I came across the Web site for JRS Custom Fabrication Inc. down in Ocala, Fla., last week. Someone sent me an e-mail so I checked it out.
When you visit the site, you'll notice a Bible verse from 1 John 1:3. Make no mistake; this company's guided by the Lord's words. As its mission statement reads, "To share the love of God, with our employees, customers, and vendors using tanks, trailers, and enclosures as our platform of introduction."
Jump into the Web site and you'll notice the fabricator has a "lead pastor," Don Grant. "I work with our team every day, but I'm here to serve you as well," the audio introduction details.
This fabricator's pronouncement of faith really jumped out at me, having just come back from The FABRICATOR's Leadership Summit: 5th Annual Metal Matters, held March 3-5 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The metal fabricating leaders in attendance all shared stories of what they had done to survive in 2009 and prepare themselves to take advantage of the economic rebound everyone is waiting for in 2010. In the middle of one presentation, a fabricator who was complaining about his banker "jerking him back and forth" about his outstanding debts in 2009 stated that his faith was the only thing keeping him sane during those tumultuous times. Keeping the faith is a necessity for many manufacturers as we're well into 2010.
Is this my wholesale stamp of approval of the Christian faith as a remedy for the queasy feeling brought on by the bad economy? No. Truthfully, my idea of inner peace is a cold Old Style on a warm summer day at Wrigley Field watching the Cubs. However, I do find religion to be reassuring at times.
Additionally, I respect any business that doesn't have money making as its prime motivation. The many Wall Street institutions that helped to bring down the U.S. economy might have found themselves in a much better position if they had only learned to do unto others as they would have liked others to do unto them. (Read it twice. You'll get it.) Sure, quarterly dividends may not have been as large in the months leading up to the recession, but working only to maximize monetary return is not the most noble goal. Ask Toyota what happened when the race to become the largest automaker in the world overshadowed the commitment to make the best cars in the world. Money is a poor motivator in the grand scheme of things.
Of course, religion is not necessarily a synonym for morality in the context of world history and, unfortunately, current events. But for the most part, most church-goers I know are good citizens that you would value as both a business partner and colleague. Their faith is a guide for good living and respectable business practices. In today's world, that's something to be admired.
I meet a lot of fabricators who are proud that they take an ordinary sheet of metal and create something useful out of it. They add value, instead of just shuffling around money and somehow making money off that process. They have faith that they are having a positive effect on the world, and for some, that faith happens to be intertwined with their religious beliefs.
That's a message I can live with. Can I get an amen?