What were you doing three years ago today, at this exact time? While most people would have a hard time answering that question, I do not. Three years ago, September 3, 2012 my business partner John Mesenbrink and I were anxiously awaiting the launch of mechanical-hub.com; a project we had been working on for some time.
Let me back up a little and give you the crib notes on why we decided to build a website and enter the competitive arena of the professional trade press. First off, as I look back, it seems only normal now to think a plumbing and hydronics contractor and [then current] magazine editor would be so crazy to think they could pull this off. My complete frustration everyday as I would try to find new products or information to stay one step ahead of my competitors had me searching for just one place that had it all, like The Hub. You see, at the time my only options were to scan pages of a magazine or visit individual manufacturer’s websites for new product info — to see what others were challenged with as business owners and trade pros. But to stay on top of my business and keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the plumbing, heating/hydronics and mechanical industry, it made more sense to envision an online resource that had it all, and one that was updated everyday. Quite frankly, to me, print magazines, while valuable in their own right, became old news.
I wasn’t the only one motivated to try something new; sometimes daily phone conversations between John and I had began to spark new ideas, thoughts of assembling some sort of “Super Pack” in the industry that would bring trade pros together to discuss current issues or solve problems etc. I remember how my frustration was rooted in how the [plumbing, hvac and hydronics] industry I operated business within was stuck in the middle of the last century as it pertained to information availability.
And then, one day, John said this: Why don’t we build a website where a contractor can get connected with all the manufacturers? We can have other business owners and trade pros share their own experiences, feature new products & tools. You could do product reviews; we could travel to industry events and participate at a whole new level than the other magazines because you actually do this stuff everyday!
I said yes. He went to Jared™. Whatever. It was shortly after that day when my frustrations slowly transformed into motivation. We started putting ideas together over the phone, meeting in dark alleys undercover so no one would catch on to our plan to take over the world….hahahaha. Someone left his or her job… No seriously, it was no small undertaking and we had a lot on the line if this was going to work and support our young families for the foreseeable future. I’ll never forget traveling down to Illinois to meet with our first web design guy and, of course, John’s lovely wife and family for the first time. We fired that web guy not even a year after launch. Or was it he fired us? We immediately found his replacement, a really cool and talented designer from my neck of the woods.
What does matter is its been three years; some might not think much of that but I’ll tell you we are very excited as we move to launch some really cool stuff in the coming months that will turn this industry on its side as it pertains to connecting people and sharing information in real time.
I’d be a complete jerk if I didn’t acknowledge a whole ton of people that have helped us along the way. We’ve made and strengthened solid friendships throughout all of the trades we report on. We have met resistance but if we weren’t doing what we set out to do with all our energy and resources then we would’ve only ever been met with glad-handing grins and those who didn’t take us seriously. I’d like to think those bridges are on the mend as John and I intend to stick around for a long time. At the end of the day it comes down to money and we couldn’t do it without the support of all our advertisers and the legwork of our sales team, Tim Ward and Lisa Parelli.
Most of all I’d like to thank each and every one of you who visit our site and interact with us on social media. Your time is valuable, I hope we add something to your busy day whether it be the new tool or pump you’ve been waiting for or a laugh from a jobsite gone south. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.