Nice Guys Don’t Finish Last: Spotlight on Ben Weiss
Who says nice guys finish last? Don’t tell that to Ben Weiss, because if the saying were true, he might not have played an instrumental role in Sherriff-Goslin Company securing the large-scale condo project in Marblehead, Ohio.
With Weiss, what you see is what you get. Though he once did four laps in an Indy car at the Indianapolis 500 Speedway and met President Carter in the Rose Garden of the White House, he’s still a guy who lives a simple lifestyle and values family above all else.
Weiss grew up in a family of 11 children in a tiny town just northwest of Richmond, Indiana, called Greens Fork. He began learning the family dairy farming business at an early age.
After high school, he officially went into business with his father when the two decided to invest in even more cows. His background led him to join the Future Farmers of America (FFA), which recognized his leadership potential and sent him out as a speaker to promote farming to young people.
Because of his father’s failing health, Weiss was unable to enroll in agriculture school at Purdue University because, as he put it, “In dairy farming, it’s pretty hard to take even one day away from the job. The cows never go on vacation.”
In 1985, Weiss and his father came to the difficult decision that dairy farming could no longer provide a profitable future. After coming across a Sherriff-Goslin newspaper ad for a salesperson at the Richmond, Indiana branch and talking to an acquaintance about the benefits of working there, he applied for the job.
Though Weiss partnered with standout salesman Jerry Doddridge and they learned how to sell Art-Loc shingles together, his first stint with Sherriff-Goslin was a short one. Weiss thought he could be more useful to the branch as assistant manager. The general manager at the time, Dwayne Rank, declined and Weiss turned in his resignation.
“I jumped from the frying pan into the fire,” he said of his next job: making wire harnesses for the automobile industry. Weiss felt like a number. No matter how hard he worked, he knew he had no way to increase his earnings.
Realizing he had made a huge mistake, he contacted Skip Sherriff about coming back to work for the company – this time as a manager. Sherriff told him about a town in Ohio called Mansfield, and how the company had closed up shop there some 10 years prior. Without hesitation, Weiss and his wife Jewell packed the car and headed out on their new adventure. They fell in love with the city and decided to put down roots, raising their two daughters, Shannon and Lara, there.
In his free time, Weiss can be found in Indianapolis visiting his four young grandchildren. Otherwise, he’s usually at home working on his old Case farm tractor. He says he’s got it running pretty good now.
Weiss isn’t quite ready to retire just yet, though, because he continues to enjoy setting goals in his business and working hard to achieve them. He feels his team in Mansfield is capable of reaching those goals. Other than that, Weiss hopes to help more new people succeed at Sherriff-Goslin by sharing the wisdom of his favorite quote. “Your smile is your logo. Your personality is your business card. How you leave others feeling after an experience becomes your trademark.”