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September 9, 2011

One remodeler's recollection of 9-11-01

In 2001 I was the sales director for a large home improvement company in New Jersey (the photo is from that time). September 11th was a Tuesday. While 9/11/01 is a day that no one will ever forget, I remember the day of the week because we had a very expensive full-page ad
running in a major newspaper that day. Needless to say, that advertisement was useless.

The Twin Towers stood 15 miles from our main office. Watching the events unfold caused our emotions and thoughts to run the gamut. We made a decision that we should try to conduct business as usual as best we could under the circumstances.

Wednesday mornings were our regularly scheduled sales meetings. As it turned out, on 9/11 we had sold three projects, just below our daily average, even though many client meetings had been cancelled or were impossible to hold. That sales meeting was very informal -- like a roundtable discussion that turned into an effective therapy session. Each sales rep, in turn, told of their client meeting from the day before. The common themes included fear and worry, but these were over-ridden by a sense of Americans uniting and standing strong.
We did get a small amount of criticism for running appointments, but most people applauded our efforts to maintain the status quo.

We decided to pitch in collectively to do our small part to help. Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services company based in the Twin Towers, lost 658 employees on 9/11, two-thirds of its work force. For the remainder of the year we donated a percentage of each sale to the Cantor Fitzgerald family relief fund.

Neil Parsons

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