Ken Hilton is handing over the reins this month, for the Notes from the President section of the newsletter, to allow two long-term, valuable employees to share their thoughts as they take steps toward new and exciting changes.
There are times in one’s life that cause you to stop and reflect on the experiences and the people you have encountered. Retiring from a job that you have done for over 35 years is one of those times. What is even more astounding is that there are a lot of you I have been talking to since those first years of home computers in the 80s. Ken Hilton asked me to write an announcement to let our customers know that as of July 1st, I will be transitioning from doing phone support to a new position at Red Wing Software. In reflecting back to my first years with this company, I was trying to remember when I began doing support full time. My first years were part time doing various jobs while being additionally occupied with four young daughters. At that time, Ken was handling all of the customer support. Yes, that's right, Ken was a one-person support team! I don’t remember the exact date, but Ken was gone for a week at a trade show. When he returned, the support calls were all done. That marked the beginning of relationships I have accumulated with so many wonderful people we have as customers. In the midst of resolving your accounting and payroll puzzles, we have laughed a lot together, swapped stories, and sometimes shared tears. You have been friends, as well as customers.
My goal remains to help you, but in a different position assisting in the development of various CenterPoint training tools. I will also be in the office less hours giving me more time for our 12 grandchildren and their endless activities.
So why does one continue to work for the same company for 38+ years? For me, it is because I am proud to be part of the Red Wing Software team, I believe in the products we provide, and I have enjoyed what I do. Who wouldn’t want to sit in a comfortable chair all day, talk to a great bunch of folks from all over the country, and solve puzzles? That brings it back to you. Thank you for being gracious and loyal customers of Red Wing Software! You have been a pleasure to work with and I feel very privileged to have assisted you in your businesses through all the years. I wish you success and continued great relationships with the Red Wing Software team.
As the days fly by bringing me to my retirement day at Red Wing Software, my mind reflects on many memories going back to 1982, when I first started in the software business and my relationship with Red Wing Software. Looking back 36 years, Red Wing Software was a pretty small company and the personal computer and software industries were just starting to be implemented by small businesses and farmers. As all of my time in the industry revolved around sales, it provided me the opportunity to meet lots of great people, many who are still customers, marketing partners, current and past employees and even competitors. It’s still exciting working with both new and long-time customers along with industry acquaintances, in many cases these people became life-long friends. I remember a sales mentor once explaining to me the difference between a good sales person and a great sales person; he said “A good sales person will remember a customer’s spouse and kid’s names, while a great sales person will remember the customer’s spouse name, their kid’s names and family dog’s name.” When you get to know the people you work with that well, it pretty much cements a long-time relationship.
While the industry continues to change at a very fast pace, sometimes creating some stressful moments and the need to learn new things, it also provides businesses the ability to improve efficiency and capture more financial information about their business. Through all the technology changes, Red Wing Software has strived to provide great software products and awesome software support services. If and when a conflict arises, Ken Hilton, President of Red Wing Software response is, “Let’s try to do what is in the customer’s best interest.” It’s easy to understand why Red Wing Software has many long-time customers. Seeing and hearing customers’ success stories is probably the best part of coming to work every day and being part of this organization.
Although retirement will allow me more time to golf, fish, travel, spend time with family and friends and probably drive my wife Pamela a little crazy, it’s also a little scary realizing I won’t be spending as much time with all the amazing staff at Red Wing Software.
I’ve already informed a fellow staff member to text me when Pam Hilton is making a batch of cookies, as the Terminator would say, “I’ll Be Back.”