February 22, 2021
Before you get the call that changes your life, you never think it’s going to be about toilets, or at least I didn’t. And, truthfully, sometimes an opportunity isn’t glaringly life-changing when you are in the moment.
Like, say, when it’s about toilets.
But after celebrating my seventh anniversary with PortaPros last week, I can’t help but reflect on where I am, how I got here, and how getting a message I didn’t expect was one of the best things to ever happen to me.
OK, for starters, it wasn’t a call but a direct message on LinkedIn. And it wasn’t to me, but my then-girlfriend (and now wife), Jessica. We’d just spent six weeks backpacking through Southeast Asia and were just getting ready to settle back into real life. We were sipping cocktails poolside in Arizona, soaking up the last bit of sun before heading back to Boise, where I’d planned to return to my role as an operations manager for an event company.
The message was from Carl Arriola, and he had a different idea for me.
I’d known Carl for a while. He was a go-getting entrepreneur who had a reputation for doing things the right way. He was known for working hard and had a bit of a swagger. I admired that as a young professional. So when the message came, I was excited to hear what he had in mind. Then, he told me he had purchased a portable toilet company.
A toilet company? What was this guy thinking? What would my friends think? Would I literally be flushing my career and resume down the drain? But I agreed to hear more, and we discussed his vision over finger steaks and IPAs at Sockeye Brewing when I got back to Boise. Despite all those fears, something told me it was the right move.
Seven years later, I’ve come to realize what that something was -- it was the chance to do great work with great people. Carl wasn’t looking to open a toilet business. He wanted to build something that focused on helping his customers and doing so in an honest and stress-free way. He wanted to provide top-notch local service while building a strong company with a fantastic culture. That’s what he wanted to bring to market. That’s what got me.
All these years later, I’m still motivated by what he saw in me. Looking back, I had been settling for dead-end jobs at minimum wage. No college degree. No real idea of what to do next. Seven years later, I’ve gone from Operations Manager to General Manager to Sales and Business Development and now Vice President of PortaPros. Jessica and I are happily married and have started a family. Life is entirely different since getting that message seven years ago and in all the best ways.
What changed? For me, it was all about the opportunity to grow in the right environment and help develop and influence the people around me. I continually think about how I can do the same thing for someone else and see in them what Carl saw in me.
At PortaPros, we provide a valuable service, now more than ever. But Carl wanted to do more than just provide a service. He wanted to become a trusted brand and partner for all of his clients and build his legacy. Understanding the difference between these two missions has been the key. And that’s a mission I want to keep sharing.
So, yes, I went to work for a toilet company. And thankfully, I realized it was so much more than that.