knit company. It can be compared to “small town” America: everybody knows everybody, regardless of contract, subcontract, whatever. Also, he was quick to find out this firm is equivalent to a veterans’ club. I am retired Army; the bulk of the firm is probably about thirty-five per cent retired Air Force, a few Marines and a few Army, myself included. Most of the senior executive staff I know personally are retired Air Force.


As I gave him the grand tour de force of the building and made introductions, he realized just what he was up against: filling Dad’s boots. Managers were quick to place judgment on him, comparing him to past people our firm had placed there and my taking charge on short notice. However, since that time one year ago, he has made many friends over there and quickly gained the trust and confidence of some very hard to please people. Our manager is no exception.