Birmingham, Alabama, 1971 – I was 7 years old. I remember my dad quitting his job and going into business for himself as Do-It-Yourself Pest Control. I of course had no idea what that meant but I can remember how scared I was about the whole issue. My dad setup a work area in the garage and showed my brother and myself how to assemble pest control kits. The boxes reminded me of a suite case and every product had a designated spot where the cardboard was cut out for the product to fit. My dad would load up the trunk of his car and would usually return home after we got out of school. He would then help us make the kits along with my mother. It was not long after that that Fire Ant Control was one of the products that we packaged. “Blow, dip, and pour” as some have come to know it was usually done at that time by my dad, brother, or uncle. There were other kids/teenagers in the neighbor that also worked with us. My job in the assembly of Fire Ant Control was to take the plastic bags full of product and fold the top over twice and place a folded paper label over the top of the bag and staple together twice. I must have been about 8 years old at the time. I remember thinking that if I could get 3 cases (150 bags) done that that would be great. We used to beat the stapler to get the staples to go all the way through, well after about 100 bags my hand would be so bruised that I would then have to stand and crunch down on the stapler. However, the staples would get disfigured, and my dad would come over and say you must beat the stapler for it to work. I guess my dad must have realized the situation as it was because one of the most memorable events of my childhood was getting an electric stapler! I loved using that thing! It was like using an electric pencil sharpener. You used it even when you didn’t need to. Well, obviously my end of the production went up and work wasn’t so hard anymore. My brother still preferred the regular stapler because he was kind of scared of the electric one. Well, the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and before we knew it, we had moved out of the house into mini warehouses in Homewood. My mother would take us to work every day after school and I made a dollar an hour. Thinking back on it I remember my dad, my brother, and a fellow coworker all with long hair and nail bags tied around their waists building the offices inside the storage bays. Weed Killer had become one of our products by now and I helped move the 50 lb. boxes (at that time the bags weighed a 1 lb. each/ 50 per box) as they came off the assembly line. I weighed about the same but not quite as much as the Weed Killer boxes. Getting to work at 3:30 in the afternoon meant I had some catching up to do and boxes of Weed Killer would be waiting on me to move. I had to move the boxes to the shipping area which was in another building. We didn’t have a dolly or hand trucks at the time so I would try and move two at a time. After about the second haul of 100 lbs. I was giving out and could only move one at a time after that. The day we got dollies was another milestone in my life. Well, the months turned into years, and we found ourselves on the other side of the road in some classier mini warehouses. I was in high school now working every day after school, weekends, Christmas holidays and the endless days of summer. I enrolled in a Vocational program in high school so that I could get out of school every day at 11:15 AM and go to work. I had several jobs, from shoveling rock into the hopper from the top of the warehouse, to filling bottles with an acid mix, to doing the shipping and receiving. There was a group of 4 or 5 of us teenagers that worked in the warehouse and I was finally given the sole duty of shipping and receiving. The accountants said I was the most careful and dependable. Well, the “blow, dip, and pour” days were over and modern packaging was coming around. I left the business for a brief time and worked at other places before going off to college. It was strange after all those years of working that I was going to school now. My dad continued to try and keep me in the loop by cornering me every time I came home and said, “come here son, I need to pick your brain”. He called me his “sounding board” for his new ideas. Those were some interesting times. After graduating from college in 1986, I came back to work full time for my dad, under the new company name: Rainbow Technology, and I worked in Sales, Marketing, Network Administration, started a new division called LaMark Leasing and ran that for about a year, Accounting, Purchasing, back to Accounting, and now currently serving as President. It has been an honor serving the Utility industry these past 50 years. Here’s to 50 more!
Rainbow Technology Corporation