Gentle Giant Moving Company Races Up Boston Place!

Gentle Giant Moving Company, an award winning Boston moving company, will apply their 34 years of experience running stairs on the job to the American Lung Association’s “Race Up Boston Place” Fight For Air Climb this Saturday, February 1st at 8am inside One Boston Place (BNY Mellon Center at One Boston Place, 201 Washington Street, Boston, MA). Fight for Air Climbs take place in cities across the country in skyscrapers, stadiums, and arenas and are unique fundraising events for the American Lung Association.

This unique “vertical road race” challenges teams of all types, including firefighters and EMTs to raise awareness and funds for the Lung Association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. The more than century-old charity hopes to raise close to $400,000 at the Race Up Boston Place event this year to help fund research to treat, prevent, and cure lung diseases and support efforts including clean air and tobacco control advocacy; asthma education for families and schools; and smoking prevention and cessation services.

Since 2007, Gentle Giant Moving Company has assembled record setting teams consisting of employees of all ages and backgrounds ranging from movers, to salespeople, and department managers. This year, the local and long distance moving company has assembled a nine person team that has already over 50% of their $1000 fundraising goal. Gentle Giant Marketing Specialist and Race Team Captain Niles Kuronen is proud to help contribute this amount to the nearly $10,000 the company has raised for the American Lung Association over the past six years.

“At Gentle Giant Moving Company, our employees care a lot about health and fitness, community involvement, and blasting up stairs,” explains Kuronen, “which is why we love being involved with the Race Up Boston Place stair climb.”

Gentle Giant has a slight advantage at the Race Up Boston Place, because running stairs has been at the core of the company’s culture ever since Founder and CEO Larry O’Toole created the tradition of taking every new hire to the Harvard Stadium to run the stairs of all 37 sections at the Stadium.

This Saturday on race day, each team member will run up all 789 stairs of the 41 story building as fast as they can. The top five individual times from each team will comprise the team’s total time. If Gentle Giant records the fastest team time this year, it will mark the 8th year in a row they have finished as the fastest overall team. At the end of the 2013 Race Up Boston Place, Gentle Giant recorded the fastest team time and the top individual male time.

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Hillary Saeger

This month on the “Moving On” Gentle Giant Alumni Bio Blog, we are featuring multiple medal winning rower and former Packing & Prepping Specialist Hillary Saeger, who worked out of Gentle Giant’s Headquarters in Boston.

LIFE AT GENTLE GIANT

Hillary crushing the erg at the C.R.A.S.H.-B. World Indoor Rowing Championships

How you heard about Gentle Giant? I heard about GG through [Gentle Giant Founder & CEO] Larry O’Toole, who is my (favorite) uncle.

Date started/Date ended: I started in 2007 ended in 2008. During my time at Gentle Giant, I was part of the Pack & Prep crew. It was our job to make sure residences were all packed up before the big move day.

Locations/Regions worked out of: Gentle Giant Headquarters in Somerville, MA

Favorite Giants to work with: I worked with many different people on the job each day and each had a different background and interesting stories to tell about themselves.

Most challenging job: I always thought the most challenging jobs were in apartments with very little space on the top floor with lots of valuable things. It was essential for our pack crews to be flexible and creative in packing places like that to make sure everything was prepared properly and safely.

Favorite part of Gentle Giant: For me, meeting new people on the job with the crew and the people I would be packing for was my favorite part of my time at Gentle Giant. Going somewhere new and seeing different and unique places was interesting to me.

LIFE AFTER GENTLE GIANT

Your career now: I worked in finance at MIT for a while, and now I coach rowing to High School boys

Hillary (far right) representing Gentle Giant Moving Company at the 2011 World Rowing Championships

How did working at Gentle Giant help you develop personally and professionally? Working with different people almost every day at Gentle Giant helped me learn how to work well with various personalities in a challenging environment. I also learned how to deal with customers during a period that can be stressful for them as they move.

Countries/Landmarks/Attractions traveled to: I have been to many countries in Europe and have recently traveled to South Korea.

