Month: March 2010

Team Work

It has correctly been said that there is no “I” in “Team.”

Team Work - Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management Trade Journal Magazine
Difficult and challenging things can be accomplished through team work!

A team, working together for a common goal, can accomplish what the individual working alone can’t do or can’t do as easily or as rapidly.

Team work, photo courtesy of filedownload
Pulling together in the same direction, each with a different view but complementary effort. Team Work can accomplish more rapidly what individual effort can't.

Think about the concept of team work, your enterprise and the Manufactured Housing Industry at large. I’ll bet those three guys working together in the photo above have different points of view on a number of issues. But it doesn’t keep them from working together successfully to accomplish a worthy goal!

There is no I in Team.

Building Bridges

Building a bridge takes time.

Building a bridge across the Little Elm, photo courtesty of acoanimal
Building a bridge across the Little Elm, photo courtesty of acoanimal

Building a bridge has a cost.

But once  the investment is made and the bridge is built, the bridge frees the people ‘trapped’ on both sides. The bridge has beauty, strength and provides inspiration too.

sacramento tower bridge photo courtesty of C y r i l l i c u s

Building Bridges – Sacramento tower bridge photo courtesty of C y r i l l i c u s

Is there a bridge – personal or professional – in your life that you need to build? Or a bridge that you need to cross?

– submitted by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, editor,, writer of the Masthead Blog and —> new connections are invited and welcome.

It’s About Time

Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock. The clock of time stops for no one. Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock.

It’s about Time. How will you use your time? The next 60 seconds? The next hour?  The next day, week, month or year? Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock.

Its_About time_tourist_on_earth_2010-03-14_1336
It's About Time - graphic by Tony Kovach, photo courtesy of tourist on earth

The woman in the photo is about to give birth.  She is in labor.  She is in pain.  The man holds the Clock of Time with a look that says so much.  Anticipation, concern, joy…much more.  The image gives one a Sense of Urgency.   It reminds us to Act swiftly with Good Purpose.

Our MH INdustry is in labor too.  As with any labor of new birth, we are in pain, as perhaps many industry readers and their enterprises are today.  There is a Sense of Urgency.  A new birth is both a crisis and an opportunity for a new start, a new life!

We could, of course, delay what must be done.  We could just let this new life die.   We could use some Excuses.  We could be react with fear. We could overlook the power that could readily change our image and our professional world. Out of some misguided fear or the paralysis of over analysis, we could wait too long, and the new birth that could be will instead be a death.  So with it, could die what could well be our bright new future.

Or we could embrace this new birth.  We could embrace the changes that have brought you here in the first place.  It is precisely new methods, new out-reaches and new approaches that have caused you to be here.  Think about it!

It’s about Time.  It’s about a new beginning.  While we’ve watched our industry shipments fall, did you realize that our market share for factory-built housing out of all new housing starts has risen? It has! HUD Code and modular have risen from about 5% market share some 3 years ago to about 20% market share today.

The best of the old, combined with the best of the new.  They can position us for a new birth that can lead factory built housing into the brightest possible future!

It’s about Time.  Time is the measure of Change.  It’s about time to embrace that change, and let this new life, this promising new future take hold of us.  The tools and the resources for that change – for the best of the old and the best of the new – are all found on these pages…

Its_About time_tourist_on_earth_2010-03-14_1336
It's About Time graphic by Tony Kovach, photo courtesy of tourist on earth

This woman can’t go back. She can only choose to move ahead.

It’s About Time.#


– submitted by Tony Kovach, editor,, writer of the Masthead Blog and

Castles in the Sky!

Castle in the Pyrenees
The photo is of Rene Magritte’s ‘Castle in the Pyrenees.’

My wife and I play an imaginative, goal setting ‘game’ we call “Castles in the Sky.” We dream some grand dream. Then we discuss how we could go about achieving that dream. We have done this for years, and over time, with planning, persistence and more… it is amazing how refreshing and positive an approach this is. Also important, this is no only fun, but it works. Try it some time!

My associate Bob Stovall here at and I do something similar too. We raise a grand goal in a discussion and then ask ourselves: how do we go about achieving that goal? Then we work towards it. This too has worked remarkably well.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Perhaps decades ago I read this quote and just forgot where I had heard or seen it. What I know is that dreaming big dreams, and then discerning the path and steps to achieving that goal has served me well for decades. I ran across the Thoreau quotation above recently, purchased it and hung it on my wall. We all need reminders for positive thinking and positive approaches.

Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones used to say, “See It Big, and Keep it Simple Smiley.” Dream big dreams and place the foundations under them.

– submitted by Tony Kovach, editor,, writer of the Masthead Blog and

The Boys of Iwo Jima

(From the book: Heart Touchers “Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter)

by Michael T. Powers

Each year my video production company is hired to go to Washington, D.C. with the eighth grade class from Clinton, Wisconsin where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation’s capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall’s trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history — that of the six brave men raising the American flag at the top of Mount Surabachi on the Island of Iwo Jima, Japan during WW II. Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, “What’s your name and where are you guys from?

I told him that my name was Michael Powers and that we were from Clinton, Wisconsin.

“Hey, I’m a Cheesehead, too! Come gather around Cheeseheads, and I will tell you a story.”

James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, D.C. to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good-night to his dad, who had previously passed away, but whose image is part of the statue. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D.C. but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night. When all had gathered around he reverently began to speak. Here are his words from that night:

“My name is James Bradley and I’m from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called Flags of Our Fathers which is #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list right now. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me. Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game, a game called “War.” But it didn’t turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of twenty-one, died with his intestines in his hands. I don’t say that to gross you out; I say that because there are generals who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen years old.

(He pointed to the statue)

You see this next guy? That’s Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene’s helmet off at the moment this photo was taken, and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph. A photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for protection, because he was scared. He was eighteen years old. Boys won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the “old man” because he was so old. He was already twenty-four. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn’t say, “Let’s go kill the enemy” or “Let’s die for our country.” He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, “You do what I say, and I’ll get you home to your mothers.”

The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes walked off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, “You’re a hero.” He told reporters, “How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only twenty-seven of us walked off alive?”

So you take your class at school. 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only twenty-seven of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes died dead drunk, face down at the age of thirty-two, ten years after this picture was taken.

The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky, a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, “Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn’t get down. Then we fed them Epson salts. Those cows crapped all night.”

Yes, he was a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of nineteen. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother’s farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. The neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Kronkite’s producers, or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say, “No, I’m sorry sir, my dad’s not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don’t know when he is coming back.”

My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually he was sitting right there at the table eating his Campbell’s soup, but we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn’t want to talk to the press. You see, my dad didn’t see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, ’cause they are in a photo and a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a caregiver. In Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died, and when boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed in pain.

When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, “I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. DID NOT come back.”

So that’s the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.”

Suddenly the monument wasn’t just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero in his own eyes, but a hero nonetheless.

Michael T. Powers

Copyright ©2000 by Michael T. Powers

Michael T. Powers, the founder of and, is the youth minister at Faith Community Church in Janesville, Wisconsin. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart Kristi and proud father of three young rambunctious boys.

He is also an author with stories in 29 inspirational books including many in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and his own entitled: Heart Touchers “Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter.” To preview his book or to join the thousands of world wide readers on his inspirational e-mail list, visit:

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