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.

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Carson Duarte

Shortly after graduating from Boston University in 1999, Carson Converse found herself rowing at Riverside Boat Club, living with Gentle Giant Moving Company employees, and in need of a job. Carson’s roommates encouraged her to apply to Gentle Giant, but she resisted initially because she felt her 5’5 frame was not “Giant” enough to handle the physically demanding aspects required to move furniture on GG’s level. Once her roommates successfully convinced her that her years of rowing and training made her just as strong as any taller Giant, she agreed to interview with Gentle Giant’s Director of Human Resources David Lister, who was thrilled to hire her to work on the trucks.

Carson was all smiles during her time at Gentle Giant Moving Company

Speaking to Carson now, almost 10 years out of the moving industry, she still chuckles while reminiscing about the first job she was on. After completing an extensive training beforehand, she spent a day packing a customer’s house to make sure it was ready for the big move the following day. Little did she know this particular move day would be an 18 hour ordeal that took her up to New Hampshire and back. As she rode her bike back to her home at 2 in the morning after the job, she reflected not on how physically tired she was, but how impressed she was by her Crew Chief that day, the legendary Steve Hart. One of Gentle Giant’s finest Crew Chiefs, Steve had a calm, assertive approach to running a job that showed Carson exactly what it took to take charge and complete a seemingly monumental task, all while laughing and making the crew and customer feel comfortable and engaged.

This is one of the most important lessons that Carson learned while working at GG. While anyone that knows Carson now will find this hard to believe, but she claims that when she first started, she was really shy. However, the combination of working with such charismatic people and the customer-facing nature of the job forced her out of her shell. As she felt more comfortable on the job, with coworkers, and with customers, Carson took on more responsibility at the company and became a Crew Chief.

As a Crew Chief, Carson enjoyed the experience of showing up at the job each morning to see the look on customers faces that read, “This is the ‘Giant’ I hired? How is this petite woman going to muscle my sleeper sofa up four flights of stairs?” This disbelief was soon erased after they saw the strength, hustle, and command Carson displayed as the leader of a well oiled moving machine. One valuable  lesson she learned and then preached at Gentle Giant was “never judge a book by its cover” because “everyone has something to teach.”

Looking back, one of the reasons Carson chose to work for Gentle Giant at this time in her life was the flexibility the job afforded her to pursue her many interests.  It has always been Gentle Giant policy to support employees, which includes allowing movers to take extended time off from work

Carson's husband, longtime Gentle Giant Manager and Trainer Noah Duarte, takes their pup Flynn out for a ride along in the truck.

whenever it is needed with the promise of a job to come back to.  During her tenure, Carson took advantage of this benefit to pursue rowing and traveling, which included several road trips around the US, backpacking in Utah and Costa Rica, two trips to Baja, Mexico, Henley England, New Zealand, and Israel.

After leaving Gentle Giant, Carson attended graduate school at New England School of Art and Design to get a degree in interior design. Once she graduated, Carson went to work in hospitality design, and now focuses specifically on hotels and restaurants. She still relies on the spacial awareness she honed while working at Gentle Giant. “In my work now, it’s important for me to see in my head how furniture will fit in a spot before it is moved there. This saves a tremendous amount of time.”

Today, Carson lives with her husband and longtime Gentle Giant manager and trainer Noah Duarte in Charlemont, MA with their adorable pup Flynn.

A Moving letter from a Mover about Gentle Giant Moving Company

Larry O’Toole, Gentle Giant Founder and CEO

From Larry to You:

We are all very proud of our culture here at Gentle Giant Moving Company, but sometimes as we brag about it we worry “does it really live up to what we’re saying?” We have to be humble and remember that our culture is something that is fragile and could easily be broken or lost.

Eric Jones is a good friend of mine from Andover, MA who has started a wonderful moving company, Adamantine Moving, in Iowa City, Iowa. We have worked with him on a number of interstate moves and he has always loved working with the Giants. Recently he spent two weeks working on the trucks with our movers in Somerville, MA and observing our office staff at work. After his time here he sent a wonderful letter which is heartening to read because it validates that we are succeeding in our quest to build and protect our company culture. Please enjoy Eric’s note below:

 

May 2013

Hi Larry,

Just wanted to write and thank you again for letting me join Gentle Giant for a week and work alongside your guys. I can’t tell you how valuable and fulfilling the experience was for me – I came out of the week tired and sore (next time I need to train for those Harvard stadium runs), but absolutely recharged and excited for the busy season.

