Kurt Fehling got his start in business at a precocious age. When he was only eight years old, he got a job delivering newspapers to earn money to buy a go-kart. Fehling’s grandfather fronted him the money, and Fehling repaid him $20 out of his $30 income each month over the next year. That was just the beginning of his ambitious career.
“I had the various odd jobs in high school (fast food) and college (department store), but after I graduated, I was hired by an environmental engineering firm that specialized in human health risk assessments,” Fehling said. Today, Kurt owns his own firm with 10 consultants that focus exclusively on environmental assessments. His client list includes several Fortune 500 companies, such as Dow and 3M, along with state and federal regulatory agencies.
Fehling made the switch to BlackBerry in 2008 and has never looked back. He started off with the Bold and has used every phone BlackBerry has released since then. He now uses PRIV by BlackBerry as his daily driver.
I recently got ask to ask Fehling his thoughts about BlackBerry and experience with PRIV. Here is what he had to say.
Kurt’s not the only one with good feedback about PRIV. Check out these other profiles of PRIV-using professionals, including this best-selling author and pastor, this teenaged tech CEO, this insurance manager, this TV chef, this sports editor, this aerospace engineer, this entrepreneurial lawyer, this international sales exec, this TV host, and this Irish tech blogger and entrepreneur.
Louie: What initially drew you to getting your first BlackBerry?
Fehling: For me, the smartphone was the single greatest invention for business, ever. I had the Palm Treo and the Samsung BlackJack, but they weren’t quite doing it for me. I had a device that just was not handling emails well enough and gave me more trouble than it was worth. I went back to the local AT&T store in Santa Rosa, Calif., where I was living at the time, and a friend of mine that worked there convinced me to try a BlackBerry, it was 9700, a Bold. I fell instantly in love. I mean, what a great tool for communication! There was nothing that even came close for emails, voice and texting. Nothing. Since then, I have upgraded to each new BlackBerry including the 9800, 9900, Z10, Z30, Passport and now the PRIV.
Louie: What prompted the switch from the Passport to the PRIV?
Fehling: It was primarily due to the fact that I am a tech junkie; I always want the latest. To some degree, it was also access to more apps as, even though I side-loaded a bunch of Android apps to my Passport, not all ran smoothly.
Louie: What does an average day at work look like for you?
Fehling: Most days are quite busy and include about 200 emails or more, two to three conference calls, multiple other calls, and then reviewing reports and drafting original work. My clients are all over the country, so it is not just the typical 8 to 5; rather, I need to be available pretty much from 7 am to 10 pm – and weekends too! Throw in a couple of trips per months and it is a full schedule.
Louie: With such a busy schedule what apps do you find the most helpful?
Fehling: BBM, BlackBerry Travel (as WorldMate on the PRIV), American and Southwest Airlines, Avis, Marriott, Google Maps, various banking apps, cloud drives, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, WebEx, Wunderlist; there are a bunch! BBM is a key one though, as I can make sure that my staff has read my messages and I can also call them via BBM Voice while out of the country.
Louie: Since the PRIV runs on an Android OS, what features do you like the most?
Fehling: The speed. It is quite fast. I really like how BlackBerry has taken some of the best features of their BB10 software and added it on top of the Android platform. My wife previously had an Android phone (she has seen the light and is now on a Passport); I tried it but could not use it effectively. It was too open, too chaotic for me, and I did not invest the time to learn it. Now that I have committed to the PRIV, I like how you can tailor the software to suit your needs, but I really like how BlackBerry has enhanced the Android experience. The Hub is clearly a standout. I have several different email addresses and being able to see those, in conjunction with texts, BBMs and calls, is a real time saver for me. Finally, the “Join Now” feature for conference calls from the calendar is perfect as you don’t have to mess with any access codes.
Louie: Is there anything you would like to add about the PRIV?
Fehling: Yes. I applaud BlackBerry for taking a chance with Android and believe they are on the right path. The Passport was probably the most perfect phone for me, and the PRIV is very close. I think once BlackBerry has had time to “polish” the platform a bit more, that we will all be in for a treat.
Louie: How would you rate the PRIV on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being perfect?
Fehling: I would give it a 4.5, as there is always room for improvement.
If you are curious about the PRIV’s good, bad and ugly, check out our blog. Also, for a limited time the PRIV is on sale for U.S. and U.K. residents with up to $99 worth of free accessories! Check out the deal here.