Thursday, February 6, 2014

My last day at UFP...

Today is my last day with Universal Forest Products.  I began my tenure here almost 7 years ago.  I was in a job with a failing company, selling data center services that the company had stopped investing in.  I despised my job at the time and wanted to get out of sales and back into network administration.  I got an email from a headhunter about an opportunity on the North side of Grand Rapids.  She asked if I could come in that day for an interview.  An hour and a half later, I was sitting in the lobby waiting for an interview.  I had a second interview over the phone that night and was offered the position a few days later. I got the job with UFP at a time when my life was in great turmoil and I believe the timing was a gift from God. After three months, I was hired in full time and the stress I had been under for the last three years was gone.

The first several years at UFP were fantastic!  Life had become stable again and my growing family was happy and healthy.  But then my team started experiencing morale problems due to the "leadership" of our boss.  I can't speak for my team, but for me, it had come to a point where I was looking to make a move again. When you lose respect for your boss, good things cease to happen.  I began dreading coming to work.  Eventually, UFP recognized this and took action.  With the change in leadership, there was a newfound sense of team and life was good again. For the last two years, I've felt a great sense of purpose and direction and it is all due to this change.

In December of last year, I was blessed with phone call from an old friend.  He was looking for someone to join his team because his company was growing. He needed help and wanted me to join his team. Initially, I turned him down because of the great year UFP was having and the timing just wasn't quite right.  A week went by and I got an email from him that changed everything.  We met for a few hours in the evening and I decided that the time was right for a change.  A week later I had a written offer in my Inbox that I accepted the following day.

So here I sit, on my last day at UFP.  My responsibilities have been shifted to my very capable teammates and my thoughts return to all the good times that I had here. Like the time I fell asleep under my desk during an all night datacenter move. And my first UFP Christmas party where I overshot before the party started and, upon arriving to the party, picked up the now CEO's pitcher of beer and had a few swigs, followed by a lot of Owen bear hugs for my new teammates. I remember all the days of playing wallyball and working out in the Exercise Room at lunch time. And playing volleyball on a hot summer day on the sand court that they put in two years ago.  All the Wednesday Night Beer Club meetings spent with great friends.  But, for me, the very best and most memorable part of working at UFP these last seven years, is all the great, motivated and happy people that came into my life. This is why no one ever leaves UFP.

On my last day here, I feel satisfied knowing that my contribution helped the company and my presence affected people in a positive way.  I'm sad to be leaving a great company, but excited for a new opportunity with some old friends.  I will miss all of you at UFP, but I know I'll see you around.  Thank you for changing my life.