Everyone Needs Mentors

March 1, 2024 | 4 min read | By: David Harris

Greetings Customers & Friends,

Welcome to spring. These mild winters seem quite pleasant, especially as I get older, but it is not really supposed to be like this. I only ran my snowblower once this winter. I think about how it affects our weather, wildlife, agriculture, and our planet in general. I do not think it will have a radical impact on my life but it will for the generations that follow. The future is somewhat scary.

Reflecting on getting older (I recently turned 70), two people who were influential in my life and career passed away recently. They were true mentors.  On February 22nd, Roger Titus, 81, passed away. Roger was my industrial arts teacher at Bolton High School where he taught for 32 years. Roger had more influence on my professional career than any other person aside from my father.  The school opened in 1967 and I started in 1968 when I entered 7th grade. I was fortunate to take Rogers classes for 6 years until I graduated in 1972.

A vivid memory from the first time I went into the school shop was seeing a black walnut jewelry box that Roger was building for his wife, Faye. I was hooked. I was so impressed with the workmanship that I wanted to learn how to make beautiful things from wood. Roger was not only a highly skilled woodworker, but also an expert at welding and automobiles. He even spent 10 years converting a 1970 city bus into a first-class motor coach. It was the centerfold in an RV magazine and was an unbelievable accomplishment. He and Faye traveled over 100,000 miles over the next 10 years in it. He was an amazing man who not only influenced me but many others who became successful in the trades because of his talents and inspiration. Roger maintained many close friendships with former students until his passing. Roger will be missed by many.

The second person was Nathan Agostinelli, who passed away on March 20th at the age of 94. Nate was the President of Manchester State Bank back when I started my woodworking career and first company, New England Country Woodworking. Nate took the initiative to get to know the bank’s customers, even small business owners like me. Nate showed interest in what I was doing and had the trust and confidence in me to support my endeavors. Banking was much different back then. I would have a project secured which required capital to produce. I would draft a summary of the project and present it to the bank, typically looking for funding to produce the work. The agreement was typically a short-term note that would be paid back from the proceeds from the project within 3-6 months. The amounts would range from $10 – $50,000.00. Within a couple of days, sometimes the next, the loan would be approved by Nate. I would stop in, sign, and pick up the check. Today this would take piles of paperwork and weeks of analysis to accomplish.

Nate was a very successful man before and after his banking career. I am sure Nate helped many others in the same way he helped me. He was a leader, a philanthropist, generous with his time, and supportive of Manchester and Connecticut. He received over 100 awards, citations, and plaques. He was the Mayor of Manchester, the State Comptroller, and a Brigadier General in the Army National Guard. He has many other significant awards and accomplishments which are too numerous to include here.

There were certainly others along the way that helped me succeed. Roy Conyers, another mentor and my first shop landlord in 1979. Roy was a successful businessman who was very good to me, offering me a reasonable rent and was kind enough to channel work my way. Roy passed away in 1997. Another was Ron Churchill, the founder / owner of DMC Construction here in Manchester. Ron passed away in August of 2022. Ron had the confidence in me to award me my first commercial woodworking projects. We became good friends and our relationship continued for over 40 years.

Looking back over the past 45 years, I have employed hundreds of people, not only as woodworkers, but also estimators, project managers, finishers, CNC operators, programmers, and engineers. I have had many employees start in entry-level positions and advance to successful professional careers in our industry. Helping people advance their careers, and livelihoods, and support their families is one of the more rewarding aspects of owning and managing a business. They have all done this for me, too.

We have some new things we are working on that will add significant space and capacity to our operation. I will fill you in on the details as the project materializes. We also have a few new sources that we are exploring for unique wood. These are typically private collections so the inventory is not significant quantities of like boards, but more highly figured or special boards. Sometimes single boards or maybe a few like pieces. Really nice stuff for small projects. Keep your eye on our website, Facebook, and Instagram for pictures as we get the material in house.

As always, thank you for your continued patronage and I hope to see you at the shop.


David Harris, President

Parkerville Wood Products, Inc.

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Presidents' Day Sale

Presidents Day Sale

In celebration of President’s Day, our selection of 4/4 Cherry is on sale!  Regular 4/4 Cherry is discounted to $3.99 bf with 8+” wide at $4.49.

Sale runs until February 24th!

** We’re open until 7 PM on Thursdays **

Cherry Selection