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Mentor - Attitude- Commitment ( written speech given May 11, 2017)


Thank you, Cheryl and the entire group. I had the honor of addressing this group several years ago and It’s nice to be back.


Be happy with yourselves.


You are in a great field and with a great career ahead of you. There will always be a need for both new installations and maintenance in the HVAC space.


That being said the most successful will be the ones that will continue to learn and grow. That is what we are going to talk about.


Many of you will be employees, managers, and businesses owners. Some will be solo entrepreneurs some will create large companies hiring many people.


You have already demonstrated your desire to elevate your skills as technicians, and all of us here applaud you.

 A little about my background- I grew up in small town Midwest.  If I couldn’t hit a jump shot I would be pumping gas in Batesville, Indiana.

 Basketball was king in Indiana and it afforded me a College scholarship to Xavier University.  I used that opportunity and tried to do the next right thing, for next 40 years.

 I lead a team that built TMR into the largest and most successful metals recycler in the Southeast.

 I now own a media company, restaurants, I am business consultant an author, artist and world traveler. I am the executive producer for The Best of Tampa Bay TV, Executive Director and host for

 But for none of these reasons alone makes me qualified to speak to you about your success in the HVAC field.

 I do want you to know I am deeply honored to be here and extremely qualified to speak to this group.


 At one time I owned a fair amount of rental properties. I have replaced at least 8 different AC units, I had numerous emergency calls to your companies.

 Emergency for me is when the temperature is 90 degrees, its after 5 pm or on a long holiday weekend! I am miserable, angry and generally pissed off at everyone!

 I am your customer!!!

 Over the years I have met many successful people and I have met many who are still chasing their tale.

 Napoleon Hill in the early 1900’s studied the habits of some of the worlds most successful people. Andrew Carnegie, J D Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and many others.

 Most of today’s business theories can be traced backed to Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and grow rich” If you have not read I strongly suggest you do so.

 Did you realize 42 % of all college grads never read another book after graduation. They are the ones in trouble in this ever changing economy.

 Hill, after interviewing hundreds of successful people identified 23 success traits.

 I have met many people, many successful people, and no one has all of them. If they did they would either be Gandhi or God.

 If you can master only a few of them, you can be as successful as you want.

 When I reflect back on my  AC emergencies and the traits that made my experience tolerable and overlaid that with some of Hills character traits. I came up with a simple outline that can, and will make you successful!

 I simply call it the Big MAC.   Easy to remember for obvious reasons.

 It stands for Mentors-Attitude-Commitment.

 The first is selecting Mentors to help guide you.


Having Mentors is a resource that all successful people use.

 Think back to the advisors, teachers and coaches that you had in the past. At that time, they tried to make you better in whatever the field of endeavor you were in.

 It is no different today, however you get to pick them based on your needs.

 Properly selected mentors can take your game to another level. You will have many mentors for many reasons that can help you on your journey to success.

 Most experts you seek typically will be glad and honored to help you.

 You are only one relationship, one unanswered question, one article, one book away from answering the mysteries of your universe and changing your life forever.

 Most people including me face fear!

 But the greatest fear will all face is what we don’t know but what we know we should know! We are humbly ignorant of the answer. Not stupid, just ignorant.

 My greatest challenges have always been when I tried to go it alone.

 Mentors can demystify issues, act as a sounding board to guide us and thus eliminate the fear surrounding any issue.

 Mentors can be anything or anyone. Some you will know personally and some will be authors, coaches even an online advisor.

 I recently read of a woman who built an entire house by watching YOU TUBE videos. Tell me she doesn’t feel empowered.

 I've had many mentors in my past and will continue to seek them out as I move forward and need new information.

 While mentors are very important in your development, I caution you to pick them selectively and purposefully.  

 And do not under any circumstance is listen to STUPID people!

 And we all know who they are they are!


·They are the ones who are dumb and don't know.

·     They are the ones that are dumb, don't know and don't do anything.

·     And they're the ones that are dumb, don't know, and don’t do anything - but yet they think they know everything.

 Stupid people with negative attitudes are the dangerous people in your life. They are the ones that have opinions on every subject and most likely they are not in your best interest. You may need to eliminate a few people as you continue to grow.

Be careful of people who start every sentence with...

 You know the problem is….

·    You know what’s wrong with ….

·    Yea, But….

Let's face it, no one you know with a negative attitude is successful!

