One Remodeler’s Recollection of September 11th 2001

I was asked to share my recollections and perspective of this most tragic day for a remodeling industry publication. I truly apologize if this article and/or my thoughts and actions from then offend anyone.

9-11-01 never forget ~ Design Build Planners

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.

Neil Parsons from 2001

The Twin Towers stood 15 miles from our main office in NJ. 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, even though many client meetings had been cancelled or were impossible to get to, on 9/11 we had sold three projects, which was just below our daily average. 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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