Kevin Lee Profile picture
Jul 11 21 tweets 4 min read
1/ A decade ago, one of my best friends took over his family's electrical business and worked 6 days a week to grow the company. He recently achieved a generational wealth level exit.

He told me a story once that helped me understand how his family achieved such success.
2/ When they started the business, they used their family savings to lease warehouse space where they stored electrical supply inventory. They would then go around the city and service small contracts setting up electrical power supply and lighting to small businesses.
3/ After a few starting years of hard work, they expanded their lease and obtained more warehouse space to grow inventory and their ability to service more contracts.

After adding in extra inventory, my friend's father realized that there was still a bit of space available.
4/ His mother wanted to sub-lease the extra space to another tenant for some extra income.

But his father had another idea.

Over their starting years, they sometimes subcontracted some of the labor for their electrical installation contracts to hardworking immigrant workers.
5/ These immigrant workers often asked if they could bring family members or friends to help out on these contract projects but most didn't have the requisite skillsets.

My friend's father saw how many of these people were just trying to make a living and survive in America.
6/ Their struggle reminded him of his own immigration to the U.S. with his wife from Southeast Asia and how they had to survive with no financial or social capital.

So he took that extra warehouse space, and he converted it into a tiny classroom with just a few desks and chairs.
7/ He hired one of the general contractors the family business often worked with to teach.

And from that point on, every Saturday morning for 4 hours, he made that warehouse classroom free for any immigrant worker to learn electrical engineering.
8/ The classroom attendance grew by word of mouth. Immigrant workers invited family members and friends and everyone got a free education.

Many of these classroom students went on to find electrical jobs that brought life-changing income to their families.
9/ A few students asked if they could work for my friend's family business and whenever they could afford to, they hired and paid great wages.

But jobs at my friend's company were limited so many students went to work for competitor electrical companies.
10/ My friend's dad was literally funding the education of workers for his competitors.

But he did it anyways, because he knew the right thing to do was pay his opportunities forward and help other people.
11/ A few years after this small warehouse classroom had been running, their electrical business had grown.

One month, they entered to try to win a bid to supply all the electrical lights for the city's largest transportation center.
12/ It was a game-changing multi-year 7 figure city contract that was the most revenue they would ever have the chance to compete for.

Winning this bid would transform their small business as it would qualify them to apply for future multi-year city building contracts.
13/ They spent months preparing submission materials and submitted them but didn't hear back.

A few months later, my friend and his father were cleaning up their warehouse after work hours when a young man walked into the entrance.
14/ This young man came up to my friend's father and said "Do you remember me?"

My friend's father was a bit embarrassed as he dealt with hundreds of customers a year and admitted that he didn't remember the face.
15/ The young man then told him that years ago, he had no education and struggled to make ends meet, but he heard about a classroom where he could learn electrical engineering for free every Saturday.
16/ He ended up taking that class hosted and paid for by my friend's family every weekend until he had enough education to strike out for a job.

He explained that he ended up finding a job at the city's largest transportation center.
17/ Thanks to his education and great attitude, he kept getting promoted over several years.

As he concluded his story, he told my friend and my friend's father that now, he was the buyer in charge of selecting the next vendor for the transportation center's contract.
18/ They won that multi-year contract and it fundamentally changed their family business for the better.

When my friend's family finally exited their business, word got out to the entire industry.
19/ They had done so much good for their community over their decades of founding the business that dozens of business owners, general contractors, students of that class, and founders/CEOs of competitors came by their warehouse to pay their respect to the family.
20/ I never forgot that story and I'm sure it's one of many examples of how my friend's family paid it forward over years.

They never expected anything to come out of that classroom and it was created selflessly. But I'm glad so much good came out of it, because they deserve it.
21/ In your journey to the top, you must remember to help those with less opportunity and resources along the way. Not because you should expect anything to come back to you, but because it's the right thing to do.

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