 They may make a few bucks but their lives or pitifully pathetic.

 Remember don't listen to stupid people

 I have had many mentors in my life.

 Three that come to mind all for different reasons.

 Doyle Fellows was an artist in Birmingham, Alabama who painted portraits for the very wealthy, and famous. His portraits were always showcased in Southern Living Magazine.

 He told me at a very early impressionable age under no circumstances should I be impressed by the possession of other people. There will always be people that will have more.

 On the other hand, be impressed by how they achieved it and the character they demonstrated in the process. That's the most important personal lesson I ever learned. When jealousy, resentment creep into my life I hear Doyle’s sage advise.

 Jim Breth was my very first professional CEO to whom I reported.

 He told me along time ago don't let your power be your power. Let your power be your influence.

 Know what you want, let others offer opinions, and genuinely lead them through persuasion, build consensus, get buy in and they will follow you anywhere. The success of TMR was that I never forgot that lesson.

 One of my earliest mentors was the legendary basketball coach John Wooden.

 At UCLA he won 12 national championships.

 He is remembered as the godfather of the NCAA basketball championship coaches.  But his philosophy of life is what attracted me to him.I met him as a 16-year-old sophomore and budding basketball player.  

 He spoke about the number of things but the area we spoke about that always stuck with me was his philosophy on attitude. I have read every thing he has ever written about his philosophy of life.

 Attitude is the next piece I would like to share.

 Attitude is the one variable we all control.

 In this fast pace and fanatic world full of confusion and indifference, attitude is what makes all the difference.

 Stuff happens to all of us!  Good, Bad and all the above. It's how we view it is what is important.

 That's attitude. Can you see the positive in any if not most situations?

 As Coach Wooden would say….

 “Don't let what you can't do it in the way of what you can do.”

 “Your attitude will decide your altitude in life.”

 I told you I was uniquely we qualified to give you these insights.

 Over the years I have needed and have used many different heating and air-conditioning repair companies.

 In the last seven years I've only used one. After trying at least, a half dozen.

 Why?   It was their attitude!

 Think about it.  No one really is properly prepared for an air conditioning breakdown emergency.

 It's 90° out, it's going to be expensive, I'm going to be inconvenienced and in generally pissed off when I have to call you call you!

 And at that very moment I am your customer!

 Hello Ron.

 Why do I keep going back?  Attitude.

 In this case it starts with the owner whom I only met years later at party. It works its way through the staff from the person who answers the phone to the technician that shows up at my door.

 I believe they understand the pain that I'm feeling and they show it.

 They are so understanding, empathetic and sympathetic. I find myself appreciating their help and gladly refer them to others.

 The simplest way to show a positive attitude is to see the best in any situation and show up with a smile.

 I firmly believe smiles can be seen through the phone.

 Attitude it is the small thing that makes the biggest difference.

The last point I want to talk about is commitment.


 Commitment is the starting point of everything that you do in life. Without commitment you will never start anything, without consistency you will never finish.

 We all have goals! Unfortunately goals for most people are just dreams. Commitment is the underlying focus, action and achievement of those dreams.

 There's a big difference between being committed and involved.  With a breakfast of bacon and eggs the chicken is involved with the pig is committed.

 That’s an extreme case but you get the idea!

 In your own lives from time to time we all have been told we were not committed. It came from coaches, bosses, it came from spouses it came from boyfriends and girlfriends.

 Deep down you know commitment is the difference between your success and failure.

 You're entering an exciting world full of possibilities and opportunities.  Technology is disrupting virtually every industry.  

 Technology will make many of our activities obsolete if a few years making our futures exciting but also very uncertain.

 While I am sure the HVAC industry too will be affected, it will generally be immune to significant change, for now.  There will need to be installers and there will be the need for ongoing maintenance.

 The world is awash with opportunities! Some of you will be employees, some managers, some own your own businesses now and some will start your own business in the future.  Some like TMR, will grow through acquisition bringing new opportunities and challenges.

 Let me ask you.

 If you were looking to hire people would you be happy hiring someone is continually learning though mentors?  Had a great attitude?  Had the ability to commit to success?

 If you were an employee would these be characteristics your boss would embrace and value?  If so great if not move on!

 If you have them could you be successful? Would you be successful?

 I want you to grow and I want you to be successful.

 I know if you possess these three traits looking for mentors have a great attitude and in the ability to commit you will be hugely successful!

 Thank you

Ron Laker




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