It’s hard to believe but it’s been 6 years since I put on my suit & tie and walked into one of your offices. I spent 13+ years with you, starting as a fresh college grad and leaving as a capable & confident business professional. I’ve had some time to reflect and I’d like to say a few words…
First…THANK YOU for offering me my first full-time professional job.
I was a 21-year-old in my final semester at Oregon State University with BIG dreams and a thin resume. Several of my fraternity brothers worked in the Portland office and had great things to say about the training, opportunity for growth and the overall culture. Wanting to see what life was like outside of my home town, I was able to schedule an interview in one of the Boston offices. Swimming in my brand new suit and a baby-face that always met the shaving requirements, I looked like I was showing up for my 1st day of school rather than a job interview. Regardless, you looked between the words on my resume and knew it was a DNA match. You gave me a shot and for that I am forever grateful.
Next…THANK YOU for introducing me to some of the best leaders, teachers & people that I know.
Whenever I am asked about “what to look for in an organization”, my answer remains the same…great leadership. Growing up playing sports and in school, you start to understand how important having a great leader, teach & coach is to your individual performance and to the collective team’s performance. Leadership is the ultimate accelerator and I was fortunate to work for some of the best leaders around.
Burt Baptiste was my leader, teacher & coach for 7 years in Boston. He was 1 in a million…literally…and if you haven’t read my tribute piece on Burt yet (Life, Love & Leadership), please do it right now, it’s worth the read. To be as concise as possible: he challenged me, he cared about me and he inspired me. I wouldn’t be where I am (or who I am) without Burt and I miss him every day.
Also in Boston was Chris De Angelis. Chris took me under his wing and “showed me” what it took to be a great salesperson. He worked hard, always looked for opportunities to learn & get better, showed up with tremendous energy & a positive attitude and cared deeply for those around him. His leadership style was infectious and his impact was lasting.
In San Diego, I had the privilege of working for Tony Bartolucci Only a couple months into our time together, Aerotek like most companies in 2008, had to make a tough decision and go through a reduction-in-force. New to my role, and new to my region / office, I was surprised when Tony trusted in me to make the decision with little to no interference. I know it’s not exactly how he would’ve handled it himself, but he was willing to let me make my own mistakes. As a result, I felt tremendous ownership in my office & role and empowered to do what I believed to be best 100% of the time. He was amazing at building camaraderie, teams and trust.
In Chicago, I had big shoes to fill as Marty Schager was promoted to run the Midwest and I was given the opportunity to lead his former offices. Out of all of my leaders, stylistically, Marty & I were the most different from one other. What had worked incredibly well for him was foreign to me, and what had worked for me was uncomfortable for him. That said, I learned so much from working with him. His precision, discipline and accountability were second to none.
All in all, I worked for and with some of the most driven & dynamic people (too many to name) and I’m grateful for all of those relationships.
Furthermore…THANK YOU for being a model organization to grow up in.
At the time I left, growing up there, I assumed all companies had that same passion, rigor & grit. Wow was I wrong. What really separated you though was the discipline to the fundamentals. After reading “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” by Verne Harnish, I thought to myself…“This is the Aerotek playbook.” The sales strategy, across all divisions, was very clearly refined. Each step of the sales process was clearly defined including “what good looks like”. The organizational structure was specialized & aligned and everybody knew their performance goals & expectations. The regular communication cadence kept “the main thing, the main thing” and everybody rowing in the same direction.
It is no coincidence that you were able to grow & scale from a 2 guys in Baltimore to a multi-billion dollar organization across the globe.
Most importantly…THANK YOU for introducing me to my wife.
While I know it’s a bit taboo to talk about, had it not been for you, I probably would have never met my wife. As most of my friends from growing up & college were starting their families, I was focused on my professional career. I put every ounce I had into work and was willing to pack up and move thousands of miles, multiple times, for the opportunity to lead & manage bigger teams in bigger markets. They say…”you’ll meet your person when you least expect it” and I never thought I’d meet my wife during an interview, but it’s a great story now. Over time, our professional relationship turned into a personal one and we handled it as well as we could. We now have 2 young boys, Grady & Camden, who are at the center of our worlds and we’ve never been happier.
Overall…I feel like this THANK YOU is long overdue. Over these last 6 years, my company has had partnered with Founders & Executive Leaders at 80+ growing organizations determined to build high-performing sales teams and the lessons I learned from Aerotek is engrained in our work. I speak so highly of Aerotek to all that I meet and I’m so proud of my time & tenure there, that I felt it was important to articulate it and share it. I know there is an army of Aerotek alumni and I’m proud to be one of them.