It was early 1993 when I first met the Phillips family (minus Bethany, she wasn’t born yet). My wife and parents met Gary’s wife, Kris, and her parents before I met any of the Phillips’s. You see, my parents and Kris’s parents were next-door neighbors. Kris was due to give birth in July to Bethany (who now works as the Raleigh Plumbing Office Admin), and my wife Barbara was due in September to give birth to our son, Robby (who now lives in Wilmington and works in film), adding to Bethany’s sisters, Lauren (Manager of Splash Galleries) and Sarah (mother of a very awesome son, Bryan), and to Robby’s sister, Victoria (who now works as an Office Admin at a local doctor’s office). Kris and Barbara quickly formed a close friendship, so I knew that it was just a matter of time before I became acquainted with Kris’s husband! Well, when that day finally came, I was in no mood to make new friends: I had been working hard all day and I just wanted to drink a cold beer and relax. As luck would have it, the same held true for Gary, so we introduced ourselves, cracked open a cold Milwaukee’s Best, and struck up a friendship right away.
The Beginning of Raleigh Plumbing and Heating
Later that summer, Bethany was a beautiful newborn baby, and Raleigh Plumbing and Heating was starting to take shape. I’ll never forget how I first learned about this company. It was a hot July afternoon, and my mom had brought (a still pregnant) Barbara and our Victoria over for dinner. My parents’ house was on my way home from work, so I arrived a little later. When I did arrive, I was greeted by Kris’s father, Norm. He was working in the yard, and it was always fun to listen to him share a story, so I stopped to chat. While we were chatting, an old blue Chevy pick-up truck pulled up, and my first thought was, “Wow, what a hunk of crap!” Then, I had a second thought: “That’s Gary Phillips in that hunk of crap!” Indeed, it was Gary, cruising in his new company truck, complete with a brand new company, Raleigh Plumbing and Heating! Then I had a third thought: “This guy must be a moron. Who quits their job and starts a new business with a young family and a newborn baby?!” Luckily for Gary (and both of our families), I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“The first Raleigh Plumbing and Heating office was literally a self-storage building right off of the beltline”
I had only known Gary for a few months, not nearly enough time to figure him out, so I just continued to think that he was a moron! The first Raleigh Plumbing and Heating office was literally a self-storage building right off of the beltline, and occasionally after work, I’d stop in and talk with Gary and his plumbers, still thinking the entire time that Gary was just a lunatic with a crappy truck.
How did my opinion about Gary change? Very easily, I just watched Raleigh Plumbing grow and grow. Then, after a few years, Gary invited me to lunch and asked if I would join the team. I agreed without hesitation, and I’ve been here ever since.
The Reason for Raleigh Plumbing’s Success
In my 18 years working here, and knowing Gary even longer than that, I’ve been able to see why Raleigh Plumbing and Heating has been so successful. You see, it’s Gary’s unique problem solving skills that keep him from the moron status that I once attributed to him. It’s his ability to face the fact that he could lose everything tomorrow, but through hard work, he will rebound. It’s his ability to care for those around him, to make sure that no one goes without, to make sure that his employees and their families are safe and secure. It’s his ability to love what he does, who does it for him, and who he does it for. In other words, there’s a very good reason why Raleigh Plumbing and Heating is so successful, and that reason is my little buddy, my big boss, and my dear friend, Gary Phillips.
I am forever grateful for all that Gary has done for me, as are several current and former employees. What do the next 25 years hold for us? Buckle up and let’s find out together!