Here is a guest post about the family culture at GG from our founder, Larry O’Toole.
“I am very proud to report that Gentle Giant is a finalist for the Family Business Awards. This whole process has been about reflecting on Gentle Giant’s history, and how we have created a family business worthy of such recognition.
Our little moving company comes from humble beginnings, based on hustle and customer service. Before Gentle Giant was ever conceived, I was a rising executive at Eaton Corporation. I quit my job to escape corporate slavery and pursue my writing interests, while investigating the possibilities of starting a light manufacturing company.
On my quest for cash, I was encouraged by close friends to add moving to the list of odd job I had be doing. As at the original Gentle Giant at 6′ 6”, moving was a natural fit for my physical strength and commitment to a job well done.
In 1980, I founded Gentle Giant Moving Company with a friend’s borrowed truck and a $17 investment: a one-time ad in the Boston Phoenix newspaper. I felt strongly that Boston sorely needed an infusion of quality into the moving industry. In 1984, I decided to fully commit myself to that mission.
Gentle Giant’s first truck was purchased with a loan I received from my mother. With lots of hard work, my supportive family and an eye for talent, that fleet has grown tremendously. We have almost 100 trucks operating every day across Gentle Giant’s 18 offices in nine states.
I am also supported by several family members at Gentle Giant. My sister, Jackie O’Toole, is one of the most successful on-site sales representatives in the company. My niece, Ayanna McKinnon, was formerly in charge of the Quality Control department. She is currently back in school, but still contributes to the office staff during breaks. My nephews, Paul and Dylan Brodeur, also help on the trucks and in IT, respectively.
In addition, I wouldn’t be here without my friend and co-owner of Gentle Giant, John Pacocha. He saw how supportive my family was and encouraged his family to contribute to our family-friendly business. His son Ben now works on the trucks during breaks from college, where he is studying digital film.
I am so proud of the family we have at Gentle Giant. We listen and support each other, are emotionally involved in the work we perform, and look forward to coming into the office every day.”