The Haws corporation sign in front of their headquarters in Reno, NevadaIt was March 2013 when I found my way to the biggest little city in the world – Reno, Nevada. I went dreaming of two things: winning millions, or marrying rich and never coming back. Spoiler alert: neither happened. In reality, I was there for work, so I figured I better make the most of my time there and learn a thing or two along the way.

Throughout my career in safety, I’ve seen all kinds of new and exciting products along the way. Emergency showers had certainly crossed my path, but I didn’t know how to sell them or exactly what to do with them in order to add them to my “repertoire of specialties.” Don’t get me wrong, I had some fundamental knowledge of them and had taught myself the basics enough to be able to sell them. But one day, that all changed.

My general manager knows that emergency showers were something I dealt with on the regular, and he asked if I might be interested in attending Haws University (lovingly referred to as “Haws U”). I took the pamphlet he gave me and read up on what the training was all about. At first I thought “I’m already doing an okay job of selling this stuff; do I really need to go?” Then it hit me – why wouldn’t I take my boss up on a trip to Reno? I’d have the chance to learn more about Haws products, and hopefully some spare time for a little fun.

So I arrived in Reno, Nevada. I was due at the Haws facility for 7:00 am, and boy did it come fast! I am definitely not a morning person. I have to admit, I wasn’t anticipating an exciting day ahead of me. How much could I possibly learn about emergency showers? Well, turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. I had the opportunity to construct a portable shower from the ground up (an Axion Emergency Shower and Eyewash combination unit, to be exact) and literally put all the pieces of these units together until I had built the finished product! It was a really great way to learn how an emergency shower functions, and gave me a lot of insight into all the parts that make it work. I also had the opportunity to meet the president of a Mexican water company who was there under a partnership between Brita and Haws to change the way students in Mexico access their drinking water. It was a real eye-opener for me – I’d gone to Haws U assuming that there was a specific industry that emergency showers of custom solutions apply to, when really, the opportunities for usage are endless.

Take a look for yourself!  I don’t claim to be a guru; you can never learn it all. I still learn something every time I work on a Haws project, but these days, I’m so much more confident in selling emergency showers – and understanding the technical jargon.  Almost 3 years later, Haws emergency products have become something I deal with, speak to, or sell monthly. I’m also comfortable reaching out to Haws’ team of engineers if there is something I don’t understand – I had to accept my limits at some point! Being an engineer was never in my future.

Would I go back? In a heartbeat! Maybe I could work in a yearly trip to Reno to brush up on my skills, eh Bruce? You never know – I just might come close to being as good as the Haws reps I met during my travels!

Alton Newman

Market Segment Manager. Fire and Emergency Services

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