So as many of my followers know, I have spent half of my career with one company. As I move into my 21st year in the Wireless Industry, I have had the distinct pleasure of working for some exceptional people over the years. I have lead thousands of employees over that time, had a handful of amazing peers, and a few owners that I have worked for, but the 3 men I admire the most are Todd Heiner, Darren Yager, and Jeff Heuple!
After doing what I had done for 10 years, I thought I knew everything about our industry, yet these three gentlemen helped me to develop and grow into the leader I am today. Honestly, there have only been a handful of people in my industry and field that I have considered mentors, and even a smaller handful of people who were able, or willing, to teach me something I didn’t already know. Hey, I was good at what I did, long before I met Todd, Darren, and Jeff, but their guidance, took me to a whole other level of professional development that I’m not sure I would have reached without them.
My most recent ride in my corporate career, was anything but a job. It was a lifestyle, an extension of who I was, and under their tutelage I grew into the leader that I am today. I learned more about Company Culture in the first few years with Express than I had experienced in the 10 years prior. I honed my skills and perfected my style of leadership. Even when I began to embark on my new journey of writing my book, and beginning my speaking career, I continued to get guidance, suggestions, and coaching that refined and honed me into the leader I am today.
The company they started over 11 years ago, recently sold to a larger competitor and after over a decade of success in our industry, I found myself working for a new company for the first time in over 10 years. This got me thinking, is this the end of an Era, or is it just a new beginning? I have contemplated this for many months since the owners shared with the Executive team back in February what was happening. I ran the gamut of emotions, struggled to maintain my engagement at times, and ultimately, allowed myself to process the emotions I had been holding back.
This organization, has provided me with a career opportunity, a lifestyle, and a wealth of life experiences as well as professional experience. I would not be who I am today, had I not worked with Express Locations these last 11 years. I have experienced the ride from a small start-up operation, that grossed approximately $1 million our first year, with 16 locations and 50 or so employees. To Grossing over $100,000,000 last year with 140 locations and almost 1400 employees. Oh yeah, and in case you haven’t figured out the math, we did it from 2006 to 2017, many of those years represented one of the worst recessions in the history of the US.
What we accomplished during that time was exceptional, and as I said earlier it shaped who I am today. However, with the end in sight, and yesterday doing the official kickoff with our new organization, I was met with excitement and enthusiasm that I had not experienced in quite a few years, as I realized that we get to do this all over, again. Only this time, we get to do it even better! We are wiser, more prepared, humble, and for those that are here for this next run with this new organization, Wireless Vision, we are now a huge company, with Unlimited Opportunity.
This new combined company will represent over 500 locations in 18 states, with over 4000 employees and we will certainly be in the multi-hundred millions of dollars. I will have the opportunity to help this company grow to 1000 stores and become a Billion-dollar company, that is pretty darn exciting! This next run, depending on how many years it goes, will be how I close out my corporate career. I will fine-tune my skills, continue to enhance my development, and foster the relationships I have forged over the last 20 plus years to help this new company achieve these lofty goals.
So, I will close this blog for today with this famous quote by Vince Lombardi, as I feel it encompasses what you must commit to when you set out to accomplish any worthwhile endeavor in life. “I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - Victorious.” I have one last ride in me and I am ready to take my game to the next level.
I can choose to look at this as ending of an Era with Express Locations, or I can honor my previous leaders by picking up the torch and carrying it with me to this new company. I can take all I have learned from those leaders and my time with Express, and adapt it to this new organization, thus allowing this to be the beginning of a new Era with Wireless Vision. I choose to honor those who got me to where I am today…
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