Barong Warehouse Customer Highlight - Dennis Pritchard
by Barong Warehouse
Dennis Pritchard is a one of our favorite Barong Warehouse customers. After he purchased one of our products and a shipping mishap occurred, he first contacted us wanting to express his disappointment, but in the end, he became a dear friend instead. Both parties realized that behind the emails and computer screens are real people who are ultimately good and can even find ways to work together more to help others. Thank you Dennis for your patronage and friendship :)
We will let Dennis tell you more about himself, his inspiring story, and his experience with Barong Warehouse in his own words.
About Me: I am President of The Huey Systems, Inc. I founded the original company in 1995, after leaving as a partner in a CPA and Accounting firm in Appleton, Wisconsin, and 12 Years in the Hospitality Industry. I originally started my company up as a business venture to provide high end accounting and sales software to small and large corporations. Someone recognized that when I met with people, my entire demeanor would change, depending on whom I was meeting from sales prospects, CEO's, and new acquaintances. They really thought it was odd, because it showed several sides of my personality and many times conflicted with their initial assessment of who they thought I really was. What I did naturally, and always have, is to assess who I was meeting with and change my communication style to fit what I thought would be more well received by whomever I was meeting. It's really natural for me, as I have always worked hard at earning people's trust, to build a positive relationship.
As they say, the rest became history, as I developed a program that was designed to teach "Anybody" how to assess themselves and others, to improve their awareness, communication, and relationship building skills. By 1996, I had written an entire assessment program and workbooks to train individuals, schools, businesses and organizations on how to use this knowledge to achieve better personal and professional success. Now we have over 10 unique applications that can help businesses, schools and organizations, while helping individuals to become confident in who they are and accelerate their success through building positive relationships at home, work, school, socially and personally.
Where I am from: I am a native of the Seattle, Washington area. However, in my early teens I moved to Wisconsin on request of my father that I hadn't seen in many years. I was a very shy kid when I left the security, comfort and love of my mother and the step-father that had raised me. My life, personality, and complete thought process changed with one phone call. I had returned for Christmas vacation in Seattle with my mother and step-father. The day before I was to return, my step-mother called and basically told me she didn't want me there anymore. My father walked into the middle of the conversation we were having on the phone (intoxicated) and after some silence during which my step-mother talked to him privately, he came on the line and "threatened" me, if I was to ever come back.
It doesn't really matter anymore why this happened, as we have reconciled and they are also now part of the company. I have much love for them, however, this phone call changed my mindset into a "I don't need anyone in this world". It's important to know this if you are to understand why all the decisions I made over the years (good and bad), helped me evolve into who I am today: Myself and my company, a family business, is dedicated to making people feel better about themselves and provide them free and forever tools to help them grow, achieve and obtain what they define as their personal success.
I went on to graduate in Appleton, Wisconsin but returned to Seattle between 1988 and 1991, when I worked for Hyatt Hotels and other hotel chains. I was transferred to The Hyatt Regency Chicago and also worked for Hyatt Corporation in Human Resources and Accounting. I ended up building retail business centers first for Hyatt and then for the Mega Convention facility for the City of Chicago. I was then recruited by The Las Vegas Convention center and duplicated those successes in that City. I then worked with a company that sent me all over the country to 5-star hotels and resorts, to consult, train, and customize property management and accounting systems. That was 20 years ago, when I moved back to Appleton, Wisconsin and my then-wife delivered the last of our four children. After working with and becoming a partner in a CPA and consulting business for a year, I felt it best to start my own company.
This company, now The Huey System, Inc., has gone through several iterations. It was originally shut down in 2000, after a few key employees were caught embezzling, literally sending me in to bankruptcy, suffering a mild heart attack, and worse than anything, the pain left by the betrayal of people I thought were closest to me. During the 8-year hiatus of the old company and what is now The Huey System, Inc., I built a general contracting company for residential housing and was recruited to Florida, after the 2004 Hurricane Ivan, that devastated the Florida Pan Handle region. I closed down that operation to pursue the new efforts to build The Huey System of today, and after 10 years in Florida, I moved back to Seattle in 2014.
