Last week we had our not-monthly-anymore company meeting. Our company has expanded beyond the point where we can have it in the breakroom. They let us have a vote as to whether to have the meeting before work or after. It was literally a matter of a couple votes for us getting our rears there at 6:30 in the morning (forcing me to get up at 5ish). Somehow, I actually made it there a little earlier than most and just about everyone made it on time.
They did the employee of the month award and somehow someone from our department had actually won. To give you an idea of the significance of this, the RLC department had so given up on ever winning the Employee of the Month that they briefly set up a EotM award for our department alone. When Tobias (who was then the head of the ANG team within the department) won one month and then Willard the next, the department award vanished. This is still the first time that an actual OSI or ANG programmer (or QA associate) actually won. The winner was Freddie, who I’ll talk about more in the future.
Freddie, though not undeserving, actually got it by chance. Willard asked me, out of the blue, to name a number between one and three. I thought it was a riddle because the only number between one and three is two. It turns out that he had three people in mind to nominate for the honor and I was choosing between the three (he didn’t say betweek 1 and three inclusive… he just said between 1-3). For my ego’s sake, I assume that I was one of the three. The randomness of it, however, demonstrates they were prime to give it to our department.
Bill Darden, the CIO and Willard’s supervisor, has despaired over the lack of morale within RLC. We have a ton of jokes about how worthless we are considered within the company dating back to certain department heads of over groups willingness to take less qualified pe0ple from the outside than more qualified people in our department. Darden said it was his mission to change this and I guess, in this sense, he delivered.
Unfortunately he was not privy to the speach that COO Gary Hansen was going to give. In the speech, Gary wanted us to know that he believed that he thought we had the best people in the business. We had the best lawyers, best sales people, best this, that, the other thing. There was only one group that he left off: us. Even though we make the reports and legal documentation that is the core of the company’s income. None of us were disappointed, much less surprised. It was just unfortunate that Hansen’s motivational peptalk flew right over the group that has the biggest need of motivation. And since that came after Freddie’s award, it stuck in our minds longer. The COO actually took time out of his busy schedule to apologize to us for that and explain what happened, but the damage was done.
They also talked about our stock options and new avenues the company plans to explore. Company President Don Fallon’s brother (and former Falstaff COO) Dave is a rather big car dealer in the state (#3, actually, though they expect to be #2 by the end of the year). Because the CD player in my car doesn’t do well in sub-freezing temperatures, I’ve periodically had to listen to the radio. It’s strange listening to the radio and hearing a former bigwig in your company on the radio talking about a BIG BIG BIG SALE!!!!!!… sounding enthusiastic instead of constantly angry… and actually sounding personable rather than caustic. I’m not sure if it’s a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde thing or if he’s just that good. Considering that he was the motor behind Falstaff’s founding while building his car dealership while the local LDS bishop, I suspect it’s that he’s just that good.
The reason that I bring up Dave is that Don said that he planned to exploit Don’s standing in the automotive trade as leverage to enter that market. Right now we only tend to the HR needs of companies in a particular industry. Last time we tried to expand it didn’t quite work out, but by this time next year we should be tending to the HR/software needs of two industries. They are also tumbling forth ever vigilantly on C2, the New Compiler. John Hansen, our CTO (the brother of our COO), gave the speech dressed up as Superman (because our new c0mpiler and the software system surrounding it will be “fast and bulletproof”).
It was all a pretty impressive presentation that actually got me thinking. More on those thoughts to come.