January 13, 2015

We Had a Great Dinner with Connie and Alan Freeman

By Paul Bieber

Who is “We”?: Elaine and I.
Who is “Connie Freeman”?: That’s an easy one… she is Alan’s wife.
OK, who is “Alan Freeman”?: Alan and I worked together for almost 20 years. 
Why should a reader care if I had a great dinner? Well, I had a delicious broiled salmon, but that is not the answer you are looking for. Here’s the story and why it is a good read for everyone in the glass industry.

When Alan walked off the Ark, Noah said, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Alan replied, “A Glass Man”. And so it became. Alan has worked in the glass industry for more than 70 years. If I told you exactly how far over he would break my arm, and he has the strength to do it. We worked together at Floral Glass. He was the general manager of our company in Connecticut, and we would talk on the phone daily, discussing this quote or that problem, and we would see each other at least once a month for a couple of days.

We had our share of home runs and of disagreements, but looking back, our disagreements were always about a promise or a commitment Alan made to a customer or an employee. Once he had made a commitment, no amount of our discussion could change it. So, at dinner on Sunday, we were talking about the acquisition of our company by a conglomerate and how he had felt about it. He replied that it went poorly for him (the same as for me), but when he left, he had one thing that couldn’t be changed or taken back: his integrity. 

It was the single most important concept he had in the glass business. His customers knew it; his employees knew it; and deep down, even though we would yell at each other, I knew it. 

What a wonderful quality to have. If more people had it—if more companies had it—we would be in a wonderful place.

Here’s to you, Alan.