Winners and pros

How do you choose “the best?”

Sometimes it’s easy because it’s all about numbers. The best quarterback is the one who has completed the greatest number of plays for the greatest gain in yards. The best racecar driver is the one who crosses the finish line first in the greatest number of races. The best basketball player scores the most points, while the best golfer has the lowest score.

Sometimes the definition of “best” is a more subjective, especially when it’s not about numbers: best movie, best restaurant, best place to watch a sunset, the best car in the world. Opinion plays a role in choosing those winners and maybe not everyone will agree, but there’s rarely disagreement about the list of contenders.

Sometimes it’s a matter of timing and circumstance. After a long day of hard work in the hot sun, that same-old-same-old brew can become the best beer you’ve ever tasted.

And sometimes it’s almost impossible to say why something or someone is the best; you just know it when you see it.

Even if they’re not the best, most people are pretty good at what they do for a living, otherwise they wouldn’t have the opportunity to keep doing it. Most people also probably know why they’re good, but it might not be easy to explain to an outsider. For instance, consider the techs who visit your truck every day. If you ask any one of them what it takes to be the best tech in the shop, they might be able to tell you who clocks the most flatrate hours or who can handle the most technically challenging jobs, and eventually someone might mention the word “professional.”

The dictionary lists several definitions for that word, but the one we’re talking about here is “a person who is expert at his or her work.” Other definitions include references to skill, training, career and “conforming to technical or ethical standards.” Even if you know nothing about a given occupation, it’s usually easy to spot a true professional. I could list some tell-tale traits here, but it’s something about a person that just shines through from inside; you know it when you see it.

So what does it take to be the best professional tool distributor? We don’t really know the answer to that question, so we’re going to ask our panel of experts: professional tool distributors and their managers who serve on our Advisory Board. Once they decide on a definition, we’ll publish their answer, establish some contest rules, appeal to the generosity of our advertisers to provide some nice prizes, and then start looking for one person who fits that description. Towards the end of this year, we’ll announce our judges’ choice of the 2011 Professional Tool Distributor of the Year.

If you would like to add your thoughts to those of our Advisors, feel free to email me at Once we announce the official rules, the contest will move quickly, so keep in touch.


[callout]: “Even if you know nothing about a given occupation, it’s usually easy to spot a true professional.”