Wednesday, 4 May 2016

He found innovative ways to improve operating efficiency

"I was in 3rd grade and one of my teachers told us to decide what we wanted to do when we grew up and then interview someone who had that job.

I'm pretty sure that like most ten year-old boys growing up in Montreal I wanted to be a professional hockey player. I knew it would be tough to get an interview with one of the Montreal Canadiens, so I decided to talk to my father and grandfather.

My grandfather founded what was, at its height from the 60's through the 80's, one of the largest apparel companies in Canada. My father took over and ran that business for many years. That was definitely inspiring, but even more inspiring was the story my grandfather told of how important it is to control your own destiny.

In 1947, when he was twenty-two, he came to Canada with very modest means and began to build a life with my grandmother. He had studied textile engineering in Hungary before World War II. He was very hard working, took extra shifts and found innovative ways to improve operating efficiency, and quickly rose through the ranks to become general manager and essentially run day-to-day operations.

This his boss brought in his son-in-law to take over. My grandfather now reported to him. He felt taken advantage of since he had been promised he would someday take over the business. So he walked away and started his own business.

I admire the courage it took for an immigrant from Hungary with a young daughter and wife and almost no savings to strike out on his own. Looking back I still marvel at how he was able to achieve what he did, but I think the hardships he overcame during and after the war gave him the strength to fear almost nothing.

Those conversations made me want to follow in my father and grandfather's footsteps."

Brian Guttman, founder of Jeremy Argyle


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