Saturday, September 11, 2010

A day in the life, the installer goes to Garmin school.

Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup,
And looking up I noticed I was late.
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the car in seconds flat.

"A day in the life" Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Cub Band, circa a long time ago, and slightly stepped on

This is how my day started on Tuesday. Up at 3:00 am, out the door at 4:00 am, drive from Sarasota to Dania Florida (Ft. Lauderdale), grinding through the Miami rush hour traffic in a driving rain storm clutching a map, and arriving at the International Game Fishing Association museum at about 8:30 am. I want to dispel that ugly myth right now, that your installer's days are spent drinking Pina Coladas, and going for boat rides, while charging fees that would make a brain surgeon envious.

So my school day starts at 9:00 am at the International Game Fishing Association's museum, where Garmin has arranged the meeting rooms for the day. I suspect the location selection was not an accident, and it sure beat the meeting rooms at the local airport hotel. The IGFA facility is a stunning modern building, and as you can imagine is filled with world record fishing memorabilia. Garmin representatives check you in, and point you to a buffet filled with bagels, rolls, fruit, and lots of hot coffee.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many installers were there to take the class, and the large number of Garmin staff that were available during the presentations, most of whom were technical staff, although a couple of senior sales staff were present to keep an eye on the technical staff, or was the technical staff there to keep an eye on the sales guys?

Oy vey! do you see the size of the book, and I have to learn all this today? Actually the book is worth its weight in gold. It contains almost every installation manual for Garmin marine products, and a wealth of other technical, and product information. The contents are also on a CD inside the book.

So off we go at 9:oo am, and John Murch does most of the primary technical presentations.
It was a fast paced presentation, with the presumption that everyone in the room had a Garmin installation background baseline. The thing I liked best about John's presentation, was the interactive aspect. If you stuck your hand up, and ask for clarification, or a question, things stopped, and you got an answer. If John didn't know the answer, and it wasn't often, the other Garmin personnel either knew, or were on the the phone, and or computer, and you had the answer ASAP. This format kept the presentation lively, and interesting.

The day relentlessly goes on, there were breaks to refill your coffee, and lunch was provided (the lasagna was bland, and I wished there was some Tabasco to be found). From Chartplotters, to sonar, to radar, a terrific autopilot presentation from Robert Archer, one of the original TR-1 personnel, and software. No Garmin technical subject was left out. There was also virtually every marine product Garmin sells on display to play with.

All of a sudden it is almost 5:00 and it is test time. Seventy five questions later, (I missed three, semantics are everything), you are given the grand prize. The Garmin technical, and good house keeping seal of approval.

I leave at about 6:00, arrive home at 10:00, let the greyhounds girls out, had a bourbon, and passed out.

The following morning, I bestowed some of my new intellectual largess on a client, who had been having some particularly vexing issues. Using one of the hidden diagnostic screens I had learned about, I found a vital clue about what was happening, and shortly the problem was corrected. You can teach an old dog new tricks. 

With thanks to Joe Cornwall for the use of the IGFA mueseum photo, Joe is the webmaster of the Fly Fish Ohio website.

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