Thursday, September 04, 2008

40 Years and Counting

Sieg (left) and Al Pedde in an advertising photo taken in 1976 or so

It was 40 years ago today, on September 4th, 1968, that my brother and I started doing deliveries for clients in London, Ontario; he in his 1964 Volkswagen and I in my 1957 Volkswagen. I had started doing deliveries for select clients during the summer after my first year at the University of Western Ontario because I couldn't find a real job. When it seemed clear to me that there was a real business opportunity in becoming London's first messenger/courier service, I asked my brother Alfred to join me as partner. I bought out Al's interest in 1985, but I'm still here.

I could write a book about our experiences at Helix Courier. Maybe I will someday. We have had adventures aplenty over the years, enough to fill many seasons of a TV series based on our company. I even have a pitch ready. If you are a TV producer and want to talk, contact me. Think along the lines of an ensemble cast playing constant characters (management, operations, and drivers) at the company, with guest stars every week helping to tell the story of what happens between the time that a delivery order is called in and the document or parcel actually arrives at its destination. What was in the parcel? What news, good or bad, was relayed in the document? Think of the best and worst circumstances that might arise -- we've experienced them all.

I have never regretted dropping out of school to operate a courier company. It has been very good to me. I have an excellent staff and crew of drivers to whom I am eternally grateful. Because of them, I have the time to do other things like develop property in Panama and engage in other projects that attract my interest.

It has been a wild ride. I'm looking forward to the next 40 years.

16 comments:

  1. That's cool. Congrats on 40 years!

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  2. Thanks, Freddie: The best is yet to come, right?

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  3. Your success stories from years ago are very inspirational. It gives me hope that I'll be able to do similar things someday.

    Do you think things have changed, and it's not as easy to go out on your own? Or is it just that it's more convenient to just get a job? Or, is it just that a small fraction of people actually take the leap into business, and things are exactly the same as before?

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  4. Thanks, Trooper. I walked out of my personal office into the recption area late yesterday afternoon to find that the area had been decorated, there was a large birthday cake on display and many platters of delicious munchies for staff and drivers and suppliers and anyone who had been invited to drop in. It was all a surprise to me. The poiint is that recognizing the value of good employees is critical to the success of any business. Finding good employees who are honest and responsible is one of the biggest challenges any business can face. I consider myself very lucky.

    It is easy to start a business. It can be very difficult to make it successful. Many people simply don't want the hassle or the responsibility. I have heard many people complain about the lack of opportunity even as they trip over the same ideas that others seize upon to make millions. Opportunities are everywhere. I have a list of ideas and projects that I will possible never be able to get through because I don't have the time , or the expertise, or haven't found the right partners to work with me, or whatever. Some of these ideas involve programming and web design. That is part of what you do, isn't it?

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  5. Sorry about all the typos in the last comment. Too many distractions here today...

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  6. Thanks, motherpie! I wonder how many pounds I would have to lose to look like that again? Depressing thought.

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  7. Awesome!
    It's great to be a part of something that becomes an institution.
    Even better that it got you out of government school before it had a chance to addle your brain!
    Here's to many more prosperous decades.

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  8. Thanks, Ted. Chances are, 40 years from now, if I'm still able, I will be sitting behind a desk and taking on all matter of interesting projects. I am having far too much fun to ever retire.

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  9. Cool picture and congratulations!

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  10. Wow - great story and what a cool photograph! Funny how things turn out, some times. We are blessed not to know the future, actually. That spoils the surprises.

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  11. Thanks luckyzmom and phlegmfatale. And yes, I like surprises, mostly; an optimistic outlook and a certain amount of pragmatism generally helps make it through most ups and downs.

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  12. Love the picture! I can't begin to imagine the stories you could write. LOL!

    40 years! Congrats!

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  13. Thanks, Lady~g. When I am old(er) and grey(er) I might write some of these things down. If I can remember anything by then...

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  14. At first, I thought this was a picture of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid!

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  15. That was a great movie, Bellezza. Too bad about Paul Newman's passing this week. He was one Hollywood guy who still had a modicum of class.

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