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Armstrong Relocation Dallas President Michael Gonzales was honored today along with other minority business leaders by the Dallas Business Journal, which presented them with a glass plaque and a biographical article in the publication’s online and special print editions. The group was honored for their hard work, business acumen, vision and entrepreneurship. We’ve included the entire write-up, as well as a video, about our fearless leader. Congrats, Mike!

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Michael Gonzales – Minority Business Leader Awards

Premium content from Dallas Business Journal

Date: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 9:15am CST

Mike Gonzales grew up in a household in Little Mexico — where English was the only language spoken. His war-bride mother only spoke German, so for her to learn the language, Gonzales and his four siblings never spoke Spanish. He never did learn the language. Now 55 and president of Armstrong Relocation Dallas, Gonzales credits his success to working hard and helping others.

Where were you born? Dallas

Describe your family: I married my high school sweetheart, had three wonderful children and have more recently been blessed with two grandchildren.

Tell us about growing up: Growing up with four siblings and being the smallest does not make for an easy childhood. We lived quite modestly in a small house and our father, who worked in the restaurant business, had to work very long hours to keep our family fed. My mother was a war bride from Germany and came to live in America, but she always did a lot of funny things because of the cultural differences. I also remember spending a lot of time at our grandparents’, who lived in Little Mexico before it was eaten up by Uptown. We would travel all over Dallas riding the Dallas bus system because my grandfather had retired as a mechanic and was given a lifetime bus pass. They never did own a car. Although we didn’t have a lot of money, I don’t ever remember feeling like we wanted for anything. It seemed like a week never went by where one of us was not in some kind of trouble, but with four boys what would you expect? And through it all, we turned out alright.

Describe an experience that shaped your future: A few years before I purchased part of this company, I was questioning where I was and what I was doing. I happened to listen to a motivational tape that told a sto

ry called the “River of Diamonds” which briefly explains that you don’t have to go looking everywhere to find happiness/fortune because many times they are right there in your own backyard.

Education: BBA, University of North Texas    University of North Texas

Describe your first “real” job: My first real job was as bus boy for a small restaurant in Irving, and I immediately got promoted to cook.

How did you get into your industry? Believe it or not, as a sophomore in college I was looking for a summer job and just opened the Yellow Pages. I started at ‘A’ and cold-called companies, asking if anyone needed summer help. I reached this company and they said come on down and we’ll put you to work on the moving trucks. The rest is history.

How did you become an owner? After 12 years of working at Armstrong, one of the partners was considering leaving the business and we met one evening. We passed a napkin back and forth with each of us writing our price and in five minutes we had a deal. I got the best end of the deal.

Describe the greatest challenge you’ve faced: I have been truly blessed most of my life so I haven’t had too many things to test me, but one thing that sticks with me happened during high school after I had been dating a particular girl in my class for a few weeks. Our home phone rang one day, my oldest brother answered it and the woman on the other end was the mother of the girl I was dating. She proceeded to yell at my brother that I was not going to date her daughter because I was not good enough. She thought she was talking to my father but she never asked, and we both decided it was best not to tell our dad as he had a healthy temper. That stuck with me for a long time, and I still don’t know whether she didn’t like me, my family, our last name or what. I then decided that I would never let that bother me again and that I would work hard to make sure no one ever had reason to question whether I was good enough for anything or anyone. I also hoped that my kids would never be subject to anything like that in their lives. That seems so long ago.

How have you overcome it? By working harder and helping others, I hope I have earned the respect to prevent me from being judged by anyone or anybody.

What is the secret to your success? Treat others with respect and always give more than what people expect. And never quit smiling.

What community service are you involved in? Catholic Charities, Holy Family Catholic School,United Way, Toastmasters, Knights of Columbus, Small World Charity, Turtle Creek Recovery Center and Carter Blood Bank.

What drives you to give back? We are only on this earth for a very short time, some more and some less, but I feel we are all here to help others in some kind of way. By giving back I think it’s my small way of using the time I’m here to make it a better place for others.

How do you mentor others? I have never considered myself a good teacher because, in some ways, I don’t always have the patience. My mentoring style is to put that person in the seat and allow them to just do it while pointing out and discussing how to handle particular situations.

What are your goals for 2012? To become a better public speaker, make a difference for a cause, and grow my business 10 percent.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years? I don’t see too much changing in five years as I love where I am and what I am doing. In 10 years, I hope I am able to spend a little less time working and more time helping other organizations that help people.

What are you most known for? I believe I am most known for my dependability and loyalty to my friends, family, coworkers and customers.

Describe something others would be surprised to find out about you: Others might be surprised to find I am an avid motivational tape enthusiast; I used to own hot dog stands in downtown Dallas and sold hot chocolate up and down the aisles in the old Texas Stadium — anything for a buck!

