GOD, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of GOD for the rest of my life.

King David. The Book

Our fourth value at First Rate is Enjoy. God is all about enjoying life! I believe First Rate can play a role in helping people walk into God’s desire and design for living. We are a relationship-based business. Our business will flourish if our relationships flourish. I believe relationships flourish when both parties walk in their God-given design and purpose. That’s “Enjoy”! That’s what First Rate Living really means.

Since we spend most of our waking hours at work or on the job, it’s important to consider how the time will be lived. I believe we can enjoy our work. But, we need to be intentional. We proactively approach this value with our co-workers, our customers and our communities.

During one period of our company’s history, we setup a committee to organize activities and events in the spirit of Enjoy. Their goal was to create unexpected and unusual experiences of joy for our co-workers.

It’s the same spirit we want to extend to our customers and our communities.

Here are some examples:

  • We had limousines pick up our co-workers at the office and take them to a food and games business where we could all play Laser Tag or go bowling. It was a blast!
  • We like to entertain customers and let them feel the “wow” of our appreciation. Sometimes its meals, sporting events, tours or pampering on a trip to our offices.
  • Our communities receive the attention as well. We like to bless charities with our work, our wisdom and our wealth.
    We think First Rate and every other business can bring joy into people’s lives. We have to look for ways to share the journey we enjoy. We have to look for ways to enjoy the journey we share.

First Rate Living is Enjoy!

Enjoy our co-workers

“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

Jesus of Nazareth. The Book

  • One weekend a year, in the spring, First Rate rents Pine Cove Conference Center for our employees and their families. We call it The First Rate Living Weekend Retreat.

    At six Friday night we gather in the main building of the campground where the activities will take place. We see our employees with their families playing Ping Pong, shooting pool, competing over a board game, or just hanging out, engaged in good conversation.

    We enter the Dining Hall, where there’s a giant Pizza Party! Once at the tables, the conversations get even more involved. The main reason we host this Weekend Retreat is to say thanks to our employees for working hard. This is one small reward—a free weekend of total enjoyment!

    Our Chaplain, Jud, serves as host and he turns it over to me for the official welcome. “Trina and I are so glad you made time in your schedule to come out and join us here. This is a weekend that’s all about fun, so I don’t want you to forget that.”

    Jud then introduces our speaker. We don’t want preachy, so we have a speaker who is fun, funny, entertaining, yet offering us a challenge.

    When the meeting concludes, some retire to their cabins, while others head back to the game room, while still others just visit.
    On Saturday morning, after breakfast, our speaker delivers two more sessions. As the morning closes, Jud announces, “Pine Cove has many activities. We have horseback riding, a Zip Line, canoes, basketball, Ping Pong, and Frisbee golf. And don’t be shy about going back to your cabin for an afternoon nap!”

    The fun doesn’t end at night. Saturday night is Bingo night. And not just ordinary Bingo. It’s Dave’s Bodacious Bingo.
    My Bingo comes with all kinds of prizes. It feels like they’re being awarded every two minutes and nobody is being left out.
    Sunday morning offers one final session. It all flew by. Fun never slows things down. It’s just the opposite. Enjoyment speeds things up, and before you know it, it’s over.

    That’s why it’s important to keep the value of enjoy in our focus at all times. Granted life can’t be one continuous party, but the more we can find enjoyment in life, the better off we’re going to be.

    First Rate Living is Enjoy with our co-workers!

Enjoy our communities

“The kind of fasting I want calls you to free those who are wrongly imprisoned and to stop oppressing those who work for you. Treat them fairly and give them what they earn. I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

The Book

  • Around ten years ago we decided to have our annual Sales and Marketing departments retreat out west in San Diego. There were no complaints everyone who visits there agree that it is one of the prettiest cities and climates in all the United States. Of course, I had an additional agenda attached to this conference. Once the formal meetings were concluded, we went across the border to do a Homes of Hope build in Tijuana, Mexico.

    We met the young woman whose house we would be building and she was grateful beyond what we had normally perceived from previous new homeowners. “I don’t have a husband,” she explained in broken English. “My father is very angry that I have my children and we have no place to live. Your gift of a house is so special to me. And your timing is so perfect. My father just announced to me that if I don’t get a place to stay in the next two days, he is going to take my children away from me!” By now her voice was broken and the tears were flowing. We tried our best to assure her that we’d finish her house in time.

    Unfortunately, tears weren’t the only things that were flowing at that time. No sooner had we begun the project than down came the rain. Not sprinkling. Not drizzle. It was a Mexican downpour!

    I must admit there was more than one time that I began to doubt that we’d get the house finished.

    But we did.

    The young lady was overjoyed that her new home was available. But there’s even more to this story.

    When we turned over the front door key to the young lady, naturally her children were with her. But there was another person present—one we had not expected.

    Right behind her was her father.

    We didn’t know if he was going to be pleased, displeased, happy or sad. We were delighted when his reaction could only be described as ‘blown away’!

    “Why would someone do this for my daughter?” was the obvious question from the older gentleman. We were able to give him our honest answer and as a result, he wanted to hear more about Jesus. Before that trip was complete, a man had been born into the God’s forever family. Talk about making a sales and marketing retreat enjoyable!

    First Rate Living is Enjoy our Communities!

Enjoy our customers

“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.”

Jesus of Nazareth. The Book

  • I know a pretty good amount about our Performance Conference, but the man with the greatest amount of knowledge on the subject is Terry Gaines. As Managing Director, Terry has been at First Rate since 2000 and believe me, he knows the ropes and he knows fun!

    I invited him into my office for a conversation about the annual customer conference, so he could fill in the details of which I was fuzzy.

    “Okay,” I said, “Tell me a little bit more about the ‘fun’ aspect of these gatherings. After all, this is an event that celebrates the ‘enjoy’ value of First Rate, correct?”

    “You are absolutely correct, Dave,” Terry answered emphatically. “The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the fun of this event is the dinners. We always plan for dinners that are entertaining. In years past we’ve had singers, comedians, dueling pianos, all sorts of wild and crazy stuff!”

    “We’ve also had some fun outings,” he continued. “Obviously the Four Seasons Las Colinas offers some of the finest golf you will ever experience. And the Spa is world class, too. We’ve done tours of Dallas, including the JFK exhibit, museums, and of course, a tour of Cowboy Stadium,” he added with that pride only a diehard Cowboy fan can exude. “I remember a client we had from New York who was a huge Cowboy fan, just about reduced to tears when he got to see Cowboy Stadium,” Terry added in order to maximize the power of that place.

    “And another thing that always makes these events so much fun is that we have a theme that runs through the entire two and a half days.”

    “One of my favorites was the year we decided on Hollywood as our theme. Do you remember that one, Dave?” Terry asked.

    “Oh yeah, I nodded, “that was a crazy one.”

    “Your nephew, Jud got all dressed up in a costume to look like a wild, crazy, erratic Hollywood director, remember?”

    “How can I forget?” I mused.

    “He was in these skits we would do and he would always be big and bold and so full of himself, no one could stand him,” Terry recalled. “And, of course, we would follow up each skit with the line, That’s not the First Rate way of doing things! It was totally effective… and totally enjoyable.”

    First Rate Living is Enjoy our customers!