March 17, 2003...twenty years later
March 17, 2003…..twenty years later...where did 20 years go?
We celebrate our twentieth anniversary – yes 20th Anniversary – on Friday! I’ve spoken that fact out loud several times and have repeated it in my head countless times over the past few days. I think I’m trying to process and embrace that reality as I recall people, and places, and projects…some of which remain today but others that are now memories.
What does starting and operating a company for 20 years look like? It looks like everything else in life that when we stop to reflect upon, feels like just a moment ago. Sure, there are memories that should stay tucked away in a corner but fortunately, those are few. For the most part, my mind recalls moments of excitement and wonder…and always, the persistent provision of our amazing God whose guidance and presence has been unceasing.
Some of the highlights and maybe a few details:
- The meeting with our corporate attorney tasked with forming equaTEK. Dave and I had agreed that we would be 50/50 partners but the attorney refused, expressing that one had to have majority control to make decisions and to avoid a tie. When we gave him our logic and reasoning, he changed his perspective and agreed to form his first 50/50 S Corporation – and our legal, equal partnership was formed.
- The original launch date was March 3, 2003 – and I still have the commemorative pen Dave gave me to mark the occasion – only it got delayed for two weeks.
- The evening our family & friends joined with us in our meager “office” to pray and dedicate whatever equaTEK’s future was to God and to invite Him to lead us.
- The first days….in the basement of my home, with four desks and a rack of servers crammed into a 19x20 space. The drone of the servers was torturous…which quickly convinced us they HAD TO GO!
- Discovering creative language to avoid the term “start-up” to help prospects take us seriously.
- The move to larger space….followed by the move to even larger space….followed by the move into our own building! I don’t want to ever move us again.
- Our first clients…several of which are still clients today, all these 20 years later.
- The projects we won when logic said we couldn’t…and the projects we lost that likely saved our hides.
- Saying hello to new employees and good-bye when life’s changes happened.
- The struggles to stay motivated and encouraged during the lean and difficult years…and the gratefulness shared during periods of abundance.
- The ability to argue and disagree…and the ability to find common ground because it was a friendship that kept us together.
- The support offered and the sacrafices made by our families..emotional, financial, and the absence of us when long hours away were required.
- To know that it is the relationship that we have with our clients and vendors (who become friends) that makes us who we are.
Sure, we’re older – 20 years older to be exact…..but these 20 years later, while a tear crowds into my eye as I reflect, it’s overshadowed by the smile I can’t contain.