"On the Job with..." is a weekly feature in the Sunday Inc. section on area business owners and executives. Today's interview is with Jay Carpenter, owners of Alarmdetect.com, ADT Security Dealer.
Q. If you were a young adult fresh out of college, what would you do first in searching for a job?
A. I would network those contacts I have through friends and family to help "sell" me.
Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?
A. I think I spent my first real paycheck on a down payment on a lot, so I could build a house and move out from my folks. Still love that house to this day ... special place.
Q. What's the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?
A. I firmly believe we "work to live," not live to work. I feel your family's needs ought to be enough motivation for you to get the job done.
Q. What was your first job?
A. I worked summers for my father in the electrical business. He would send me out with one of his electricians. I would put outlet and switch plates on until I was old enough to start pulling wire and hanging fixtures. Dug a few ditches during those hot summer months, too.
Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to operate your own business?
A. My father has always owned his own business, so I guess that is what brought me to this business. Enjoy leading the ship, working with the great employees and representatives we have, and helping people protect things that are most precious to them. I enjoy doing what I do.
Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?
A. Of course, my father. But my mother, too. She never meets a stranger, and she truly exemplifies what Christ said, "Love one another." I try to do that. They went through some tough times but always clung to each other.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?
A. Count your blessings and look for the little things that make you happy in life. The best part of my life is right now, not yesterday or tomorrow.
Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology - examples e-mail, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. - what would you most like to see go away?
A. Computer systems in cars. It's tough to work on the cars nowadays. Just give me an old Holley 3310, vacuum secondary and let's roll.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. I guess my Blackberry keeps me on track, work and personal life.
Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?
A. I'm reading a book call "The Shack" by William Young. Regularly? Probably only the paper, front page items, but mainly the sports.
Q. I'm up and going by?
A. By 7 a.m. Watch a bit of the "Today Show," shower, and then help the kids get ready for school. I drop them off at school on the way to work. To work by 8:15.
Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?
A. I love coaching the sports my son (and daughter soon) plays in. I also race dirt late-model at the dirt track here in town, Albany Motor Speedway.
Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?
A. Losing my temper with a customer on the phone one time. I felt awful for days about that.
Q. Best thing about your job?
A. The people I work with and the business of protecting our customers
Q. Worst thing about your job?
A. Accounts payable and keeping things in perspective.
Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?
A. I'd say my Speech class. It got me used to speaking to larger crowds. Plus, it's where I met my wife.
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. Probably a meteorologist. Love the weather. Or a high school teacher and help coach.
Q. Finish this thought: "On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself ... "
A. Wow, that's a long way away. I guess spending time with my wife, doing whatever she wants.
Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?
A. Experience and confidence. It takes time to gain both!
Q. Crystal ball time: What's your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?
A. I'd like to say a couple of years, but I don't know.
Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?
A. Everything you can think of from Michael Jackson to Conway Twitty to OutCast to Michael Smith.
Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?
A. The children in our area need a better public school system. I'd like to think it will improve.
Q. What was the best vacation you've ever taken?
A. Anywhere with my family. Disney World this past year was nice.
Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?
A. The extreme measures thieves will go to nowadays just to steal a few dollars worth of merchandise. Also, there are some fly-by-night companies who have come into our industry lately, with no service.
Q. How has the Gulf oil crisis impacted your life? Do you see any impact on the Albany area?
A. It has not affected me so much, but I'm sure it is affecting folks around here some.
I pray we can get it stopped, and ole Mother Earth can absorb it.