May 4th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

Many times we end up taking a path quite by accident.  My second career was drafting.  I faked my way into that field, but it ended well.  In 1969 I was involved in the very first computerized drafting service bureau in the world.  My third career was office furniture. 

Norwood Engineering, the computerized drafting company, was founded by a salesman with Twin Cities Blue Printing, Dick Engebretson.  He hired my boss, Ron Crew, at Control Data who in turn hired me.  Our plans included franchising service bureaus, so my title was Franchise Manager.  We hired General Office Products to design and furnish our office in Roseville and our one and only franchise that we sold to Bob Johnson in Seattle. 

To make a long story short, the business failed and I ended up as the last General Manager.  I had to write a letter to about 14 companies explaining that Norwood Engineering had filed for bankruptcy and we could not pay the bill.  I did add my home phone number at that bottom of the letter, in case they wanted to talk it over.

Jim Helstrom, sales manager for General Office Products, called me.  Of course he wanted his furniture back.  I had to explain that Ron Crew had taken a loan out at the bank and pledged the furniture as collateral.  The bank took the furniture.  GOP did not “have a position” on the goods sold.  At the end of the conversation, Jim said, “Well if you ever need a job, let me know.”   I spent 22 years in the office furniture industry and I loved every minute of it.  I called Jim this week.  He is 81 years old and lives alone in the woods near Hibbing, Minnesota.  I thanked him for the awesome sales training that he had provided.  “Distancing” does not mean you can’t call an old friend. 

Live from Here this week is either a Live from Home or a rebroadcast of an old show.   Enjoy and stay safe.

“Tell me, what else should I have done?  Doesn’t everything die at last and too soon?  Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  From The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

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