Meet John Bently with Duct & Chimney Specialists and Duct Cleaners' Supply in New Richland, Minnesota. Many of you have taken his classes, now let's get to know him a little better.
What is a question you get asked most about being a chimney sweep/chimney sweeping/the industry?
There are still chimney sweeps?
How did you get started in the industry?
In the early 80s, we built our house and heated it with wood. I had been doing service and maintenance in a number of fields for many years. When it came to stove maintenance I had gotten the equipment needed and swept and maintained the wood furnace and venting system. While at a home show, I met someone who had a sweeping business and several years later, I saw an ad in the newspaper that they were looking to hire someone. I applied and got the job. At that time, the company had just expanded into air duct cleaning.
What advice do you wish you had received when you were getting started?
Don't stress, just do your best. If you take your time and treat the customer well you will do well. It takes time to build a business.
What is the biggest challenge you face on the job? What are your best strategies for overcoming it?
Finding the best way to educate the customer. Everyone is different and grasps information in different ways. If you can pass along relevant information in a way that the customer understands it can make a huge difference in how they view the issues regarding the systems you are working on and their trust in you as a professional in your field. What I find works well is using analogies to common things in everyday life. When the customer says, "that makes sense”, I know I have made a connection.
Who was your most famous customer?
A singer that most people have heard the songs.
Have you ever attended NCSG Annual Convention & Trade Show? If so, what was your favorite takeaway?
Many times, though I don't know exactly how many conventions. The "favorite" takeaway is a tough one since there are more than one. First is the people, there are so many awesome people I have met over the years. So much to learn from seminars and people. If you are having a challenge, someone else has been through it also. You can call that the "Lighthouse" or "Beacon" effect. They can give you some information that can help you navigate through the darkness and make it through challenging times.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My wife and I raising our three children. They are all thoughtful adults who try to make things in their sphere of influence better by helping those around them.
Have you ever had to make your own tool to solve a particular problem?
Yes. I have been doing service work for many years/decades. I have always modified or made my own tools. That's where the supply side of our business came in. When we come across a challenge, we do something about it and the result is usually a new tool, product or technique.
Weirdest thing you have ever found in a chimney?
30+ Blackbirds filling a woodstove and the stove pipe.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Fireworks. I am a licensed Pyrotechnician
What is, in your opinion, the most valuable part of being a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild?
The people and the community.
Thanks, John! I'm sure we'd all like to have you around on the Fourth of July.
If you or someone you know should be featured in the next Meet a Member, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (317) 837-1500!
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