10 Years Old
Keystone turns ten this month. With any luck we'll avoid teen angst, sullen looks, and rebellious hair styles. If we tell you we wish we were never born, please understand it's just a phase.
Last fall, we were pitching a complete website redesign to a long-standing customer. When we were finished with our pitch, I got some news about our performance. "I was told you didn't do a good job of bragging on yourself," Mike told me. I didn't want to admit it, but he was right. We don't brag - we just get things done and move to the next. The urge to brag just isn't in our nature...so forgive me while I brag a bit.
When we started Keystone in 2003, we had a vision for providing excellent products and services delivered by people who enjoyed their job. Today, I'd like to believe that's true. Mike and I are quite proud of what we - all of us - have achieved in the intervening ten years.
Mike Miller is the other half of the LLC known as Keystone Business Solutions. When we met, I knew he was everything I wasn't: analytical, unflappable, and laser-focused on the task at hand. What you and I both have discovered in the last ten years is that Mike hasn't changed in that regard. He knows his craft, approaches every problem with the end in mind, and never allows chaos to divert him. It's hard for me to imagine having any other business partner. Fortunately, he's given up motocross and taken up golf, so my chances of having to find his replacement have diminished significantly.
Jamie Holland has been with us since day one, designing website excellence. It's hard to believe that he's spent nearly 1/3 of his LIFE at Keystone. We could have chosen any number of people to be the workhorse of our website development practice, none of which would have done half the job he does every day. He's always in good humor and always has a good story or deal brewing. I figure if I keep him all hopped up on Cafe Rakka, he'll be around for at least another decade.
Adam Arnold came to us via his wife who I knew first as a great friend, the former Kara Scruggs. When we were on the hunt for a new IT consultant, she recommended her husband. Adam's interview was...well, I didn't believe anyone could live up to the kind of energy and enthusiasm he displayed. Boy was I wrong. An absolute "A" player, Adam just keeps getting it done...and I'm proud to work with him. Oh, and he doesn't like it when people think he's Kara's dad. Or grandfather.
Thomas Campbell is not only a star problem-solver, he's also our only certified Karaoke expert. His rendition of Rammstein's Du Hast is legendary. I'm convinced that he's really good at what he does because he has a bachelor's degree in psychology. Maybe that's how he's able to cope with me? Anyway, I enjoy Thomas because he's always so courteous and helpful to our customers...and a downright good dude. Oh, and he won't take any guff from "the man."
Kathryn Good is the newest addition to the team. Oddly enough, Mike and I have known Kathryn since well before Keystone was founded. Somehow, we managed to get her in the fold year later, after a move to Buffalo, New York and back. She's the boss of detail, message, and goals...oh, and marketing. Kathryn is the shepherd of the website flock, the third leg of the barstool, our glue...our red Swingline stapler. I don't know what that actually means...but I do know she's become an even better friend and an integral part of all that is Keystone.
Michelle See is last for a reason...she's actually the foundation holding up this whole team. Mark See, Michelle's lesser half, has been a friend of mine for years. We were at a Predators game one night and he mentioned that Michelle was ready to go back into the workforce. I nearly fell over the railing...I let him know in no uncertain terms that her services would be needed at Keystone immediately, if not sooner. I knew she was a rock star. We've never looked back. Michelle does everything we ask, better than we ask for it to be done. She keeps us stocked with coffee, manages all the Keystone outings and events, and manages our office when not managing Mark, Daniel, Michael and their two German shepherds. Michelle is an absolute delight.
So that feels like enough bragging to me. We have achieved the two big picture goals we set out to achieve ten years ago. We have a fantastic company culture and we do a damn good job for our customers. Our people are great, our customers are great and happy. Boom. Success.
On this, our tenth anniversary, I wish the same for you and your business!