Losing locks, gaining karma

Aug. 02, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

Employees at the Zurn Industries plant in Sanford got an unusual break from work Thursday — taking a few minutes to watch two of their bosses have their heads shaved by some of their fellow workers.

It was a celebration of the money the plant had raised for the American Cancer Society, as well as a show of solidarity with those who have lost their own hair due to cancer treatments. But it was also fun, according to those who got to participate.

“I was so happy I got to go first,” said a grinning Edward Moses, who was picked at random to be one of five employees who got to take turns shaving the heads of the plant’s general manager and operations manager.

Moses, who said he has worked in the warehouse for about a year and a half, said he especially liked taking the razor to Operations Manager Joe Brill’s head. Another employee who got to try his hand at being a barber Thursday, Quality Manager Dan Danowski, agreed that Brill was in dire need of a new hairdo.

“It’s good because he had a seventh-grade haircut,” said Danowski, who used his turn to give his fellow manager something resembling a tonsure, much to the delight of the assembled crowd. “He needed to be brought into his 30s.”

The employees were rewarded because they put in the effort; the plant had a goal of raising $5,000 for the cancer organization, but the final tally was more than $6,300. And thanks to side donations from other companies and individuals, the business was actually able to write a $12,183 check to the American Cancer Society.

A big cheer rose from the audience when HR director Cara Piazza told the workers they had beaten the goal, meaning their bosses would have to honor their bet to go bald.

“The most important thing is where the donation went to,” General Manager Scott McDowell said. “But it was also a good way for the employees to have some fun.”

McDowell grimaced a few times during the shaving process, but it mostly seemed to be in anticipation instead of actual pain. And he may have had good reason — although Moses and Danowski said they had more fun going after Brill, McDowell also drew a lot of good-natured ribbing from other hair cutters.

“Take the [razor] guards off,” Matilda Chesney yelled out when she was handed the clippers. And although she didn’t follow through on that threat, she made McDowell grimace again when she turned the razor on, laughed, and said, “I got the shakes real bad.”

But in the end, McDowell said, he was glad he went through with the shearing — and that he was never all that worried.

“There were some that were more in question than others, but they’re all good employees,” he said with a laugh, feeling his mostly even haircut. “... It’s cool. Literally. I can feel all sorts of new breezes now.”