I’ve been struggling for the last few years, in typical mid-life crisis fashion, about whether I should stick with moving or try to do something else. There’s lots I like about my job – the teamwork, the pleasure of working hard physically and getting a lot done in a single day, the excitement of adapting to challenges as they come at you, the feeling of self-sufficiency you get from laughing in the face of grimly long days and (occasionally) even longer nights.

The Giants enjoying a nice day of moving in Weston, MA

But it’s also easy for me to feel less than enthusiastic about yet another day on the trucks, moving another two bedroom house across town. ‘Is this what I was meant to do with my life?’ I sometimes think in my darker moments. ‘Moving couches through doorways and getting covered in cat hair?’ At times it feels as though I’ve traveled a long way down a railroad siding that I wasn’t even supposed to be on in the first place; the switch got flipped the wrong way back at some junction eleven years ago, and now here I am, a household mover. Not a bad thing, necessarily, just surprising and strange.

At any rate, that’s where my head’s been the last few years. I mention this just to give you a sense of what it meant for me to come and visit Gentle Giant. I told a number of people at GG, maybe you included, that our little moving business here in Iowa is like a fort in the woods, while Gentle Giant is like a mansion or a 27-story apartment building. Wouldn’t anyone who’s lived for years in a fort love to have a chance to check out a mansion?

The metaphor is apt not just because GG is so much bigger and more sophisticated than we are. We’ve built our little fort almost entirely on our own. We had no prior experience with the moving industry (I’d never even wrapped a chair when I was hired to do my first job!) and to this day we still have almost no real knowledge about how other moving companies work. So coming to spend time at Gentle Giant was a lot like coming out of the woods, out of the wilderness. It was a chance for me to learn a lot, to see what great solutions a whole bunch of smart and dedicated people can come up with to some of the same problems we’ve been trying to solve all on our own for a decade, and, most important, it was an opportunity for me to connect with a company in the industry I admire a ton. I feel a whole lot less isolated in the work I do here in Iowa because of my visit, and I wanted to tell you how grateful I am for that gift.

Gentle Giant works hard and always has a great attitude!

There was lots that impressed me about Gentle Giant. Your people are really, really smart. The systems you have are super slick – I watched Shane Thompson do five long distance estimates in the time it would have taken me to do one, and with far more accuracy and skill than I could ever hope to achieve. Your crew leaders care as much about doing a great job as any highly paid lawyer or doctor I’ve met. Your movers run, really do run, from the start of a job to the end, even when the job goes to thirteen hours. Not only that, but they actually seem to enjoy it! (Needless to say, I felt humbled in their presence).

But the thing that impressed me most about my visit was the fact that every single person I met at Gentle Giant, every crew leader, every mover, every manager, every salesperson, received me with warmth, openness, and generosity. Most of them had no idea who I was, or simply assumed I was a new hire they hadn’t yet met. Maybe more than anything else, I think that should make you proud of the community you’ve helped create. Good for you; and good for all the people who’ve worked to build a place where kindness and openness is the norm. Especially now, especially in Boston, that kind of kindness really matters.

In my opinion, Gentle Giant is a great company not just because your people are great at what they do. It’s a great company because your people are good, and I mean that in the old-fashioned moral sense. Good in the sense of being great without acting better than. Good in the sense of looking out for each other. And good in the sense of really welcoming some guy from Iowa who’s crazy enough to take a vacation from moving by doing some more moving . What a gift to be welcomed like that. Hope I can someday return the favor. Thanks again Larry.

All the best,

Eric Jones

10 Tips for Senior Citizens Downsizing Homes or Moving from Gentle Giant Moving Company

 

gentle giant moving company

Gentle Giant takes the time to work with seniors during transitional periods.

Moving senior citizens, retirees, and the elderly is emerging as a specialty service as baby-boomers are faced with downsizing themselves while simultaneously transitioning their parents to one of the many types of senior housing.

