I always get very excited about July 8th – the anniversary of my first day at my first job out of college. 26 years ago today I was fortunate enough to be hired by a small consulting company that specialized in building diagnostics.
I was the 8th employee hired and I was paid just over $6 per hour. It was a great experience and I was able to participate and learn while we grew over the next few years into a national company with offices throughout the U.S. and over 400 employees. All thanks to the right group being in the right place at the right time in the heyday of asbestos surveying and abatement.
I remember spending late hours drawing floor plans for reports in MacPaint and eventually getting enough responsibility to wear a pager when out in the field. I remember traveling over 50% of my time at some point – to all sorts of exotic destinations I’d never been to – like Orlando, Manhattan, Memphis and Columbus as we surveyed historic buildings throughout the country.
I learned how amazing and enjoyable it can be to work in a small company where everyone cares deeply about the quality of the work. Our founders did a spectacular job of hiring and we were all very young, dedicated and thoroughly enjoyed what we did and who we were working with. It was a great cast of characters. Rosalie the office manager and her team of production/administrative staff were a remarkable example of organization and teamwork. Mario’s ability to review reports unceasingly in order to make sure every report that went out was a work of art – he would edit reports with his red pencil long into the night. Charles and Denise were fantastic bosses that led by example and cared as much about the work as their fellow employees. Dorothy managed the reference library with grace and thoroughness. The accounting department with Drew and the gang kept up with the rapid growth with careful communication and grace. My fellow field staff – from “Freddie Boy” to Steve and the rest of the gang were a pleasure to work with and it’s no surprise we’re still friends decades later.
And, it all stemmed from the head of the company, Frank, the consummate entrepreneur and cheerleader who was able to convince clients that we’d do a better job than companies that had worked in facilities consulting for decades. He would always conclude our monthly staff meetings with his “Quality, Quality, Quality” speech to emphasize the importance of our doing our best in every project. My first mentor, he pushed us to do better and taught me a lot about managing, selling and the overriding importance of integrity and quality of life.
It was an amazing experience and always brings a smile to my face on my annual employment anniversary.