Lessons learned on the job oay off
by Chris Collett
April 13, 2013 12:00 AM | 1584 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chris Collett<br>Columnist
Chris Collett
I have only had a few jobs in my lifetime. That is probably the result of watching my dad work at Atlanta Gas Light Co. for 37 years and my mom working at J.P. Haynes Lumber Co. for 40 years.

They came from a generation that had a true loyalty to their employers. They didn’t leave their job for a dollar more like so many do today. They planned for the future.

Rather than go to college right after high school, I decided I would work a while first. I would say that was a mistake but it has turned out pretty well. So I will only say that I have been fortunate to have a job for most of my life.

I graduated from Cherokee High School in 1980. And since I had made the decision to go to work, that was what was expected of me.

My first job out of high school was working at B and B Auto parts in Canton. My job there only lasted a year or so before I decided to move on to something else. But like every job I have had, I learned some valuable lessons from my superiors.

Gary Adams and Junior Denney was the spark that made B and B successful for so many years. And their leadership styles couldn’t have been more different.

Junior was a touch high strung like me. He talked fast, walked fast, and had people in and out of the door in a matter of minutes.

Both Junior and Gary are huge Georgia Bulldog fans. And I have always been a Georgia Tech fan. This made for some interesting conversations with Junior as he was the more vocal of the two.

We actually bet one dollar on a game between the two schools once and I lost. Junior took the dollar and proudly framed it to hang up in the store.

But I learned from Junior. I learned the importance of efficiency. He taught me the importance of time and getting the job done.

Junior taught me about prioritization and staying ahead of the game. I never told him that. Maybe I didn’t realize it at the time. But I learned from him.

Gary was the absolute opposite of Junior. And due to the fact that I was already high strung, I needed to learn from Gary too. And I did.

Gary said very little. He still isn’t the most talkative guy on the planet. But I have never mistaken his quietness as unfriendly. For it is only his nature.

One of the most regular customers during the time I worked at B and B was Junior Bobo. Now Junior was about as quiet as Gary. I watched many times as Junior would come into the store and lay a part down on the counter in front of Gary.

Gary would look at the part, lay it down, and then start looking through the catalogs to find the part number. He would then go to the back of the store and get the part and bring it back.

After laying the part on the counter, Junior would pick it up and look at it. He would then turn and slowly walk out of the door. I am not sure if they spoke every time that they conducted a transaction. And they are great friends.

I say that jokingly because I often see them together at the golf course now. And I still don’t hear either one of them monopolizing a conversation.

But I learned a lot from Gary. I learned that it isn’t what you say that makes you successful. Rather, it’s what you do.

Junior Bobo and others trusted Gary Adams and knew if Gary laid a part on the counter, it was the right part. Gary taught me the importance of taking my time and getting it right. And I have often used that in my professional career.

I ran in to Gary and his wife Barbara the other day at lunch. It was an opportunity to tell Gary that he taught me a lot in the short year I worked for him and Junior. And I took it.

It’s a shame that when we are young we learn so much without ever realizing it until years later.

But I can say now, the lessons I learned from Gary Adams and Junior Denney have greatly contributed to my success. You both have my respect and thanks.

Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of

Cherokee County.
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