Hobbies/Sports Played/Interests: I have been on the US Rowing National Team 4 times. I have been in the Lightweight Women’s Quad in Poland in 2009, Slovenia in 2011, Bulgaria in 2012 and South Korea in 2013. I have won bronze in 2009 and 2011 and have won silver in 2013. I am continually training to one day making it to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Gentle Giant Moving Company and the Boston Bruins Deliver the Goods!

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This gallery contains 12 photos.

Throughout this past holiday season, Boston moving company Gentle Giant Moving Company again joined the entire Boston Bruins roster for the Boston Bruins annual Holiday Toy Delivery. The first part of this year’s event took place at the Target in Everett, MA on …

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Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Jim Ladio

Jim (4th from the Left) with his lightning fast Syracuse University Crew Team

For this month’s “Moving On” Alumni Bio, we’re going to find out more about Jim Ladio, one of the most fun loving young Giants we’ve worked with in recent years.

How You Heard About Gentle Giant - “From (incredibly handsome Gentle Giant Moving Company legend) Mitch Curtis! We were playing softball and Mitch mentioned Gentle Giant to me while he was hurling softballs in his trademark short shorts. Then, when I came back from a wilderness certification and self-sufficiency program in Washington State, he set me up with an interview. If I would have never left my corporate finance desk to become a wild man of the woods, I would have never found GG and I would be less of a human as I stand here now.”

Gentle Giant Tenure - September 2010 – January 2013

Locations Worked Out Of – Somerville, Franklin, Marlborough, Acton

Favorite Giants to Work With – “Greg Larson, Jeff Pope, Pat Andrus, Nuno Melo, Tom Travers, and everybody else who would get mad if i didn’t mention their name.”

Most Challenging Job – “It was an average day moving pianos with Pat when we suddenly realized a job had been left off the schedule. We had to get a massive concert grand rental (sitting quietly at another location across town) to Harvard University (back across town in the opposite direction) for an important alumni banquet, and we had about half the time we normally would have needed to get it done. 1 hour and 20 minutes later, we had the 9 footer carefully wedged into the food services elevator at Harvard after Pat pulled the entire thing in by himself, leaving tuna tartar and beef carpaccio scattered on the ground from zooming past the slow-moving caterers. Up it went and out onto the stage with 3 minutes to get tuned and ready. All set after 2 minutes, 1 minute to spare, with no one the wiser!”

Favorite part of Working at GG – “The immensely positive feeling of a day’s hard work… every single day on the trucks.”

Best Score – “The brand new king bed that I sleep on!”

Jim won Allie's heart in Italy by wearing GG gear

LIFE AFTER GENTLE GIANT

Where Traveled To - “2.5 weeks on a whim to Ireland, Germany and Switzerland for one amazing trip. Then, left for Italy for 6 months to volunteer on a 1,200 acre honey, olive oil, and cattle farm in the heart of Tuscany.  http://www.barbiallanuova.it/  Check it out!”

Jobs Had – “From Italy to California, I’m now working with The Organizer Guys http://organizerguys.com/ in the Bay Area, putting the skills I acquired at Gentle Giant to great use.”

What Does Your Future Hold – “I’m hoping to help propel this company to greater heights, which may include developing a mutually beneficial relationship with Gentle Giant’s San Francisco Moving Company Great Giant at the same time.”

How Has Gentle Giant Helped You in Your Career – “I’ve never worked harder in my life. GG pushes excellence, perseverance, and personal growth in their Giants through teamwork and a commitment to providing an elite, customer focused service. Moving furniture is only a part of what Gentle Giant does. They’re in the business of empowering men and women to lead a purpose filled life. The recognition they give for hard, challenging work will do that to you.”

Gentle Giant Moving Co.’s Restoration Team Brings Longfellow to Life!

Gentle Giant Moving Company‘s Restoration Team, also known as Gentle Giant Restoration, recently completed a job that will have fans of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow jumping for joy. As you can see from the video, when the Longfellow bust came in, it was in rough shape and in dire need of restoration. GGR Master Restorer Rob Parmenter spent weeks working on this, and we have the time lapse video documenting his hard work.

