Tammy Davis, address to staff after CEO (husband) passing
Hi everyone. Thank you all for being here.
I have been looking forward to this opportunity to offer everyone some clarity, and hopefully some reassurance, because I’m sure you all have questions or even concerns, and I understand that.
I’ll start by expressing what Paul wants more than anything else: He wants the company to continue moving forward. And he wants to make sure everyone is taken care of. During his last few days, he was still telling his doctors he has fifty families counting on him. Every one of you and your families was a priority to him, at a time when anyone else in his position might have been thinking about himself. And you’re a priority to me, too.
Over the last two to three years, Paul and I spent many hours discussing, deciding, planning how things would be in the event that the worst case scenario was to occur. Neither of us really believed it would, but nonetheless, we wanted to be prepared. This was all driven by Paul. While continuing to develop new product ideas, he also started thinking about company structure, and how the operations side would function without him. At no time, not even for a second, did he believe it couldn’t. It was never a question of if, only a question of how.
Despite the fact that he was so hands-on, Paul put his faith in me and in all of you, to continue to be successful. He fully realized that things would have to be done differently, because none of us can slip into his shoes, and do things in that unique way that he did them for so many years, so he put a lot of emphases and thought into what the company would look like without him there. What was the best way to keep it profitable, and running smoothly? It’s like he wanted to build a ship, make it seaworthy, and point me in the direction of the lighthouse, so all I would have to do is steer. And I assure you I’m ready to do that.
Together, Paul and I determined what would need to change, and in what ways. Then, we started to execute and implement those changes gradually. You’ve all seen it happen, right? It’s no accident that we restructured the sales department. We brought in a patent lawyer, we launched a reseller program, we made things more structured and strategic. And it’s paying off. We’ve had an amazing January with six new contracts. We have new products launching at the trade show in April, and we continue to lead in our industry and be the envy of our competitors.
Speaking of those competitors, I know that many of you are aware that we frequently receive acquisition offers. This was happening when Paul was still here, and it’s happening even more now, because I guess they think they’re doing me a favor, offering to take this huge responsibility off my hands. Maybe they think I would welcome the relief of being acquired. But what they need to understand, and what I want all of you to understand is that no relief is needed here. This isn’t a burden to me. It’s my destiny. Among those fifty families that Paul referred to who count on this business, is his family and mine. This is my family’s business. And it’s Paul’s legacy.
We have two children, and I hope multiple future grandchildren… I’m not selling their future.
So I’ll keep accepting the competitors’ invitations to dialogue because every meeting with a competitor represents an opportunity to learn something about our industry, and it might represent a partnership opportunity, and I freely admit, it always represents a fantastic free lunch!
But back to a serious note: Paul made sure that I would not be left unprepared. There will be no knee-jerk reactions here. None of what I do today or in the coming weeks will be in any way impulsive, or out of grief or panic. It’s all been planned. Paul planned it all for me and with me, and I’m just going to stick to the plan and execute it. So if you guys trusted Paul, then you can know that I’m prepared.
That doesn’t mean that I won’t need your help, or that I don’t want your input. On the contrary, in fact, your input is part of the plan. Paul knew that. We also both knew that Software and Engineering are the departments that will be most immediately and most practically affected by his loss. He was very active on a day-to-day basis, developing the ideas that form our product line, which in turn forms the basis of this company. Many of these ideas were either incepted or perfected by Paul’s brilliant engineering mind, so it’s to be expected that his input will be missed. But he took measures to make that transition as smooth as possible. That’s why he took Matt with us last year to the trade show, so Matt could see the process from that perspective. I’ll be taking him with me again this year. Without going into a list of specific examples like this, I can say that there are many similar adjustments that will take place.
I mentioned new products, and some of you know also that we have new products at various stages of readiness to hit the market. Paul made sure to advance these past the point of his usual involvement, meaning the people who will take over from here, are the same people who would be doing so even if Paul were still with us. So nothing that is happening here is reactive. It’s all proactive.
And of course, I’ll need your support. No woman is an island and I can’t do this alone. Certainly, there will be moments of emotional challenge, but what I most want you to know is that even though I’m struggling with the emotional aspect of losing Paul, I’m in no way struggling with the professional aspect. Paul made sure of that. He more than prepared me and I’m confident in what we’ve built. It’s business as usual guys. Paul’s ship is going to sail forward. I hope you’re all on board!
Now, on a personal note, and hopefully without getting emotional, I want to thank all of you for your support, kindness, generosity, and friendship through these last few months.
It’s been extremely touching and inspiring for me to see how much support is all around us. I’ve felt your support for myself and I’ve watched the senior folks reach out to Chad and offer him a shoulder and I want you to know that your sincerity and leadership didn’t go unnoticed. Thank you so much. It has meant so very much to us to know that we could experience our grief without shame, and just keep it real, while at the same time, knowing that we have a team around us who won’t let Paul’s ship sink.
Thank you and God Bless.