Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – John Lund

JOHN LUND FAST FACTS

Gentle Giant Moving Company Career: 1997-2005

  • “I’m not sure if I ever ‘ended’ my career as I often think about showing up at the yard negotiating my way onto a job.”

 

Offices: Somerville, Beverly, and Wilmington

  • gentle giant moving

    John and Ian having fun on the job

    “In Somerville I worked with legends such as Mike Fratus, Steve Hart, Tom Travers, Jim Chidiac along with my Northeastern University rowing buddies such as John Brokars, Dan Walsh, and Ian Coveny.”

  • “In Beverly I mostly worked with another NU rower, Brian Eatough. He was the Office Manager at the time. Brian taught me a lot about leadership and importance of following a process.”
  • “In Wilmington I worked with Jon Powell. The first time I met Jon P was actually at CRASH B’s before I even started working at Gentle Giant. We were competing against each other in the mixed 1,000 meter race (a male and female rower from a college would row 1,000 meters each, their scores were averaged, and that decided the winning time). I’m 6’ 5” and usually don’t feel small around most people but when I saw Jon (at 6’ 7” and 245lbs) approach the erg, I thought to myself, “Come on, this isn’t professional wrestling this is supposed to be rowing! Who let this guy in?” Jon (who was representing UMass) won. I got third.”

John wore his lucky GG tank top at the Finnish Indoor Rowing Championships in 2009

 

How he got started: Lund was rowing at Northeastern and had several friends who were already working at Gentle Giant. When he mentioned that he was looking for a summer job they suggested that I meet with GG Founder and CEO Larry O’Toole. When they met, Larry promised John that working as a mover at GG will make you a better rower, and that it is essentially getting paid for working out. To this day, John is “still waiting for a paycheck for all the time I spent on an erg!”

John’s favorite part of working at the Giant was the tough jobs he was on with other motivated athletes. “During my first summer at GG, it wasn’t uncommon to have a crew with 3 rowers go out and do a 4th floor no elevator to a 4th floor no elevator job. The bigger and heavier the furniture was, the more we enjoyed the challenge of getting everything moved without any damage. When the job was over and everything went as planned, high fives were the norm.”

When talking about his first year, John says “I was sore. My first day at GG was 18 hours. When we finally got back to the yard at midnight I still had a 30-minute bike ride home. The next morning I had a 6:00 start. By the end of my second day my entire body was aching and I thought, ‘This is going to be a long summer…but I started this and I’ll finish it.’ My body became used to the work and I really began to enjoy it. There is a blissful, masochistic element to the job that any athlete should appreciate.”

“I have really fond memories of my first summer at GG. Everything about it was just so cool. I’m not sure if it was because of my age, or because I loved Boston in the summer, or because I was able to hang out with my friends all day…or maybe it was a combination of those things. In any case, I still remember those summer days of driving back to the yard after getting a big tip on a job, blasting a cheesy song from the inadequate truck radio, and wondering what I would do that night. Those were definitely good times.”

“I’m not sure if anything really prepared me to be a successful Giant. I’ve always believed that with the right attitude the right result will follow. I’ve always been ‘goal oriented’ and moving furniture suits such a personality. Moving is very simple in principle:

  1. Put things on truck until the customer says, ‘Stop’
  2. Drive to customer’s new home
  3. Take everything off the truck and put it where customer says
  4. Go home.

The goal becomes to do each of those things as well as possible (ie, don’t break customer’s belongings; smile; practice good hygiene; make new Giants feel like they’re part of something special, etc).”

For John, the approach was always the same: “This stuff is going into that house/apartment/basement/attic even if it kills me. I don’t think there is a Giant who hasn’t lost some skin on tight doorways in an attempt to protect a wall and a piece of furniture.”

The greatest lesson John learned while at Gentle Giant was to “Stay positive and never quit!” He also has advice to current Giants pursuing their own career goals: “Identify where you want to be. Give yourself a no nonsense assessment of where you are today. Create a sensible plan to get from where you are today to where you want to be. Stay positive and never quit.”

John takes his own advice, as he is currently a VP at a technology company in Austria. “I always wanted to work abroad in international business and I’ve been doing so since I left the Giants in 2005.”

Outside of work, John has a wide spectrum of extra-curricular activities he enjoys, including full contact K1 kickboxing, Wife Carrying (2005 US champ and 2010 UK champ ), rowing (gold medal at 2009 Masters World Rowing Championships), 2009 World Air Guitar Championships, filmmaking, screenwriting, and “throwing weights around like they’re toys.”

Since leaving GG John has lived in Tampere, Finland, London, UK and is currently living in Dornbirn, Austria where he can see the Alps from his balcony. “I’m not sure where I’ll go next but I’m not very good at staying in one place for too long.”

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