Check it out here and make sure to turn on/up your speakers to hear the cool soundtrack:


 

Gentle Giant Moving Company and the American Cancer Society

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This gallery contains 9 photos.

Gentle Giant Moving Company‘s New York team recently entered into a partnership with the American Cancer Society to help with their enormous Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Brooklyn. Gentle Giant helped load several hundred boxes filled with clothing, …

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The Hidden Costs of Hiring an Unlicensed Contractor

 

Moving has been in Bobby's family for generations

Allston Piano Movers Founder Bobby Franklin has been in the service industry his entire life, and has heard all the horror stories from people that got burned trying to save a few dollars by hiring an unlicensed, disreputable contractor to work in their homes. When Allston Piano joined the Gentle Giant Moving Company family a few years ago, Bobby shared with us a lot of the wisdom he has collected over the years, and now we’d like to share it with you:

As the economy continues to languish, many businesses are struggling to endure the increasing cost of overhead caused by added OSHA regulations, IRS policies, healthcare and insurance costs, worker’s compensation claims, and more. While the impact on small businesses is apparent, how does this affect the consumer? With most people using the internet as their first (and most times only) choice in locating a business in the service industry, it is easy to fall prey to less than legitimate companies. Anyone can set up a slick looking web site making all kinds of promises and claims about being licensed and insured. Often times, the consumer is only looking for the lowest price, which these uninsured outfits usually provide. However, what is not commonly known is that hiring a company working “off the books” puts the consumer at risk from many different angles.

For starters, a company operating in the underground economy will not have proper insurance coverage. This means that not only will your family and possessions not be protected, but you may also be held liable in the event a worker is injured while working for you.

The Allston Piano Movers Team

When hiring a company to work in your home, consider the level of ethics they have. Reputable companies that take care of their employees do so that the employees will in turn take care of the customer. Doing this often garners repeat business and the almighty referral, which are the lifeblood of service providers. On the other hand, an underground, unlicensed contractor most likely will not be giving their workers proper medical, worker’s compensation, and most of the benefits that a legitimate company would provide. If taxes are withheld at all, they may not even be turned over to the government. In most cases these companies pay their employees in cash.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF 

RESEARCH: Check to see if the company you are looking into hiring has a land telephone line with a local exchange. Also, ensure that they have a legitimate address in the state where they are advertising their services. Many disreputable companies will simply register a remote UPS Mailbox Store address in order to get a local address. Or they will also sometimes just use a friend’s address. Want to feel like the FBI cracking down on a shady business? Use Google Maps to zoom in on the address provided to check out whether the location is what it’s being advertised as.

DUE DILIGENCE: Ask for a certificate of insurance to be sent to you directly from their insurance provider. Once you receive this, call the provider to verify that all coverage is active and applicable to your state. Also, check to see if their trucks are registered in the state they claim to be located in. If their vehicles are registered out of state and they are claiming to be licensed in the state they are doing work in they are almost assuredly working illegally.

CHOOSE WISELY: When you hire a company that is doing business this way you are endangering not only yourself, but you are harming legitimate, law abiding businesses, their honest employees, and your fellow taxpayers. The rules were meant for everyone and people who chose to work in outside of them should not be rewarded. By supporting your local, legitimate business community, you are ensuring its long term stability and health.

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Andrew Burd

For Gentle Giant Moving Company Founder & CEO Larry O’Toole, one of the greatest parts of his job is hearing from former Giants that not only enjoyed their tenure at GG, but used the experience to further their personal and professional development. Below is a letter sent to Larry a little while back from Andy Burd, a talented young man that spent 5 years with the Giants, that highlights how his time as a mover helped him stand out in a sea of qualified job applicants.

Andy Burd (Bottom Right) stands with his crew after another successful onload.

Dear Larry, 

I have been meaning to write this for some time.  You may or may not remember me, but this is Andy Burd, who worked out of Acton and sometimes Framingham (now Marlborough) seasonally (summers and some winters) for 5 years from ages of 16 to 21.  Now that I have graduated from college and working in Hartford, CT at an investment management firm, I wanted to share with you my nostalgia of working at your exceptional company.

