LIVONIA, MI–Following a discussion of the Detroit Lions with a potential customer Monday, Kwik-Kool Heating & Air Conditioning sales representative Kevin Resnick mentioned that he played a little football back in college.
"Speaking of football, I used to toss the pigskin around a bit myself," the 36-year-old told Little Red Barn Plush Toys CEO Grant Nussbaum, who was looking into a Kwik-Kool heat and air system for his new factory. "Yup, played two full seasons at Central Michigan. I was a walk-on as a freshman, but by sophomore year, I practically had a full ride."
During the one-hour meeting at Little Red Barn's Livonia headquarters, Nussbaum learned that Resnick played defensive back at CMU for two years, but blew out his right knee in May 1983.
"It was the annual spring intrasquad game, between my sophomore and junior year, and on the very first play from scrimmage I tore my ACL," Resnick told the toy manufacturer. "And that pretty much ended that."
"I still remember those practices," said Resnick, unfolding a glossy Kwik-Kool brochure. "Coach Meijer would put us through hell, pardon my French. The first week of training camp, we'd run 10 miles in full pads every morning and then cool down with something easy, like, oh, 25 windsprints. And even us guys who weren't starters had to do the full thing. It was insane."
"But it was a good experience," Resnick added. "Meijer was a tough bastard, but he taught me a lot about life."
Mark Meijer, retired but still living in Mt. Pleasant near the CMU campus, said he could not recall Resnick specifically, but noted that "all of [his] players were good, solid boys."
"I've put on a few pounds since then, of course," said Resnick, patting his growing paunch. "But I do try to get out and shoot some hoops now and then, and I play in the company's volleyball league every summer."
According to Resnick, "keeping physically active is the key to staying mentally active." Throughout his 11 years at Kwik-Kool, he has had the opportunity to share such bits of wisdom with coworkers, heating-and-cooling-industry suppliers, and Kwik-Kool clients, whom he frequently treats to expenses-paid lunches at local taverns.
"Those were some of the best years of my life," Resnick said during one such three-hour meeting at J.T. McBleacher's Sports Pub with Denkinger Lanes owner Russ Denkinger, who was considering a new air-conditioning system for his bowling alley. "Being out there under the lights during a big game, everyone cheering–what a high. Of course, I only saw a few minutes of game time–it was a very seasoned team. But you should have seen that locker room after a win. Man, that was brotherhood."
Denkinger ultimately decided not to purchase a system from Resnick.
Despite his reminiscing, Resnick is anything but living in the past, and is "extremely excited" about his future with Kwik-Kool, a fast-growing company that has doubled its revenues over the last decade and has plans to branch out with offices as far away as Fort Wayne, IN, in the next 18 months.
"I've got a great life–a beautiful wife, two great kids, and a new 21-foot Sea Ray," said Resnick, pulling a picture of the motorboat from his wallet. "I'm pretty much right on track in terms of the goals I've set and where I wanted to see myself at 35."
Though he has not yet been tapped for any management positions at the company, Resnick did sell the most units in the third quarter of 1995, an achievement that earned him Kwik-Kool "Sales Star Of The Month" honors for September of that year.
"Kevin may not be our star player, but he's a very important member of the Kwik-Kool team," said Dale Rindfleisch, Kwik-Kool regional manager and starting third baseman for George Mason University from 1983 to 1985. "To succeed in business, as in sports, you need more than great starters–you also need a solid bench."