I’m just old enough, that when I was asked to write something for the IAI blog, I realized I wasn’t exactly sure what a blog was. I learned a little bit more about blogs when I watched a TV show called “Dog with A Blog” with my 6 year old grandson. (Yes, a talking dog with a blog; thank you, Disney. It was actually pretty cute.)
Anyway, what I learned from Stan, the blogging dog, is that blogging is pretty much just putting into words things that are going on in your life and reflecting on them. Not wanting to depend entirely on a Disney talking dog, I turned to Webster and confirmed: “Blog: a web site that contains online personal reflections, and comments.” Well, thank you, Stan. I guess now I know what I’m supposed to do!
So… what’s going on in my life? Well, I am about to retire from IAI. My reflections? Fourteen years ago, Bill Cretens, our founder, approached this out-of-work HR Director about a new company he was putting together. I had known Bill for about six years, having worked with him at another company. I knew immediately that associating myself in business with Mr. Cretens would be a very smart move. I signed up. Employee #2!
It would be putting it mildly, to say that decision was one of the best I’ve made in my life. It’s been an incredible ride. From the basement of Bill’s home, to a two-room office space, to storefront industrial space, to our own building. From two employees to nearly 100 employees. From zero Contract Operations projects to over 100. From zero assets to $5.5M in assets. From dredging into two geotextile tubes with lagoon solids, to filling over 44 miles of geotextile tubes with contaminated river sediment on the largest Superfund site in the USA. From being an unknown in both industries, to becoming the go-to contractor in both industries in the Midwest and across the country. And all of this was accomplished during one of the most difficult economic times our country has faced.
I am, to put it simply, proud to have been a part of it. Whatever my contribution may have been in getting us here, I feel blessed for the experience. It says a lot about a workplace when one can get up after fourteen years of working there and still look forward to whatever the day will bring. Most of that feeling has to do with the people I work with. Yes, they are experts in their respective fields and excel at what they do, but they are, to a person, just darn good human beings. A day never goes by when there isn’t laughter coming from one office or another. Somebody has told a joke, or played a joke on somebody. We celebrate together when there is a wedding, a graduation, a baby, a new house, a new sled, the first deer (or elk) of the season, the best chili, or the ugliest Christmas sweater. And we grieve together when heartache or tragedy touches our lives. It’s the people in this company who make that all happen.
Everyone has been asking me what I’m going to do when I retire. Well, one of the things I’m going to do is some missing. Missing being with the people in this company every day. Missing the relationships. Missing building a profitable business together. Missing the celebration of the wins together and the fixing of problems together. I know there will be a sense of loss not being a part of that anymore. But not to get too weepy here…. it’s nothing a trip to Aruba won’t help!
So, I’m saying “See you around,” not goodbye. IAI and the people here will forever be a part of my life. To everyone in this wonderful company: Keep doing the amazing work you do. Do it with the integrity that is our DNA, and keep having fun doing it. You have all been a part of making my retirement dream come true. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
~ TeriShare this: