Motion Man by John L. Neel

After the demise of my young university career and the student job it gave me, I needed employment...fast. I don't remember the circumstances, but I ran into an old Woodlawn High School friend and fellow Warbler, Harold, who told me his company was looking for someone to work in their warehouse in shipping and receiving. I applied for the job and was interviewed by Tommy, the office manager for the hydraulic and fluid power section of Motion Industries, called, at the time, ORMATIC for Mr. Owen and Mr. Richards, the owners of the company.

Tommy hired me on the spot and asked me to come to work the next day. The next morning, he had me issued blue work clothes with my name over the pocket, steel towed boots, had me fill out paperwork and then introduced me to the people with whom I would work.

There was Ron, the inside sales guy, hilarious, fun, and a bit crazy; I liked him instantly.

Beverly, was the office manager, re-married widow, drove a 914 Porsche bought with the insurance money, pretty, but with a resting bitch face and bad attitude...until I showed her I was not someone she could push around. We became good friends.

Kathy, the secretary-goddess, was the hottest girl in the place and sexually harassed by the guys in the Hose Shop until I had words with them and reported them, forcing the company to do something. Had this shit gone on today, Kathy would own the company.

Hugh the warehouse manager and Charlie the head of shipping and receiving kept things moving in and out of the mechanical warehouse and taught me more than anyone else there.

I worked in the Ormatic (hydraulic and pneumatic) end of the warehouse. A young guy with long hair, whose name I don't remember, but who had to be the laziest, slickest, and most worthless kid on the planet, was my direct supervisor. This cat was supposed to teach me, but hardly ever came to work, was always late, and you could tell by the HUGE pile of receiving shipments that sat on the floor unopened. Somehow he got away with it. He refused to teach me anything and told me that if we worked too hard or too fast, we would work ourselves out of a job. Yeah, he was a Communist.

I tried to figure it all out but didn't understand the whole process, so I sought out Hugh and Charlie who explained the process and answered my thousands of questions. Before long, the kid was fired and I was in charge of the warehouse.

Tommy asked me to work overtime to get it all done ( Time-and-a-Half? Absolutely! $$$ ), but the problem was bigger than one guy could handle. I got him to hire Bill Pricket, a friend from high school, my college roommate, and an all-round good guy. We tackled the problem together. Before long, we were heroes of the company and our customers as needed parts and components began shipping out.

Once that was done, I began rearranging the warehouse to make it more efficient, inventoried what was on-hand, helped Ron when there was a customer on the city sales desk, and had Tommy buy me a proper toolset and workbench so I could begin converting hydraulic pumps, valves, and motors. I had the hose guys teach me how to make hydraulic hoses, and the mechanical guys teach me about power transmission products.

I made myself useful to the company.

I worked there for four years while my personal life and the company changed. I met a girl I thought I should marry, did so, and that is a whole different story. I began going to a church that emphasized Military Service as a responsibility. Motion Industries was bought by Genuine Parts, and the mechanical part of the company absorbed the fluid power section. Tommy, Kathy, Ron, and Beverly all left.

I went in the Army in 1976.

When I got out of the Army in 1980, I went back to Motion Industries. They hired me in their Management Training Program where I attended lots of schools, shadowed salesmen, answered phones, went back into the warehouse to refresh my memory on inventory, stock numbers, and procedures (my idea), and helped out on the City Sales Desk.

My personal and professional life, once again, changed. My wife and I divorced. I met a great girl. The company hired a kid fresh out of college over me for the first supervisor job for which I interviewed and was perfectly trained to do. I should have seen that coming. The only people I liked at Motion were Stan Mayo, a Vietnam Vet, Woodlawn grad, and great guy, Janet and her husband Alan, and Ken. I missed the Army and knew I should have never left.

I went back into the Army in March 1981, married the girl I should have waited on that December, and said goodbye to Motion Industries forever. No Hard Feelings.