On graduation day after college I was faced with a difficult decision.

Without a job, I seriously entertained the thought of asking to come back to Gentle Giant.  After much thought, I opted not to, because I knew that as soon as I put on that purple shirt that I would quickly forget about seeking the job I had dreamed for, and get caught up in doing what I have come to love: moving furniture.  Having made the decision to part ways, I hit the road looking for jobs.  I won’t bore you with the details, but the journey was long.  However, in personal reflection over those months, I had to find my ‘worth’: what can I bring to a company that few others can?

The answers all came from my time at Gentle Giant.  Working alongside Jay Brooks, Craig Averett and Joe Johnson (among an army of others) during those early years of ‘adulthood’ made me: productive, efficient, dedicated, and humbled.  There is no better feeling than driving home tired as hell knowing that I did everything I possibly could to make a customer’s day better.  Tip or not (some would disagree), I felt no better satisfaction than genuine, sincere praise from a previously skeptical customer that was blown away by Gentle Giant.

While I didn’t have a fancy internship throughout high school or college, the experience of being one of the youngest ever crew chiefs at Gentle Giant and having the opportunity to lead was a formidable experience I won’t see again for many years.

I have been working at my current firm for 10 months and have recently been promoted to a position I don’t think I’m even qualified for, but people have been impressed by a strong work ethic, servant’s heart, and “go get ‘em” attitude that the Gentle Giant culture promotes.  Hurry but don’t rush.  I credit this completely to the culture you have created of an honest, hard day’s work.  Thank you..

- Andy Burd

Since sending this letter, Andy has moved to NYC and now works as an equity analyst at an investment bank. His view on Gentle Giant hasn’t changed at all since the letter and he still credits his GG experience for the success he’s had in his career.

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Jake Zoller

Jake Zoller in a rare moment without furniture or a box in his hands

You can gauge the impact a former Giant had on the company by people’s reactions when their name comes up on the trucks or in the office. When the name “Jake Zoller” is mentioned around Gentle Giant Moving Company, everyone’s face lights up as they get ready to share their favorite Jake story. Even those that only worked with Jake once will most certainly have an experience to share. That was the wonderful thing about having Jake as your Crew Chief. Even though his amazing talent as a mover landed him in charge of all the toughest jobs, the Giants on the crew never minded because Jake had a way of making the challenge fun. Oddly enough, Giants would jump at the chance to carry with Jake a 300 pound armoire up four flights of stairs so you could listen to one of his epic anecdotes that blended reality, MAD Magazine, and his wild imagination into one beautifully hilarious yarn.

Like many other Gentle Giant legends, Jake initially found out about the job opportunity at GG through his connections in the rowing community. Additionally, Jake had a friend already working at Gentle Giant that highly recommended the company for several reasons. What attracted Jake the most was the flexible schedule, good pay, and good, hard work.

Jake’s previous experience working on a farm and other manual labor jobs helped prepare him for his initial role as a mover at Gentle Giant, specifically the long hours and heavily physical tasks. His first year at Gentle Giant was spent learning the fundamentals of moving, working with new and experienced people as a cohesive team, and watching experienced Crew Chiefs run the job, manage the crew, and make the customer feel at ease. Jake explains how impressed he was with “these Master Crew Chiefs, like Tom Travers, who were able to seamlessly work hard, keep the mood light, and get the job done.” Jake was a quick learner and was soon among the ranks of these Master Crew Chiefs, running multiple day/truck jobs filled with priceless art, delicate furniture, and whatever else came his way.

Jake’s unparalleled rapport with his customers garnered him one of the best “scores” in Gentle Giant Moving Company history. One multi-repeat VIP customer was so blown away by Jake’s moving talents and positive attitude that when she needed to move from the USA to Israel, she wouldn’t trust anyone else to handle her belongings. This customer paid to fly Jake and his crew from Boston to Israel so that her move. After they executed the move flawlessly, the crew was rewarded by the customer with a 10+ day trip around Israel and Jordan!

