Awardee Responds

David Orr, co-owner of Magna-Tech, Inc., is shown below acknowledging receipt of the Chanute Business of the Year award at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

What Matters

by Duane Schrag
Chanute Tribune

"Ordinarily, business is all about making money, but in a small town, it's about other things too."

David Orr hit the nail right on the head. He was called to the microphone Wednesday at a luncheon hosted by the Chanute Area Chamber of Commerce to receive the plaque recognizing Magna Tech as the Chamber's Business of the Year.

He praised his employees, his father, Gene (who, at 85, still likes to help out), and wife, Cheryl - acknowledging their roles in the business' success. But he made a point of stressing the fact that Magna Tech has thrived because of the synergy that grows from the cooperative spirit among businesses in Chanute. He effortlessly named several who had lent a hand; you got the feeling he could have named many more if he had the time.

That's the difference between a small town and a city. In a small town, you are much more likely to develop a personal relationship with the people around you, the people you work with. It's easier to see how much you rely on each other.

Some people long for the anonymity a big city offers. Small town life isn't for them. But David and Cheryl Orr like the familiarity that a small town brings. And so when the opportunity arose six years ago to move back here, and bring their recently-established manufacturing business, they jumped at the chance.

Sure, there aren't as many economic opportunities. There's more money to be made in metropolitan markets. But how do you put a price tag on the friendships you establish? "We'll never be a large corporate conglomerate," David told the Tribune recently. "We don't want to be. Bigger is not necessarily better."

That's the sort of wisdom most people don't acquire until late in their life, when they look back and wish they had devoted more of their attention to fostering relationships. Isn't it fortunate to learn the lesson while you have time to benefit from it? Congratulations to David, Cheryl, Gene and the whole crew at Magna Tech. We're glad they chose Chanute.

- Duane Schrag
© 2001 The Chanute Publishing Co.

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