Well. I don’t really know how to write this, because honestly, words can’t describe how amazing of a company Vaddio really is. BUT I am going to try.
First and foremost, I am taking a position at AVI Systems Tuesday, April 1st. Because of my experience at Vaddio, I get the opportunity to challenge myself in a marketing position, but this time on the integrator side. I am really, really excited.
So. To all my colleagues at Vaddio, partners and friends who’ve helped guide me over the past 6 years…
The idea of company culture fascinates me.
I’ve worked at a lot of places. And I’m not talking “career” jobs. By the time I began my freshman year, I had probably worked at over 20 places – Little Caesars inside of K-mart, Video Update (yes back during the VHS/DVD transition – we had 10 DVDs total), the golf course, the gas station, the convenience store, restaurants in nearly every ethnic category – you name it, I worked it.
Here’s the thing. When you’re 16 years old nothing matters about a job except for the people you work with, the environment – the culture. I think we forget this when we become, for lack of a better word, grown-ups. We buy expensive suits; we get power hungry; egotistical, entitled and self-centered. We forget that our colleagues and partners are the reason we function – that the people are what make a good company great.
I’m by no means saying every person or company becomes the cliché corporate “Office Space.” It’s just that until I started at Vaddio I had never really experienced otherwise.
I came to Vaddio young, not necessarily inexperienced, but young. I knew nothing about the AV industry; let alone what “AV” stood for. The hours of watching 80’s movies at the video store didn’t seem to have much relevance. Nonetheless, I worked hard with my colleagues to learn everything I could. And they taught me. A lot. With a whole lot of patience, guidance and advice, I started to actually grasp the AV concept. I earned my CTS. I started taking classes, putting together systems and installing them at trade shows. It started to become easy (well somewhat.)
I would have never made it in the early days without my boss Mark Steen, our technical support team, Wayne Lusthoff and Jon Bevins, product manager/VP of engineering, Richard Remley, our entire sales staff and of course our CEO, Rob Sheeley.
As the company has grown from a very small tight-knit family, to a larger extended family, I can’t help but be extremely proud of what we’ve collectively done. What Vaddio has done is nothing short of amazing. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true. I have learned so much from my colleagues – and it’s not just business. I’ve learned what it’s liked to have an extended family, a family who cares for you way beyond the 8 to 5 business day. And how to have fun doing it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: by promoting creativity, teamwork and an environment where people are free to share their ideas, work no long becomes work. This is the secret sauce. And I thank Vaddio for letting me be a part of this culture.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my entire Vaddio family, to my mentor Rob Sheeley and to everyone outside of Vaddio that has helped me along the way. You’ve all been a huge part of who I have become as a person today. And I thank you so, so, so, SO much.
I will miss you all very, very much.