Below you will find Gentle Giant Moving Company‘s helpful 10 Tips for Moving Seniors:

  1. Start with a floor plan of your new space.
    A floor plan may be the single most important thing you can have.  It will tell you how much furniture you can fit, and help you decide where everything will go before you step foot into your new home.
  2. Reduce the amount you have to move.
    Downsizing can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining, but many items that have been accumulated in a home over many years can’t or shouldn’t be squeezed into a new home.  So take your time and ask for help.  If you have children who no longer live there, ask them to retrieve their possessions.  Give things to friends and family.  Have a yard sale and/or donate some items to charity.  If you can’t bring certain items that you’re not ready to part with, consider using a storage facility.
  3. Begin in areas of the house no longer in use.
    This strategy will be least disruptive to normal life and will help develop some momentum to carry you through other areas of the home later on.
  4. Have a sorting system.
    Use colored stickers to identify items that are going with you, elsewhere, or to-be-determined.  Make a list of potential recipients, such as loved ones or charity or auction, and match up items to them instead of coming up with different recipients as you sort through items one by one.
  5. Start with large items and work toward smaller ones.
    Sorting through large furniture pieces first will create a sense of progress for the person who is moving.  This will make it easier to sort smaller items later on, because it will be clearer what storage will be available in the new home.
  6. Block off a certain amount of time for working each day and stick to it.
    Start and stop at a certain time. Don’t get sidetracked.  You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish.
  7. Focus on one area at a time.
    Dealing with a whole house can be overwhelming.  Break it up into smaller chunks by focusing on one part of a room at a time.  Then move on to the next.
  8. Packing – Let the movers take care of it.
    A professional move coordinator like the ones at Gentle Giant can recommend a professional packing crew to help prepare your dishes, linens, furniture, you name it.  Hiring such a team will make packing go by much faster, and your items will be safer as they are moved.
  9. Create a Move-Day suitcase with the essentials for the first 24 hours in your new home.
    Set aside a couple of outfits, a set of dishes, towels and sheets.  Include a first aid kit and a flashlight, or even a night light.  You’ll have what you need at your finger tips instead of having to dive into many different boxes to find what you need.
  10. Be patient – with yourself and others.
    Moving is hard, especially for seniors who may be leaving a home where they’ve spent decades with their family.  Remember it’s okay to be sad about parting with things, however the goal is not to get rid of everything – just to simplify.  Set aside down time, and reward yourself or the person you are helping at various stages in the process.  Accept that there will be a range of emotions.

Gentle Giant Moving Company and Their Intense Warehouse Gym

At Gentle Giant Moving Company, health and fitness is a top priority, which is why the industry leader has dedicated space in their warehouse to build a full gym for Operations and Office staff.

Employees of the Boston moving company can work out with professional trainer John Zimmer to perfect form, increase strength, and maximize endurance, which is one way Gentle Giant decreases the chance of workplace injuries and promotes healthy living on and off the job.

This fun video gives you a peak inside Gentle Giant’s training center and how this incredible gym came to be at Gentle Giant Headquarters in Boston. Enjoy!

 

Meet the Giants – New York Regional Manager Josh Charry

Gentle Giant Moving Company

Gentle Giant Moving Company - New York Manager Josh Charry in his Brooklyn Warehouse

When New York moving company Gentle Giant began expanding outside of Westchester County and more into the 5 Boroughs, the company knew they needed to put an individual in charge who was not only an expert mover, crew chief, and leader, but also an individual that knew every neighborhood in New York. While there were several excellent candidates vying for this position, Bronx born Master Crew Chief Josh Charry was the perfect choice given his New York upbringing and several years moving within Gentle Giant’s Westchester County office.

Back in 2008, Charry started his career at Gentle Giant in the company’s Somerville, MA headquarters after seeing a job post seeking athletes looking for fun, challenging work. Charry’s extensive athletic background, which included football, soccer, lacrosse, and college baseball at Quinnipiac University qualified him for the demanding work Gentle Giant expects from our entire Operations team.

Before long, Josh was taking on more responsibility in the company, becoming one of the company’s top Crew Chiefs and leaders. Customers and crews alike loved Josh’s positive attitude, hustle, and attention to detail. During this time in late 2009, Gentle Giant’s New York branch was expanding rapidly and was in need of top Crew Chiefs to run jobs, train new Giants, and continue growing the business. Josh saw this is an opportunity to really make an impact on Gentle Giant and his career, and jumped at the chance to fill this need.

Today, Josh is managing Gentle Giant New York, which has locations in Westchester County, Long Island City, and Brooklyn. This position has Josh in charge of almost every part of the New York moving company which includes hiring, training, and running jobs.

