Dave Furlan | Senior HR Business Partner
Joined TPCHR in May 2013
My parents owned a series of restaurants throughout my childhood. It was not a big empire. Just small places that they started, ran for a few years, and then sold.
I remember their first restaurant where my mom waited tables and had my sister and I play with toys and coloring books on top of the chest freezer while she worked. When I was eight years old, I worked in a new restaurant of theirs where I would wash dishes occasionally and only get paid from a few tips given by waitresses who enjoyed having me around. Then when I was eleven years old, my parents opened a pizzeria and I started working there regularly where my starting pay was $1.50 per hour. As an HR professional, I’m sure there were a few child labor law violations along the way, but it was definitely a lot of fun the whole time.
I worked at the pizzeria through high school and then on breaks during college. It was a tough job sometimes. For one thing, as those who work in restaurants know, it’s hard being on your feet all day plus I was working in a hot kitchen, washing dishes at the end of the night, and getting home after closing time to try to get homework done.
Beyond that, when I started as a pre-adolescent, 11-year old, it was a little bit of a challenge to get adults to trust that I could get things right. They sometimes would question me whether I wrote down their order correctly or would make a pizza how they wanted it. We also had one of those manual cash registers where you only punch in the sale and it doesn’t tell you the change to give. I quickly learned how to accurately count change and how to confidentially hand it back to those adults knowing I got the amount right. To this day, I can still tell you how much change to give someone (and why) if the sale is $6.07 and someone hands you a $10 bill, a dollar, and a dime.
I’m a firm believer that much of what you spend time doing in your youth forms the person you become later in life. All those years working for my parents taught me a lot about what makes me the HR Business Partner that I’ve become today. It taught me the value of hard work, how to be willing to tackle anything, and how to give the best service to a customer, no matter how difficult they can be. But most importantly, since I was closely tied to the owners of the business – my parents – it taught me to treat every job I’ve done since with the loyalty and commitment of an owner. I don’t say that to boost my ego. It’s more that it’s something built into my nature and hard to turn off. I’m thankful it’s something that has helped me succeed in a career where daily I work with small to medium-sized business owners.
I did get a formal education after working for my parents, and I have had some influential and important HR experience over the years. But that’s something for a LinkedIn profile. Suffice it to say that, given the opportunity, I strive to become the partner, advisor or consultant for each client at TPCHR. To share the things I’ve learned but also learn from them. To do all I can to help them succeed no matter what task is placed before me. Yes, I might even be willing to help wash the dishes.
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