Fun Facts: I am known as the Life of the Party! I live to make people laugh, which is a complete 180 to my private life, where I relish quiet family time and peacefulness. My exploits are mostly made at sociable Karaoke venues, where I sing anything from old 60's, 70's, Country and Rock to more mainstream songs just to blow peoples minds. At 48 years old, I engage into fast rap songs, that both make people crack up and completely lose it in disbelief. The local KJ is still trying to find someone that can finish Dr. Dre's section of the duet with Eminem, before they quit from lack of breathing, while I finish both sides of the duet. Whether it is playing pool, beach volleyball, karaoke or a family picnic, I am always on stage finding humor in all things in life. I carry this over to my professional life with Huey, offering a self improvement program that is as fun as it is rewarding.
My Connection to Filipino Community: My initial connection comes from my personal life, being in a romance with a Filipina. I also have had many Filipino friends both here and in the Philippines. Even during grade school, my best friend was Filipino. I have always admired the family structure they have, maybe because mine felt carved up over the years. My girlfriend shared hundreds of hours of commentary about growing up in a coconut grove on an island with no services. She also shared the stories of her village and the responsibilities of certain family members. These stories have created visions that combined with my own research on several countries and the lack of certain infrastructure.
I attended many Fil-Am meetings in Florida both with my girlfriend as well as a community activist, along with other business and city leaders. Simply put, I have an affinity for the Filipino in particular, but also with simlar situations in India, where I spent 2 months in Mumbai, witnessing strife first hand. I have come to appreciate the vigor, survival instincts and innovation of people from countries like this. I wish we could embrace in the US, the love and family principles I see in the Filipino community.
My goal after retirement is to help upstart micro-manufacturing and other industries in isolated and poor areas of the Philippines, that will feed off of each other and help keep these communities vibrant without losing their sons and daughters that feel compelled to work in the big cities or overseas. I have witnessed the sadness, pain and regret of many people that make life changing decisions, leaving their families, just so they can help them survive and thrive in a better life, to the detriment of themselves and their families and home communities.
I have joined with The Filipino Chamber of the Northwest and The Filipino Community Alliance, representing a community of over 100,000, to bring my tools for ongoing personal, professional and community development. I also am building these associations, relationships and friendships, to prepare myself for future overseas efforts in development of communities in the Philippines.
My experience with Barong Warehouse: Ah! The story that connected me accidently with one of the most inspiring young artists I have ever known; Chelo! I had been invited to a formal fundraising event with the Filipino Community Alliance to raise money for Typhoon Yolanda. As part of being a formal function, the attire required was a Barong Tagalog. The friend I have that invited me offered to lend me one, but it was way too small for my frame. So, I searched online to see if I could find one. Although there were several sites, most were just 3rd party solicitors. There was one other site that offered direct sales but it didn't feel right...something about how everything was set up...it seemed unorganized, and also high priced. I found that Barong Warehouse has great selections, good focused pictures, and fair pricing and a simple enough site to use. (Thank you Dennis, we at BW are blushing!)
I ordered my barong with 4 or 5 days for the event and selected the 2-day shipping service. To my surprise the order took a few days to get processed so by the time it was shipped, it was clear it would not arrive in time for the first of several events I will be using this Barong for. I was clearly disappointed and decided to write back to the "firstname.lastname@example.org," which usually means it goes into clouds, never to be responded to. I was shocked the next day when Chelo responded to my concerns, with a promise to not only make it right, but to pay for any additional shipping charges for any return. This is unheard of an online customer service response and more importantly, acceptance of responsibility and willingness to make everything right.
