The Right Moves

This article was featured in the April 2012 issue of Your Health magazine. It was written by Janie Nelson. You can find the original article at the Tallahassee Democrat:

Moving company executive Gloria Pugh focuses on embracing the opportunities she finds and on making the best life possible right now…

Dean and Gloria Pugh - AMWAT Moving in Tallahassee, Florida
Gloria and Dean Pugh, ready for business!

“If you had told me at 18 years old I would have been the CEO of a moving company, I would have cried,” Gloria Pugh said recently from behind her large executive desk. She’s not crying now.

At 45, Gloria and her husband, Dean, run AMWAT Moving Warehousing and Storage, a company that under the Pughs’ leadership has grown from a small, regional company to one that operates globally and enjoys a reputation for honesty and fairness. It all started with her ability to shift gears, learn from others and keep fit.

As a younger woman she wanted to be a lawyer or a mover-and-shaker in the fashion industry. That didn’t happen, and it’s OK with her.

”It’s very important for all women to understand that perfection is an idea in your head that changes as you age,” she said. “You seem to think this is really what you want, and you put on blinders and miss out on other opportunities.”
Gloria didn’t let that happen. When she saw that she could make a difference in her husband’s business, she jumped in with the enthusiasm she puts into everything she tackles.
“I called Dean and said I wanted to quit (her job as a Medicaid fraud investigator).” She recalls that he said, “Come on, we’re waiting for you.”
To learn the business, she studied other moving firms and embraced their best practices. Eventually, the Pughs bought out Gabriel’s, one of the oldest and most successful moving firms in town.
“I read Harvard Business Review and learned how to manage from business magazines,” she said.
She also sought out role models.
“I have been lucky to have had strong women mentors in my life,” she said, giving special credit to Nolia Brandt, a self-made millionaire who mentored for the Jim Moran Institute.
What was equally important, though, was developing a healthy lifestyle — mentally, physically and spiritually. “I have an enormous amount of energy,” she said, attributing that energy to personal responsibility.

Gloria Pugh - AMWAT Moving Tallahassee
Behind the scenes action from the photo shoot.


Last year, she and Dean noticed that the physical part of their lives needed a tune-up. The Pughs had won a small-business award and their photo appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat. They were shocked at what they saw.
“Oh my God, is that us?” Gloria recalled, realizing they both had put on some serious pounds.
“I had always worked out,” she said. “But when I came to AMWAT, I stopped.”
Lack of exercise and attention to diet had taken its toll.
No more. In the past year, Gloria has lost 30 pounds and Dean is down 26. Both attribute it to diet and exercise. She now works out four days a week at Good Friends Fitness, while he’s constantly on the move, traveling back and forth on their 2 ½-acre work site.
“It’s part of my job description,” she said of her workout. Her regimen is the same each week: Monday and Wednesday, an hour of weight-lifting and core work; Tuesday and Thursday, spinning for her aerobic workout and Pilates. She’s at work early to get things up and running for the day and exercises after work.
The Pughs’ diet has changed dramatically, too.
“She cleaned out the fridge,” Dean laughed, recalling the day after they got the wakeup call from the photograph. “All my breads were gone. I’m Irish. I like my Danish.”
Except for one “splurge” day a week, they eat lean meat or fish and vegetables for dinner. Breakfast may be coffee and a protein bar or a boiled egg.
“I eat a lot of salads,” Gloria said.
Sound boring? It’s not, according to Gloria, who loves to cook.
“Tonight, we’re having seared tuna and roasted vegetables,” she said. They’ll have berries and yogurt for dessert, with, perhaps, a little dark chocolate.
The Pughs do look forward to Saturday, their usual day to backslide.
“We had sandwiches on wheat bread,” Dean said as if he were talking about a memorable meal at a four-star restaurant, adding that he also celebrated with a purchased container of banana pudding.
“I love sweets,” he said.
When they snack, it’s usually nuts — preferably pistachios in the shell to make it a little harder to overindulge — raw vegetables and a limited amount of cheese.
Their favorite place to eat out, Gloria said, is Food Glorious Food in Betton Place. “They have a lot of gluten-free dishes,” she said, and she saves up her “splurge” for one of the tony restaurant’s desserts.
Shedding pounds and exercising have given her more energy for her job and added joy to her life, Gloria said.
“If you’re extremely overweight, you’re not as happy,” she asserted. “If you are physically fit and mentally fit, you have more energy to get through the day.”
It’s all a balancing act.
“I feel that if Dean and I are honest, give back to the community (they move all people going into Habitat for Humanity housing) and are loyal, that rubs off on our employees.”
And, just maybe, on everyone else.

AMWAT is a moving and storage company in Tallahassee, Florida. We provide local, commercial, and international moving services; as well as warehousing services such as receiving, inspections, and distributions.

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