Jake loves a challenging hike or move. One tough move in particular included moving several extremely heavy steel balls from an artists home.

After Jake moved on his career at Gentle Giant, a lot of the skills he learned here helped him find success in other fields. Specifically, “the ability to see the bigger picture and follow through while keeping the mood light” helped Jake in his recent stint as a troubleshooter/mechanic/ice road driver in Alaska. These same virtues will also help him as he embarks on his new venture as an apprentice to a ship’s captain on the Arctic Ocean.

Clearly, Jake has an affinity for challenging work that most people wouldn’t dare get involved in, but that is just the type of guy he is. He faces every challenge with an infectious optimism and positivity, and never quits until the job is done. He undoubtedly left an impression on all the people who worked for him at Gentle Giant, as many of Gentle Giant’s current Crew Chief’s exhibit the charisma and hustle that Jake demonstrated every day on the trucks and in the office.

Outside of his adventurous careers, Jake enjoys travelling, running, hiking, exploring, and writing. Always the nomad, Jake currently does not live anywhere specifically. “For the last couple of years I’ve worked a 3 week on/3 week off schedule in Northern Alaska. During my 3 weeks off, I travel to different countries. Right now I have a year off, so I plan to travel.”

This recent excursion brought Jake back to Gentle Giant Headquarters in Somerville, MA, and it was awesome to see him. He is still as hilarious and intense as he was while on the trucks!

Meet the Giants: Southern New England Regional Manager Tim Inman

Tim Inman takes a rare break from running boxes and furniture to pose for a photo.

Tim Inman, Gentle Giant Moving Company’s current Southern New England Regional Manager, is a man with moving in his soul. Born into a family of movers, Tim started excelling in the relocation arts at an early age as he worked closely with his father and brother Pat Inman (Gentle Giant’s current Director of Operations) at their family owned moving company starting in 1984. After Tim and Pat sold the business in 1997, Gentle Giant Founder Larry O’Toole jumped at the chance to recruit these master movers.

At first, Tim was immediately impressed by how smoothly such a rapidly expanding local and long distance moving company functioned every day. Additionally, Tim felt that “the teamwork the movers displayed, as well as Gentle Giant’s commitment to individual growth” truly separated them from every other moving company he had known throughout his career in the industry. Tim even recalls a poignant situation in which his crew was tasked with moving a difficult piece on a job within his first year at GG. “I never knew they made an Olympic-sized Jacuzzi! At first I wasn’t even sure it was possible to move, but the experienced crew I was with thought nothing of it. We wound up putting it on its side on a dolly, moving it carefully over a trail of Masonite to the truck. At that moment I knew I was working at a company of talented people that never shy away from a challenge.”

After having several situations like this, where he was continuously impressed with everyone he met at Gentle Giant (both on the trucks and in the office); Tim felt that GG was a place he could make a career at. What it boiled down to was “the people I was working with, the pride I felt after a job well done, the advancement opportunities, and the company culture made me want to stay and contribute” explains Tim.

Throughout his career at Gentle Giant, Tim has managed several branch offices throughout Massachusetts, and has hit a stride in his current role as Southern New England Regional Manager, which has him mentoring up and coming managers looking to seize opportunities with Gentle Giant in New England and across the country. By joining the company in the mid-late 90’s, Tim has been able to witness and support the tremendous growth Gentle Giant has undergone. Tim feels that secret to the company’s success has always been “absolute commitment to customer service and having co-workers that expect the best from you, every day.”

tim and crew

Tim (center) and his crew with another satisfied Gentle Giant customer after a job well done.

To this day, Tim is always on the lookout for new talent that can positively impact the Gentle Giant team, and has personally recruited many of GG’s top movers. However, before these recruits come in for an interview, Tim is always sure to give them a realistic idea of what working at Gentle Giant is really like, for he understands that other moving companies do not expect their movers to run, be on time, live a healthy lifestyle, and be a consummate professional.

Tim lives in Worcester, MA and lists his hobbies, interests, and passions as his children (Charlie, Johnny, Emily, and Isabella), hiking, ATVs, and the Boston Bruins.