Atlanta, US – Aug 2020
I grew up in southern California. I have been in the HVAC industry my entire life, so I am a third-generation pipe fitter by trade. I moved around with our family in the US from California, around the west coast with my family for work. We ended up moving to Hawaii to build a big research facility there for the university of Hawaii in 2001.
Sorry I have my daughter with me. We are all doing the whole Covid thing here so I may be a little bit distracted and I apologize. My help is coming here shortly. Anyways we went out there to Hawaii for a company and we ended up staying out there my entire adult life for the most part. So, I have grown up around the HVAC industry, travelled with my family and I have been doing it since I was 18 so that is all I know. But it has been a great industry to work for.
Now I am based in Atlanta. It is very different here obviously from Hawaii. But it definitely has the positives. It has nice lakes here. We are close to the ocean and Florida. The cost of living is cheaper. I am a senior regional sales engineer in LG. Senior just means that I am old, I guess. I am just kidding. So, I oversee the sales for LG ́s VRF HVAC equipment for the state of Georgia and north and central Florida right now.
Hopefully that territory will be growing for me in the near future. Right now, with this Covid thing, for me it is actually a bit crazier than what you would think. My wife works for the CDC. She is one of the three people on what they call the air team. If they see a Covid case, she manages the doctors, the health departments, anything international. If there is someone like say with Ebola or Zika, you know any of these measles cases, any cases that these people, when they try to fly or they are on cruise ships she would be part of the link between all these people to put them on restrictions and not allow them to fly. So, she gets these calls.
I live this firsthand, so I saw this coming before this flared up. She is on call and she lives it 24/7. Now my whole world turned upside down. I’m used to working remotely since, at LG, the sales engineers work from home and then we travel to the different locations. Before, I was used to the kids going to school, my wife going to her CDC office, and then I would be home and doing my own thing, no distractions, travelling when necessary and all of that. They would come in the evening, have dinner and go to bed.
The percentage in time spent together increased tremendously, and I had to reinvent the way I work, basically. Still today it is a challenge. I’m sure my situation is not unique but, in my home, here, we are on the side of the very conservative, cautionary, with the whole Covid-19 issue. So, I understand everything that is going on. We probably go above and beyond what a normal person does, so it is very difficult. When you are an outside salesperson…
And this is one of the most difficult things for me. You see, I enjoy people, I enjoy social interaction, talking to customers, providing solutions, seeing what issues they have and creating and designing systems, creating relationships, maintaining those relationships.
So, when you are siloed at home and can’t leave your house and all these restrictions, to me it was very difficult, almost depressing in a way since I’m an extrovert, I like to be out. Some people, they love this, I crave interaction, I’m asking how they are coping with this… Some clients don’t like video, some like conferences, some others prefer face to face interactions, but I think people started using this platform and kinda overused them and some people are burned…
Some colleagues said once, “you know what, we are not having any more of these “Zoom meetings”because it was day after day after day. It’s just like an email. Send a bunch of emails and wait for a response. It’s easier to set these virtual meetings then to really set up a face to face one.
One sad thing that I got to hear is that my son had a survey in high school, and they were asking him about meal plans, and internet access. There was a certain reality that hit me. Maybe it is ignorance on my part, but the reality is that there are some families out there that are having a hard time getting internet connection, the basics. Being disconnected from the internet these days is being disconnected from the world, and that’s very sad…
I am with my wife sitting right next to me 24/7. I know many people out there think this is a hoax or have problems wearing masks. I get that and that’s fine but unless we protect each other we are going to continue to see increases in this virus and in the future it may be a lot harder down the road than what we think it’s going to be.
I want to be positive and make sure that my kids also are positive about this situation. I must keep my wife positive because she is dealing with a lot of depressing situations and she has a lot of stress to deal with so I’ve got to keep her motivated and positive to keep us safe and make sure she is doing the right things.
There are still a lot of opportunities out there, we still see a lot of work happening, but you never know, it could turn in a downward spiral quick. The stock markets are very volatile, someone sneezes the wrong way and the economy falls down.
On a positive note, I have convinced mom and dad to move to Georgia. They retired in Hawaii and they are actually landing here today so we are excited about that, it is really positive for our family.
They have a motor home so they plan on going to various lakes in the region and they will stay at camping spots for the summer and then they have a location where they’ll be staying month to month until their house is built. They bought a piece of property next to the lake and they are building a brand-new house on the lake which will be LGVRF for sure.