Some people consider retirement as “being put out to pasture” … for others, retirement is merely changing fields.
Such is the case for John Alarid, an RK Black service technician for 36 plus years who last week retired from his work “in the field” taking care of our clients to take on his new role of literally working in the “field” on his 160 acres of family-owned property.
“There are about three miles of fence to be cleaned up, repaired and replaced,” said John, speaking of his vision for retirement. His property is near Bristow and includes a grove of pecan trees and some cattle. Clearly, there won’t be time for sitting in his rocking chair on the front porch, at least not for a while.
The plan right now is to sell his house in Oklahoma City and move to Creek County to live on and manage the property — but not before taking his family to Disney World for Christmas.
Born in Oklahoma, John is no stranger to new fields or to big moves. His parents were in the Foreign Service so John spent much of his childhood moving.
From Oklahoma to the World and Back Again
At age 6, his family left Oklahoma and lived all over the world — in Poland, Paraguay, Washington, D.C., Thailand, Korea, Italy and eastern Zaire (today, the Democratic Republic of Congo) — before returning home at age 18.
Arriving in Oklahoma, John attended the University of Oklahoma to earn a business degree but left to work as an ambulance attendant and dispatcher, and later he left that field to be a truck driver, which he did for five years. In 1978, he married the love of his life, Beverly Coffee.
After deciding he didn’t want to spend another 30 or 40 years on the road driving a big rig, John began searching for another career. Seeing the rise of computers, he decided to enter the field of electronics and began taking courses at Moore Norman Technology. He had been studying there for nearly a year-and-a-half when RK Black discovered and recruited him; that was in May of 1984.
A Home at RK Black
John began his career servicing 3M business products and later moved to Ricoh, Canon, Sharp and Kyocera copy systems.
“That’s what I’ve been doing all this time,” he said.
Asked what kept him at RK Black all these years, John said it was the company’s standards for expertise and his love for providing care to his clients.
“RK Black is a great place to work! Fantastic owners and good people to work with. I always say, ‘If you’re not having fun doing what you're doing, don’t do it,’ and RK Black was fun, the work was just a tool. The fun part was traveling around, meeting lots of people and just trying to keep them happy.”
Though the travels in his early life often left him feeling like the odd man out, it also helped him in his career at RK Black.
“You don’t belong everywhere, but you can fit in everywhere,” he said, explaining how he felt his childhood relocations helped him be better able to connect with clients so he could understand and fix the problems they were experiencing.
At RK Black, John found a home.
“It’s kind of a big family. Bob and Lorraine (the original owners) were the father and mother of the family, Chris (one of Bob’s sons and current owner and president) was the big brother, and your coworkers were the siblings and cousins.”
Farewell and Happy Trails!
Last Thursday, we threw a send-off party at our corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City in celebration of John’s many years of devoted service at RK Black.
Among the retirement gifts were some fun items (fishing rods, lures, etc.), some practical items (work gloves, fence repair tools, etc.) and some money for his family trip to Disney World.
Chris Black sums it up best … “It has been a pleasure to have John on our team and an honor to work with him over these many years, John always took great care of our clients and helped build our local reputation for outstanding service … he will truly be missed!”
John and Beverly, enjoy this new chapter in your life … stop by when you’re back in town, and please remember to save some of those pecans for us this Fall!
About R.K. Black, Inc.
R.K. Black, Inc. is an Oklahoma City-based, family-owned leading provider of office technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in Oklahoma and Kansas. We specialize in everything business technology from copier, fax, printer and scanner technology to document management, onsite paper shredding services, VoIP phone systems and managed IT support to video surveillance solutions.
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