I also have responsibilities as president of Mohawk. When I go out on business trips, I'm really going out of the office as president, so I get a much different response out there. Someone sees the CFO coming to visit and wonders how far they are behind on the bills. But as president, I'm paying someone a compliment when I go for a visit. I couldn't do that as effectively as CFO.
I come back from those trips with a lot more insights and get a lot more openness, a lot better feel for the business. The president is also on the operational side, so that's a very helpful edge I have. Add to that the international sales -- I spent two weeks in China, Hong Kong and Shanghai for an opportunity to see firsthand the growth prospects, but also very importantly I was sending a message to our Chinese customers that their business is real important, that Mohawk viewed this marketplace as one where we saw growth. All of those things give me a real leg up.
9. What do you do to unwind from a hectic day?
I take long walks if I can at the end of the day, especially if we have daylight like we are at this time of year. I'm an avid hiker in my spare time. On vacation, I take weeklong treks, particularly in England. I've walked along Hadrian's Wall, which took me from the North Sea across to the Irish Sea in seven days.
If it's too late or if things just don't work out for a walk, another way for me to unwind is that I love to read. I love historical nonfiction books. I recently finished "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand and "The Path Between the Seas" by David McCullough. I feel cheated at the end of the day if I don't have my 20 minutes to an hour sitting there in my chair and just diving into a book that I've got going.
10. If you weren't doing this job, what would you be doing?
Teaching. Between when I left Union Camp and when I joined Mohawk, I taught as a substitute teacher at our high school in Morristown, New Jersey. I had tremendous fun doing that. I told the principal that I would teach anything other than music, art or gym. So for a couple of months I taught creative writing, earth science, history, English. I even taught a class in English as a second language.
That's what I would like to do -- teach.