Armstrong Relocation – Dallas

  • Industry: Relocation
  • Headquarters: Memphis, Tenn.
  • Local address: 1405 Crescent Drive, Carrollton 75006
  • Top executive: Jeff Watson, CEO
  • Annual revenue: $22,500,000
  • Number of employees: 200
  • Phone: 972-242-0511
  • Website: http://www.armstrongrelocationdallas.com
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When most people think of storage for their household belongings, they think of private mini-storage. These are those establishments that will rent you a 10-foot-by-10-foot storage locker or garage on a month-t0-month basis. They typically have a gate that restricts access to vehicles with a gate code and allow their tenants to come and go during regular hours. This is not the case when you store with a moving company, at least a moving company associated with a van line such as United.

Armstrong Relocation’s Carrollton warehouse has 94,000 square feet of storage capacity in which we store our customers’ belongings. The goods are wrapped with protective pads and carefully packed into wooden storage vaults, each of which can hold about as many items as would fit into a 1-bedroom efficiency apartment. They are secured tightly with steel clamps and are not accessed until they are delivered to the final destination via truck. Here’s our President, Mike Gonzales, demonstrating the storage vaults in our warehouse.

 

 

In addition to the wooden vaults, each customer’s belongings are protected by an alarm system that is remotely monitored by ADT Security, as well as closed-circuit video cameras surrounding the exterior of the facility. A massive water sprinkler system is also in place to guard against the possiblity of fire damage.

One caveat for our customers to be aware of is the limited access they have to their belongings while in storage with us. Due to the way in which the items are stored, and the fact that we are not set up to receive customers as retail mini-storage facilities are, we require advance notice for requests to access the vaults. Some warehouse labor is also necessary in order to make the vault accessible to customers. For these reasons, customers typically only store items they will likely not need access to until the entire shipment is delivered to the final destination.

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This is a very interesting article based on results from a worldwide Manpower Group survey. This trend, if indeed it is a trend, will eventually prompt employers to beef up their benefits packages, including their employee relocation policy. As experts in employee mobility, that’s exactly where we can help.

Role reversal: Employers say they can’t find workers.

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As an agent for United Van Lines that moves people both domestically and internationally, we know how hectic moving time can be. Moving to an entirely new country can make your move even more stressful, so we want to try and make this transition as easy as possible for you.

We thought we would send a few helpful things your way if you are making this move overseas!

Some good reads

The “Culture Shock!” series is great and each book is actually very interesting and not boring at all. Definitely an entertaining series. Most all of these books can be found new or used on amazon.

 For those of you women moving overseas, it’s definitely worth it to check out the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas, inc. (FAWCO).  This is an organization that has over 75+ member clubs in 40 countries worldwide. Not only do these groups help you with settling in and handling mundane things like voting overseas (think voting for the next president while living abroad), but they also just get together for fun things like celebrating American holidays such as Thanksgiving or the 4th of July!  It’s basically an instant group of American girlfriends in another country! So check them out here and see if your new location has a chapter!
 
Electricity and voltage are important to consider when moving abroad.  This can affect everything from your hair straightener to your washing machine. Therefore it’s important to find out what your new country’s electricity and voltage are and consider that when deciding what items to move versus leaving behind. 
Australia for examples uses these
 
and Germany uses these
 
Find out more info regarding plugs/volts/electricity here
 
Conversions and measurements might be something new to you especially when considering cooking, temperatures, and driving.  A convenient website that will help you with this is Online Conversions.
 
Further websites to check out:
 
Cheers!
Adrian

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The reason that ease of employee mobility is so important to the corporation is simple: success in the marketplace is due to the ability and desire of its human capital. Studies don’t have to show (because it’s common sense) that happy, unfettered employees are much more likely to perform at their highest levels. This is why companies do things like offer benefits, dole out awards, have office parties and give bonuses. It’s also why a solid employee relocation policy is a necessity for any company that compensates its assignees, transferees or new employees (any kind of -ees, really).

Many companies, for various reasons, prefer a laissez-faire policy on relo. Those reasons typically include simpler bookkeeping, ease of budgeting and limiting corporate exposure/liability to problems that may arise during the moving process. Proponents of the hands-off policy will usually implement a sliding scale for lump-sum payments to defray moving costs. The -ee is then left to their own devices to, in their free time, find a real estate agent, put their home up for sale, travel to their new city to hunt for a house or temporary living, sell their home, find a reputable mover and get themselves moved into their new home. And all of this, while still trying to perform the duties of their current position, raise a family and have some sort of life. Most reasonable people might wonder how happy, healthy and productive a typical -ee can actually be during and after such a stressful ordeal.

Why then, would it not make sense to look at a relocation program that could remove most of the stress from the relocation process. Such a program might refer real estate agents who are the best in the region, ensure the home is marketed properly and the employee gets a fair price for it (no easy feat in this market). The program could offer assistance in finding a top real estate agent in the destination city to locate a new home, or temporary living, in a nice part of town with good schools. Moving the -ees’ belongings should not be left to chance, therefore a high-quality, trustworthy moving company should be plugged into a good relo program. All of this would vastly lighten the burden on an -ee and render them 10 times more productive and ready to jump into their new post right away.

This best-practice goes for the entire spectrum of relocation activity, whether it’s a corporation that relocates 5 -ees a year or 500. We should know, we serve both of those companies.

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