Our industry has lost one of the people who make the wall and ceiling industry what it is, an honorable and respected profession. I am sure that every industry has people of influence and dedication; John Bucholtz, P.E., of the Plaster Information Bureau was one of these people. Yes, I said was. Mr. Bucholtz passed away recently and will be sorely missed by the industry. Many readers might remember John from the newsletter he published, Techniques and Comments. I can see the lights go on as the number of people who knew him just tripled.
I spoke with John on several occasions about several controversial industry issues. While we did not always agree about everything, I found him respectful and knowledgeable about the industry and even my opposing opinions. I never had the chance to meet John and for that I feel I missed a great opportunity. I wished I would have had the chance to sit down, have a coffee with John to discuss and possibly even argue about the industry. I always found his ideas intriguing and he usually made me think from a different perspective. Isn’t that what we should all strive for, to think outside the box and away from our preconceived ideas?
A WAKE-UP CALLJohn’s passing is a wake-up call for me. One has to take action and not let opportunities just slip away. If you see someone you have been wanting to talk to, go up and talk to them. I know he was more than willing to meet me for a coffee, anytime, anyplace. I blew it, badly. I had so many questions to ask him, so much to learn, and I missed that opportunity. John was one of the stewards of the industry. There are other gurus out there and I will not make the same mistake twice. I have learned my lesson and even John’s passing will continue to make a change in people. I will go out of my way to sit down with some of the other great industry mentors like Walt Pruter, Tom Geary and Dick Gorman. These men are the original authors of the Plaster and Drywall Systems manual, still considered the bible by most architects around the country for plaster and drywall.
Industry publications are not rare; indeed, they are quite common. They are published all the time. The rare thing is for one to last more than a few months or even a few years. However, publications that stand the test of time for decades like Techniques and Comments, the Plaster and Drywall Systems manual and Walls & Ceilings are to be admired. It is not easy to publish a newsletter, manual or magazine that can stand up to the test of time, keep us thinking and be relevant to the industry. John was successful at that, very successful.
John also published the Consumers Stucco Handbook. This inexpensive booklet was a Godsend for homeowners who needed help understanding the basics of stucco. His wit and common sense approach made him fun to read and educate at the same time. I know over the years I referenced the book many times. John’s credentials as a professional engineer combined with his love for writing and passion for the stucco industry made him one of the most respected experts in the country. He was a force in the industry and mega giant corporations like Disney, Marriot and Holiday Inns relied on his expertise.
I am fortunate and made many good decisions in my life. However, I have also missed some opportunities. We should think about opportunities and how truly fleeting they can be. We may assume the opportunity will always be there, but things change and it could be gone before you know it. Opportunities may be meeting people, a change in a business plan, a new contact or reconnecting with an old one, but opportunities should not be wasted, missed or overlooked. I know I missed my opportunity to sit with one of the great stewards of the industry. John Bucholtz made me think and I know I will miss him.