At Gentle Giant, we recognize that a few times in every generation, there are individuals born with the Moving gene. When we are lucky enough to have one of these magnificent people in our employ, we do everything it takes to keep their talents here at Gentle Giant. The Director of Operations, Pat Inman, is one such individual who comes from a family filled with the Moving gene.
“I had started moving furniture when I was 15 years old,” Inman recalls. “A builder by trade, my father began delivering retail furniture during a downturn in the economy and I helped him on the weekends.”
Papa Inman’s delivery service was eventually taken over by Pat and his brother Tim, who developed this business into a ten truck operation. By being in the moving industry, Pat had met the Gentle Giant owners, Larry O’Toole and John Pacocha, a few times at the Mass. Movers Association meetings. Pat was struck by the fact that they were always by far the biggest guys there, yet he noted how unassuming they were. Pat also remembers from those early days that “they would listen and were interested in what others had to say.”
After the brothers closed their moving business after 10 years, Tim came to work at Gentle Giant while Pat went to work at United Van Lines to work for “the big guys.” However, it would not last, for Pat found that his values did not line up with the values of that organization. Tim kept insisting to Pat that GG was a different, remarkable place to work and that he should meet with Larry to discuss opportunities. He eventually did take the meeting, which ended in a handshake and a professional relationship that has lasted over 15 years.
When Pat came on board, he remembers feeling fully prepared for Gentle Giant’s culture of working together to get things done because he had played on many ice hockey and baseball teams. Pat adds that he felt his “experience at college helped me to better understand our younger work force and the point they are at in their lives.”
Like many other people at our company, Pat knew on his first day that Gentle Giant was a good place for him to make a career. “I worked with Rob Leaver out of the old Tewksbury office. The job was underestimated (customer did not present all of the information ahead of time) and we were short manpower and truck space because of it. I liked how Rob stayed calm, how he handled the customer and the pace he set to get the job done both quickly and flawlessly with no whining, complaining or finger pointing.
Looking back upon his career, Pat can remember all of the interesting jobs, people, and situations he was involved with. During one of the wildest moves he was ever on, the crew had to move a huge two-story children’s playhouse down a hill and across a yard. This playhouse had real drywall and was wired with cable tv and even internet access. The crew had the crane but it could not access the playhouse. “We ended up moving it similar to how the great pyramid blocks were moved. We got a bunch of large PVC pipes and rolled the house on them. We continuously rotated the pipes from the back to the front as the house rolled over them.”
Working with great people dedicated to delivering superior service as a team was one of the several factors that blew Pat away from the start. Unlike the larger, corporate moving companies he had experience with before, Pat loved that Gentle Giant provided their employees with the tools and the freedom to make mistakes in order to ultimately develop the premier moving company.
Gentle Giant helped your career? I have learned a whole new level on how to communicate. Working on the trucks, doing sales, opening offices and managing people at such a caring, employee-concerned company has given me different experiences that I hope I can use to help Gentle Giant continue to succeed.
During Pat’s tenure at Gentle Giant, Pat has watched the company get much bigger, which has forced them to get more formal and structured. “The ownership is willing to take risks, try new things, and allows the employees to be creative in order to get to the goal of being the industry leader.”
This management style not only helped shape Pat’s career, but now as the Director of Operations, Pat is the one championing this approach with the hundreds of Giants he oversees. This of course leads to more people embracing the hardworking company culture, stepping up to take on more responsibility within the company, and ensuring that Gentle Giant stays on course to keep growing every year.
Pat also has an exciting life outside of Gentle Giant. In addition to reading, fishing, marathon running, and exercising, his biggest passion is watching and helping my three kids grow up and participate in school, sports and life in general.