Let's not kid ourselves. Go to work and hear that training is on the day's schedule and you probably won't do somersaults and walk around with a wide smile.
But can't we make it more than the necessary evil we usually think of when it's mentioned? Muhammad Ali had the right idea. When someone asked the former heavyweight boxing champion about his routine and training regimen, he said, “I hated every minute of training. But I said, don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
Okay, so that's extreme. We don't exactly “suffer” through training like a boxer does. And our training won't result in a heavyweight title and world acclaim. But proper training allows us to be the best at what we do. So when I heard that AmeriPolish was holding training for certified polishers and applicators just a few miles from the office, I paid a visit to see what it was all about.
People I talked to during a coffee break said the industry is humming. “Business is good right now,” said Dan Moisan. He's been doing concrete surface work for light commercial, retail, and government jobs, including U.S. Air Force bases and hangars. Moisan, and others such as Scott Simpson and Jerry Merchut, said people skills can be the hardest part of the job.
The applicator is the middleman between the salesman and customer. When the salesman over-promises a job, the task of telling the customer the truth—that no matter how good a job he does, the floor won't be perfect—falls to the applicator.
“Sometimes we have to go in and resell the job,” said Moisan. Simpson added, “Sometimes the floor is like a corncob.”
The training left no stone unturned. No detail was too small. In explaining how to prep a floor, Peter Wagner, AmeriPolish's vice president of marketing who conducted the training, explained, “Adhesive tape is acidic. It may cause an edge mark.” Or, “When you get as old as me, it's worth spending good money on knee pads.”
Equipment and techniques have come a long way. “The industry has changed a lot,” Wagner told the group. “You guys would laugh if you saw the concrete polishing industry years ago. It was an absolute joke.”
Speaking of which, there also was room for levity. Wagner explained to make sure your employees have clean criminal records if working at a prison. In one case, a worker was wanted by authorities and didn't return from the job. Well, not exactly. This guy was working on the floor of a female prison.