Occasionally, I will get asked about the BGW Logo. While I typically give a fairly straightforward and simple answer, the truth is, there is a very deep and personal message in it for me. My stock answer is to simply explain that, “it’s a circular saw…and the letters BGW are my grandfather’s initials.” But that’s not close to the reality of how my chosen icon represents my business and personal philosophy.
The thing is, there’s no way to briefly explain how important a circular saw is to me, what it represents, and how both my father and grandfather inspired me with it. It’s also too complicated to get in to the nuanced discussion about how the letters BGW also represent my father, my son, and myself. I share the name Robert (Bob) Glenn Williams with my grandfather. My son shares the name Robert (Rob) Earl Williams with his grandfather (my father). But it’s deeper than that. You have to know some history about my grandfather, and how through his personal faith and love for his family, he broke the cycle of alcoholism and abandonment that his father brought into our family tree over three quarters of a century ago.
When my grandfather was just around 12 years old, his alcoholic dad left him, his two brothers, and their mother. Forced to tend to the family farm alone, it was too much for them, and they ended up losing their precious home. Bouncing around from job to job, while still finishing high school, my grandpa found it difficult to trust others with his future going forward. Even a good job at Allison back in the late 40’s and early 50’s didn’t give him the emotional security he needed after suffering such a brutal emotional scar that is created when a parent leaves a child.
Grandpa realized that he had to put his trust in something else – that he just couldn’t suffer working for ‘other people’. He also knew that the Good Lord equipped him with the talent and work ethic to be successful in anything. So he scraped together some money and bought some land off of US40 in Plainfield, Indiana. There, he built a business that became known as much for their quality work as their integrity in how they dealt with customers. Bob Williams, along with his brothers, Delbert and John, ran Williams Brothers TV and Appliances for almost half a century. If you are reading this and are from the Indy Westside, I’m sure you have family members who did business with Williams Brothers.
Growing up, my grandfather created a legacy of family and love that carries on in our family today. Family is everything…you don’t miss weddings, funerals, or any excuse to get together. You take care of one another. Above all, you are always there for each other. There was no foolishness with my grandfather…if you were making poor decisions, you heard about it. Few would dispute the wisdom he exuded and helping hand he was constantly offering. My father has followed that same example, and has taught me to try and be that same type of man. Together, we are teaching my son these same fatherly rules for living.
So you have probably figured out the shield (US40 road sign), and now you know what the BGW stands for…but what is it about the Circular Saw? Let me tell you, that saw was my grandfather and father’s personal tool of choice. They could do anything with it. Have you ever seen a great carpenter work with that tool? Doing things that you didn’t realize it was designed to do? It’s a violent, dangerous machine that can be a carpenter’s best friend or worst enemy. There’s an anger to it when it’s fired up, but in the right hands, it can make something beautiful, functional, and give it purpose.
The circular saw (or Skilsaw as dad calls it), is an amazing metaphor for my business philosophy (and life philosophy). I could build just about anything with that one tool and a hammer…that’s all I would need. It would take longer, but as gramps would say, “Can’t just takes a little longer.” It’s one of the oldest modern building tools, having been improved on countless times over the decades, but that speaks to it’s importance in the hands of a craftsman. Just like the improvements made with the Skilsaw over the years, I hope that I’ve taken my grandfather’s wisdom and fearless approach to life and family and improved upon it. When I look at an old Skilsaw, I see an efficient, creative, hard-working, problem solving, powerful and dependable partner in my building…just like my grandfather and father were and are. That’s the BGW Logo.
Happy Father’s Day 2016 from BGW