Awards & Engraving

April '18

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A&E APRIL 2018 • a-e-mag.com 33 A&E: When did you get your start in the awards and engraving industry? Spearman: I started in the awards busi- ness in 1978 at Q's Trophy Cabin in Boise, Idaho. I used to travel the Pacific Northwest for them selling bowling trophies to the leagues in the bowling alleys across five states. All the time we were a PDU cus- tomer buying our parts. There were three of Q's Trophy Cabin guys hired over the years by PDU. Two other Road Warriors, Mike Swanson and Tom Schoonover, were hired in different territories before it was my time. I worked with Tom and Mike at PDU, but they have both retired now. After retail, the only wholesale com- pany I have been on the road with has been PDU. I started with PDU on the road in Arizona, New Mexico, Colo- rado, Oklahoma, and Kansas in 1986 then transferred to my current territory, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma in 1990. August 2017 was 31 years on the road for PDU, and I hope to work five more before even thinking about retirement. I want to personally thank Myron and Dennis Funk at PDU for giving me the opportunity to work at a job I love and for such a great company for half my life. A&E: On average, how long were you on the road? Spearman: Early in my career, (working the) Arizona territory, I was out three full weeks on the road before returning home. I have been lucky to live in major markets like Phoenix and Dallas, so there is a good mix of local customers. I'm now in Dallas where I can be at home at night at least one and half full weeks a month. A&E: How many customers or potential customers do you see while on the road? Spearman: I go into about 800 shops a year. On road trips, I try to be about as far out as I travel by Wednesday night and work my way back home. I make big loops around the states covering my territory. A&E: What is the best part about traveling? Spearman: The best part is visiting my customers that have become friends over the years, helping them grow their business. When you do this for over 30 years ... you see second and third generations taking over the business. A&E: What are some of your favorite stories? Spearman: (My) favorite stories are the times I got to spend with some Road War- rior icons after work, or at shows, just sit- ting around listening to the stories from Sig Johnson, Wayne McKnight, Carol Duke, (and so many more). A&E: What's the most challenging part of traveling? Spearman: The most challenging has always been being away from home. I am lucky now as I am home most weekends. I have missed a few life highlights over the years being on the road. A&E: Can you share some of your learning experiences? Spearman: I learned that customer service and honesty is all that sets us apart from the other salespeople. If you keep these at the top of your game, you can enjoy a long successful career. ROAD WARRIORS Jim Spearman, PDU CAT (formerly PDU) When A&E put out a call for submissions for Road Warriors — the men and women who have and still do put in countless hours on the road visiting customers and building this industry into what it is today — the response we received was phenomenal. We feel these Road Warriors each deserve some recognition, so throughout 2018, we are featuring these people in various issues. This month, learn a little bit about Jim Spearman with PDU CAT. Jim visiting Custom Built Awards in Humble, Texas for its 25th anniversary party in 2004. ALL IMAGES COURTESY JIM SPEARMAN Jim working the trade show scene. Pictured in the image on the left is Bill Vitto, PDU CAT, and Jim Spearman. Jim says of Clarissa and Jeff Karnuth, AAI Awards in Plano, Texas, "Great customers, great friends." A&E

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