Josh claims that GG New York’s key to success starts at the hiring process. He has an eye for talent, but the nature of moving can quickly weed out the individuals not cut out for the job. Josh’s management and hiring philosophy is resonant of George S Patton himself: “Pressure creates two things; dust and diamonds. At Gentle Giant we sweep away the dust and keep the diamonds.”

To book your move with Josh and his fellow Giants, visit Gentle Giant’s website today!

The 117th Boston Marathon Tragedy and Gentle Giant Moving Company

This year disaster struck the Finish Line of the 117th Boston Marathon. Gentle Giant, along with thousands of spectators and runners, were down at the Finish Line witnessing the fear, confusion, courage, and heroism that these attacks produced throughout Copley Square.

While Gentle Giant was relieved to learn that our 20+ employees down at the Finish Line were safe, our hearts were breaking for the victims of these senseless attacks.  Gentle Giant has pledged to continue our support of the BAA and the Marathon, and looks forward to proudly returning in 2014 at the Marathon Finish Line.

Gentle Giant Moving Company at the 117th Boston Marathon
Click the image of above to see all the pictures of Gentle Giant Moving Company at the 117th Boston Marathon

Since in the mid-90′s, it has been an annual tradition for Gentle Giant Moving Company to partner with the Boston Athletic Association to assist with the logistics surrounding the Boston Marathon. Of all the wonderful organizations and events Gentle Giant works with, the Marathon holds a special place in our hearts because it is not only a celebration of elite fitness and personal accomplishment, but because it defines the spirit and culture of Boston.

Months before the Marathon every year, the Gentle Giant operations team begins preparing for all of the details involved with the loading and delivery over 250,000 lbs. of Marathon goods and equipment. As Race Day gets closer, dozens of Giants clamor to be put on the Marathon Crews so they can participate in the fun work and festivities surrounding Boston’s world class road race.

Like everyone else affected by this tragedy, Gentle Giant is proud to be Boston Strong!

Training a Key to Success at Gentle Giant Moving Company

These Giants-in-Training pose after running the entire Harvard Stadium!

This week, four Giants from three different Gentle Giant Moving Company Regional Offices across the country are in our Somerville Headquarters to participate in a two week training workshop.  The goal of this workshop will be to help accelerate the development of technical skills, as well as the communication skills that consistently support Gentle Giant’s goal to interact with customers on a personal level, which will in turn lead to more referrals and repeat business. The idea is that if our employees are enjoying the move, the customers will also enjoy the move. Furthermore, the better the moving experience a customer has, the better chance they remember Gentle Giant next time around.

The participating employees, Mihia Muresan (Washington DC Office), Jean-Marc Tahi (Washington DC Office), Mike Rivers (New York Office), and Toua Chang (Seattle Office), will also be held accountable for taking the knowledge learned back to their respective offices to share it with their fellow employees. It is imperative to our company culture that we are able to provide our customers with a high quality product, which means developing great crew chiefs. This development starts immediately after being hired.

We welcome our fellow Giants to headquarters for this workshop that will help with their development as we move forward to achieving our 10-20 year vision. Click here for more information on what it takes to be a Giant.

To Grow their DC Moving Company, Gentle Giant Recruits Athletes

gentle giant moving company recruiting rowers

Gentle Giant DC recruits rowers within the Thompson Boat Center in Washington DC

On a recent trip to the Thompson Boat Center in Washington DC, Gentle Giant Moving Company Managers and Recruiters Craig Averett, Kieffer Karim, Andrew Rozzi, and Will Allen set out to recruit athletes from two elite rowing programs, Georgetown and GW University, to work at our DC/VA area offices and other offices across the country.

Despite Gentle Giant DC growing significantly over the past few years, the biggest limit to our success in this region is our manpower. The solution is simple though. By hiring more strong, quality people, we’ll be able to book more of the leads that are coming into us, generating more revenue.

On Thursday, March 7th, GG’s DC recruiting team met with the crew teams at the Thompson Boat Center around 8:00 AM. Most of the crews were already out on the water at this point. They met up with friend and Georgetown Varsity Women’s coach Miranda Paris, who was about to head out to practice with her team. The Men’s Novice coach, Mike Guerierri, had directed us to set up on the table located between the Georgetown and GW boat bays, a perfect location to meet with both crews.

In an effort to attract interest to our table, Gentle Giant brought a bunch of food and drinks, the first thing these athletes think about when they’ve finished practice. We also brought a bunch of GG shirts to give to anyone who left their name and email address as being interested in getting more information about working for Gentle Giant Moving Company over the summer.

