We Had a Great Dinner with Connie and Alan Freeman
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.
Thank you Paul for the kind words. You know how I feel about you and the words honesty and integrity. At least we know there are two of us. Enjoyed dinner and some old war stories and we must stay in touch.
I am trying to get Alan’s contact information. My boss is Elliot Kracko, he is back in the glass business and would love to chat with Alan. Thanks very much.
Paul – What a lovely message to come home to — that’s my Alan!! and he feels the same about you! We’ll be in touch!
Integrity is highly underrated. I don’t know him personally, but it’s good to hear about Alan Freeman. The evidence is in the relationships you mention with his employees, suppliers and customers.
If any up and coming future glass industry managers would like a tip from an old guy, here it is: turn off those smartphones and have a genuine, honest conversation with the person you want to sell, to buy from, and to employ… that’s step one in building integrity and relationships that will last a lifetime.
Good column, Paul.
Congratulations for such high praise. There is nothing more rewarding than the respect of colleagues for the high virtues of honesty, integrity and trust. That is not surprising to those of us who know you.
Lilli and Vin
Great to hear that Alan is still well. Please give my best wishes to him. I knew him from back in the 70’s, from his days at Floral in CT, and then from the short time he worked at GGI.
Alan is indeed someone who could be relied on and trusted.