Every year, Austin takes time to recognize the service and tenure of our employees and especially recognize those that reach milestones of 5, 10, 15 years, etc. Each year, we look in awe at those who have been with Austin for 35, 40, even 45 years, and we have two employees this year who reached the 40-year mark. That is a long time with an organization and I believe it speaks to the character of both the employee and the organization. In reality, the two are one and the same.
There is an old refrain that we spend more waking hours with our co-workers than we do our families. If you’re in our business, especially those traveling to remote job sites working in the field, that is absolutely the case. The corollary to this is that co-workers are like family, especially if the corporate culture promotes a caring environment. Work and Family. Family and Work. In some ways, the two are one and the same.
I got an email early last Sunday from one of my closest advisors and co-workers telling me that his brother, Doug, who was a superintendent for Austin at a jobsite, passed away suddenly. Doug was to receive his 25 year service award this weekend and I couldn’t help but reflect on the significance of 25 years in the field. I think of Doug as one of our warriors. He was the sort of man who would go anywhere, do anything for the Company and without a complaint. He was, as one person put it, part of a special brotherhood (there is that family thing again).
My observation is that jobsite teams are unique family units unto themselves. Most of the field team is away from home, working long hours and have little backup – if one gets sick or goes on vacation, you learn to pick up the slack. You learn to cover for each other. You have each other’s back. I think that after 25 years, Doug was the big brother everyone wanted on the site. Things just went better when he was there. He will be missed, in so many ways.
Austin is fortunate to have so many people with such long tenure, like Doug. They are the core of the Company’s culture and around that, making the whole are those with 2, 5, 10 years and so on. Last year was a very good year for Austin. We increased our size in terms of the number of employees by 30% in 2013. Many new, younger siblings came into the family.
In 2039, when one of them is celebrating their 25 years with the Company, I trust they will be reflecting on the consistency of the culture they have been part of and celebrating success with their work “sisters and brothers”, along with the rest of their family and encouraging the new employees that year to look forward to a long future in the Austin family.
Loyalty and friendship, which is to me the same, created all the wealth that I’ve ever thought I’d have.
You’ve got to give loyalty down, if you want loyalty up.
Donald T. Regan