One by one, each crew finished their practices and put their boats away. A little curious but tentative about approaching the table, GG decided to approach the rowers instead. We told them who we were, why we were there, and offered them some food. The offer of food after burning 1000+ calories was all it took. After making their presence known, Craig, Kieffer, Andrew and Will spoke with individuals and small groups from each team, men and women. Some came just for the food, other were curious about our Washington DC Moving Company, and a solid group of people seemed genuinely interested.

As each group came in, Will Allen introduced himself to each head coach. They all knew we were coming, but to formally build that relationship was key. The way Will sees it, if the coaches see the kind of company we are, they may be more apt to tell their athletes about the opportunity to work at Gentle Giant Moving Company. As a rower himself, Will knew how to talk the talk.

Over the course of about 3 hours, we saw over 100 athletes and collected around 70 names with emails from people who were at least curious, if not interested or very interested. We are excited to report that a handful of people submit applications online, even before we have followed up with the people who left their email addresses!

Click this link for more information about Job Opportunities at Gentle Giant!

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Jake Sweeney and Adam Benezra

Of all the incredible things Giants accomplish once they move on from the moving industry, Jake Sweeney and Adam Benezra’s quest to help people successfully quit tobacco with their business, Jake’s Mint Chew, is one of the most impressive and successful of all.

Jake Sweeney (L) and Adam Benezra (R) at a Gentle Giant holiday party.

Today, Jake and Adam are hard at work constantly improving their mint chew business, but they have come a long way since their days working on the trucks at Gentle Giant.

Their story starts when Adam was working at a rival moving company in Boston during the early 90′s. After a short period on their trucks, he realized he was surrounded by ex-convicts and other untrustworthy people, which made him think, “there has got to be a better moving company in Boston with better people.”

A friend told Adam about Gentle Giant, which during that period in the early 90′s was really hitting its stride within Massachusetts because of the focus on hiring honest, hardworking college athletes looking for a challenging but rewarding work. Not long after Adam started at GG in the Spring of 1994, he met Jake, who had started working at Gentle Giant a year before under Bobby Lane, focusing on complicated international moves. Oddly enough, the two attended UMass Amherst at the same time, but didn’t know each other because Jake was busy studying at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture while Adam was busy studying finance and the mating habits of inebriated coeds.

Working together on a few moving jobs around Boston formed Jake and Adam’s friendship, but it wasn’t until they took a road trip down to New Orleans with Eddie Crean, a Giant enjoying his first summer over from Ireland, that their relationship really strengthened.

They remained close even after they left Gentle Giant to start their own businesses. Jake followed in the family greenhouse business and before long was the go to wholesaler of greenhouse products on the North Shore. By 2009, Jake oversaw several greenhouses, including a 10,000 sq ft flagship greenhouse in Beverly. However, tragedy struck in the winter of 2009/10 when an ice storm took out this main greenhouse, which put a nail in the coffin of a business already hit hard by the financial woes the country was suffering from during that time.

Jake's Mint Chew

Down, but not out, Jake decided to depart from the greenhouse business and focus on a venture he had begun thinking about, Jake’s Mint Chew, which was a mint snuff designed to help people addicted to harmful tobacco snuff.

Given his background with the greenhouse, Jake was comfortable focusing on customer service, phone orders, making new flavors, and hiring, but he understood that he needed help with other areas. Realizing this, he called on Adam, his old friend from Gentle Giant, to help him with the website, shipping, payroll, and other financial responsibilities.

The partners recall their first “business meeting” back in 2009 at a local Beverly bar called Fibber McGee’s in which Jake carefully laid out the plan for his mint chew business. Adam instantly saw the product’s potential as a healthy, safe option for people looking to kick their tobacco addiction.

Because the pair had worked together so well during their time at Gentle Giant, they already knew how to motivate and compliment each other on the job. Now embarking on their third year working together at Jake’s Mint Chew, the company has grown exponentially, and expect even further growth now that they are USDA Organic Certified and showing up in more and more Major League Baseball clubhouses.

Jake and Adam look back very fondly at their time moving at Gentle Giant, and still keep in touch with all of the great people they worked with during the early and mid 90′s, some of whom have made a career at GG.

For more information on Jake’s Mint Chew, visit their website at www.jakesmintchew.com and tell them that Gentle Giant sent you!