In true Lindsay-fashion, I didn’t really think out this whole project before I started it back in January. I guess I just wanted to see how it organically evolved and that it did. It has been a blast spending time with each person and learning new things about them and about the business but the problem lies in that we have more than 12 employees so my 50th year project is now going to flow into the 51st year….but thats okay, right? Isn’t that what small businesses do - they go in stride and adapt? Well I hope you continue to read and enjoy these interviews on into the next year but for now lets focus on the last interview of 2022 and that lucky team member is Chris Rhodes.
Chris has been a copier service technician at Galaxie for over 8 years and the last year or so he has started learning the selling side of the business. I asked him about his experience in the copier world before coming on board and he laughed and said that he hadn’t even used a copier! Prior to starting at Galaxie, he had been involved in tree work for almost 10 years. He was a Kansas Certified Arborist at one point and he definitely retained that knowledge so if you have any tree questions - he is your guy. The company he worked for asked him to move to another state but he and his family decided they liked Winfield and didn’t want to move. Then came the call….Nathan called Chris and offered him the job as a copier tech. He decided to give it a try and it was obviously a good fit.
Like the other technicians that have been interviewed, he commented on the transition of the department’s work going from mostly mechanical work to IT work. He recalled Lee and Sam starting the transition and really diving into learning the networking side of the machines. At one point in time we would have to call in the IT department to set up networks but the team learned how to do this side of the work as well. The copier world is still transitioning, according to Chris. “Many small businesses can’t afford to staff their own IT guy so they need the copier installed with all the networking functionality and softwares enabled so they can go about their business.” Thats what the copier service department has grown into - copier and IT services. We will likely see more of that merging as time goes on. As far as other changes go, he mentioned the change in staff we are experiencing right now. We are losing several of of our long-timers who have chosen retirement over coming into the office everyday. :) We have some newer team members on board now who are learning the ropes and bringing a fresh perspective to the business. Yes, change is hard but its not a bad thing. Someday things will change again…thats just how life works. Eli and Chris set a goal several years back of installing a certain number of copiers in the field. Everyone banded together and reached that goal. Chris attributes our growth to our focus on customer service instead of the “vending-machine approach” of some companies.
Some of Chris’ most memorable times at Galaxie include a team dinner at El Maguey’s after a late night of copier installations and the 50th anniversary party/scavenger hunt that Nathan and Trudy organized this past September. It was such a fun event and Chris mentioned how neat it was to see the merging of all the different years of employees there. Some of the ones who represented times past were Chuck and Joan Cornett, Jim and Dolores French and Scott Engle.
Chris started this sentence, “One of the biggest perks of working here is”…. and I tried to think of the ending of that sentence in my head. Working with friends…working so close to home….not being outside when its freezing - but it was none of these. Instead his thought was way more meaningful than any of my guesses. He said that one of the biggest perks was getting to meet so many different people in our community and seeing things that go on in their lives. He remarked about seeing the community grow and seeing its connections. It definitely made me proud to live in a small community where even your copier service tech cares about whats going on in your world.
Chris is a busy guy but he makes sure he takes time to soak up moments of sitting by the fire on chilly nights with his beautiful wife, Jessie, watching the Las Vegas Raiders with his boys, Wesley and Deklin, and visiting museums of all kinds.
A big shout-out to Chris for always being ready to help anyone - his fellow team members, his friends and family, and me with my sometimes fanatical marketing ideas. :)
Until next month (in 2023!!!),