"On the Job with ..." is a weekly Sunday Inc. series spotlighting area business owners and executives. Today's interview is with Robin Bartlett, owner of Flint Office Funriture.
Q. What was your first job?
A. Working the salad bar at Shoney's on Broad Avenue.
Q. What did you spend money on when you received your first paycheck?
A. Clothes, movie tickets and gas.
Q. If you were a young adult fresh out of college, what would you do first in searching for a job.
A. Put a smile on my face, be cheerful, confident and well groomed.
Q. What is the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?
A. By keeping myself motivated and treating them with respect.
Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?
A. I have had many over the years. I was particularly fond of Carolyn LaShober of Sasco Chemical.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?
A. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Never give up.
Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology, what would you most like to see go away?
A. Automated phone systems.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. My computer. My tape measure.
Q. I'm up and going by?
A. I try to be up by 5:30. I drag my body to revival with a 45- to 50-minute workout, shower and out the door.
Q. Favorite hobby or activity outside work?
A. Watching Samantha and Chandler play sports. Soccer, softball, T-ball.
Q. Best thing about your job?
A. Not having a boss hanging around.
Q. Worst thing about your job?
A. If it's good, it's me. If it's bad, it's me. Having to be totally responsible for everything.
Q. The most beneficial course you took in school was?
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. Motivating people, giving them hope. People need to know they were created on purpose.
Q. Finish this thought. On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself ...?
A. Serving God in a greater capacity. Doing mission work with my family.
Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?
A. True moral character.
Q. Crystal ball time. What's your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?
A. I feel as though we are seeing some now in 2010. I think to look ahead to long-term recovery, by 2012 I feel we will be much stronger.
Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?
A. I would have waited to inherit the business instead of buying it.
Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?
A. Contemporary Christian.
Q. What do you think will be the biggest change in Albany in the next 10 years?
A. I can see Albany, Leesburg and Dawson melding together. I think we will pull off of each other's strengths, sort of a three-city metropolis for economic growth and stimulus.
Q. What was the best vacation you have ever taken?
A. Walt Disney World. Being with your kids, to include Daniel, my husband, at Disney World is like winning the lottery.
-- Interviewed by Danny Carter, managing editor