Friday, December 28, 2018

John Fredrick Wood Eulogy

On Christmas day, I lost a great friend and mentor - John Wood.  It has taken me a few days to write this - I just did not know what to say.  Although I knew it was going to happen soon, it just hit me hard.

John Wood was only 78 years old.  A few years ago he had a lung transplant and since then had struggled with health issues.

I first met John when I was early in business.  I had perhaps 20 employees and he had 800.  He was the "big" business in Guelph and I was an upstart.  I wanted to grow my business so I reached out and asked if we could meet.  He graciously agreed.  I recall that I had a list of questions for him.  I wish I had kept the list or could remember it.  I do know, I thought the meeting was worthwhile.

From then on a couple of times per year, I would meet with him.  And occasionally our paths would cross at local charity or business events.  He was always nice and we had excellent rapport.

Our paths crossed again in 2011ish, when he asked me to join the board of Danby.  That meant we saw each other quarterly and I saw John more in action.  He was a detailed person.  He knew the numbers down to the penny.

Shortly after I joined the board, John got sick and resigned the board.  Shortly after that, the CEO of Danby resigned.  I said I could go in and run it for a while.  By then John was sick and mostly I did it so he would not have to worry.  Then the family asked if I could sell it for them.  I asked "for how much" - they told me and I said "fine - I will take it".  So that is how I ended up owning Danby.

Part of what made the transition so smooth was I had been running it for a year.  But part of it was the trust I had in John.  He was an old fashioned fair mined business person.  A handshake is a handshake and a deal is a deal.  And if there is a problem - work it out fairly.

John had a great impact on me.  He had an impact on many people.  People that I did not even know knew him have sent me emails.

I hope some day I can have the same impact on some young entrepreneur as he had on me.


At 8:30 AM, Blogger Firas Shahadi said...

True friends are always a part of our life if not our personality.


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