First assuming that I was talking with a man (just an assumption on my part), I was shocked after we exchanged emails regarding helping with Hurricane relief that Chelo sent me a fundraising music video! I was astonished not only by her talent and beauty but, by the dedication and heart she put into this video. I have many online friends in the damaged area and only wished I could help, as my heart cried out while seeing newscasts of the devastation. Here was a duo making a song among all of these courageous survivors. I immediately felt a connection to her and her efforts to make a difference and they were making a connection to what the local Filipino community here was aggressively involved with. Here is the music video:
I am relatively new to this area and becoming more and more acquainted with the local leaders. Soon, I hope to have a strong relationship with Chelo and this local community to continue to support the Filipino homeland and people. I won the bid for a golf outing with Brigadier General Oscar Bautista Hilman (Retired), of Joint Base Lewis McCord (A Native Filipino). I have spoken to him and many leaders about how to establish a connection with both BarongWarehouse.com and Chelo that will benefit victims of Typhoon Yolanda and any other charities serving those in need. Although we are still in the process of setting up meetings, everyone is welcoming the opportunity that Chelo can open up to this community of 100,000 Filipino's to help fellow citizens of the Philippines. THIS WILL HAPPEN!
My Passion in Life: I am sure that after reading just a summary of where I have been and how I have gotten here, you can begin to see a motivation. I have not shared with you many other devastating events in my life, but be assured they are substantial. However, I choose to have faith and move forward! Instead of negative events in my life destroying me and leaving me despondent, they have instead increased my desire to help people overcome and become positive and contributing members of society.
The best feeling I get in life is seeing the tears in the eyes of someone I helped when they realize for themselves that they too are very unique and special and if they want to, they can do or become anything. It all starts with awareness and acceptance of who we are. Once someone defines that they want, it is easy then to put yourself in a place with a higher likelihood of achieving it. I offer free and forever profiles for individuals and I intend to have it in over 20 languages. I currently am looking for someone that will work with me on our current assessment to translate into Tagalog, so that the interpretation is precise for those that don't have a full command of the English language.
As I stated earlier, long term and after the success of this business affords me the time and money, I want to reinvest in the Philippines to help strengthen a micro economy in several underserved areas while strengthening self-sustaining villages and towns, that can begin a new era of making major contributions to the Philippines economy. My goal is to provide start up resources, training, and education until these operations are self sustaining and then turn them over to the local workers and community to continue growth while providing ever increasing jobs to the community.
To contact Dennis directly, please e-mail him at: email@example.com or check out his website: www.hueyhire.com
Only a small percentage of the world knows what a Barong Tagalog is. It is not only a cherished garment, it defines a nation through its creation. It embodies the art of rare artisans of embroidery and weaving. It gives men an excuse to wear something beautiful, yet it is still masculine.
The Barong Tagalog also known simply as “Barong” or originally as “Baro ng Tagalog” (dress of the Tagalog) is the Official Filipino National attire. It has a similar cut to a men’s dress shirt but comes in varied natural fabrics such as Jusi, Pina, Abaca, Organza, and the more recent Pina-Jusi. It can be long or short-sleeved with various collars, colors, embroideries, appliques, and/or paintings. It is predominantly worn by men, but there are female variations as well.
Most historians agree that the Barong originates from the Spanish era when Filipinos were forced to wear see-through clothing to deter them from hiding any weapons on their person. Also worn untucked, though it makes any fabric more suitable for tropical weather, it originally was to convey a lower class than the Spaniards. And though it started as a symbol of oppression, when the Filipinos gained their independence from Spain, it had become such a staple in the Filipino culture and wardrobe that it was honored by Presidents Manuel Quezon and Ferdinand Marcos as the national attire.
Today, barongs are worn in the workplace and most importantly at special occassions such as weddings, debuts (a Filipina girl’s special 18th birthday), fiestas, political functions, and any other formal events. Many fashion designers have also embraced it by adding it to their collections and putting their own spin on this true classic. It is known so well world-wide that even non-Filipinos, such as the famous director Quentin Tarantino wearing one at the 65th Golden Globe Awards night, are often more than happy to sport it.
Here is a beautiful song by haranista Ruben Tagalog, aptly titled, "Barong Tagalog."