This post was written by John Anker, the president of Ankerpak.
This labor day I want to look at the life of one of the special individuals at Ankerpak. His name is Wayne Bloodsworth, or as I have often called him – The Richest Man at Ankerpak. This description of Wayne is known by most people that work at Ankerpak because they have heard me reference Wayne and his admirable qualities. One day as I was walking through the employee parking lot with an out-of-town guest I approached Wayne as he was leaning over the bed of his pick-up truck. My guest and I stopped to speak to Wayne, and I introduced him to my guest as The Richest Man at Ankerpak. Normally Wayne is a man of few words and smiles warmly and returns a greeting with a warm ‘nice to meet you.’ This time however he responded in deep thought….”you know John, I have been thinking about this, and you are right. I am a very rich man.”
Wayne came to work at Ankerpak from a grill manufacturing company that was closing down manufacturing and moving business off-shore. His old boss had recently come to visit me at my office and told me that he had a great individual that could add value to my team and he wanted to send him over to meet me. We hired Wayne and began utilizing him in general maintenance and projects. I noticed that Wayne didn’t talk much and kept his mind on the job and task at hand. He wasn’t the fastest moving guy on the job, but at the end of the day his work was completed and his improvements on Ankerpak were noticeable. It was easy to see that one of Wayne’s admirable qualities was consistency and dependability. Over the years of manual labor in cotton mills and other manufacturing companies Wayne had learned the pride and value of a good day’s work.
Along Ankerpak’s journey as a manufacturing company we hit a bumpy road and had a few tough choices to make in order to get over this tight spot. None of my managers wanted to let Wayne go, but he was not in a direct labor position and we did not have a job for him at Ankerpak anymore. I lined up the 7 people that I was going to lay off and began one by one explaining to them what was happening. When I got to #7, Wayne, I was very upset and could barely talk in order to clarify to him that he was one of the people we were going to lay off. To my surprise he leaned across to me and told me that it was alright. Wayne told me not to worry about him. He said that he had been through this before and that he was going to be OK. Furthermore, he had been waiting for me to call him into the office because he knew that things were going to have to change. His calm demeanor and practicality took me by surprise. All of the sudden I was enjoying being counseled by a wise man who had life experiences beyond my years and he was sincere in his concern for me and genuine hope that Ankerpak would get through this situation.
Nearly one year later Wayne accepted a new position at Ankerpak and left the ranks of the un-employed. He travelled to Tennessee for months and lived with me and other employees in a small town hotel learning to operate an extrusion machine and other equipment that we were going to move into our Columbus, Georgia plant.
Wayne is a great American. This picture of Wayne captures this rich man. I love the man that he is. He has exemplified steadfast character in every aspect of his life. He is a devoted husband and father. He has steadily paid for his home and lived there for over 35 years as a great citizen of Columbus. As I drive down his busy street and see his back yard with the 10 foot tall wood fence that he built on his last vacation I am proud to have been affected by him. He has had a positive influence on me. My kids and my wife often hear me speak of Wayne’s steadiness. Only one time (that I know of) have I ever made Wayne really mad at me……at this moment he sternly told me that if I didn’t make it right then he was leaving. It was a simple misunderstanding, but in principle he was right. Only a rich man would have the courage to stand for what he believes.
In America we should all be mindful of the principles that our country was founded. Self-responsibility, pursuit of happiness, steadfast truths, and many more. Riches should not be measured in material possessions or power. Wayne has re-enforced to me the value of community, family, and steadfast hard work. He has helped make Columbus a better city. He is the backbone of a strong America. He is a rich man! My life is made rich due to his positive influences.
Photo credit: John Pyle