Hello 2015! Boy, am I happy you are here. 2014 was a year of peaks/valleys, accomplishments/failures, joy/heartbreak and astounding change. I am more than ready for a fresh start and a new year.
Taking a look back, I realize that I have accomplished a lot in the last couple of years. A lot that I never, ever dreamed I would accomplish. Those accomplishments, while I am proud of them, are most notable because of the people who helped me get there rather than the actual particulars of the accomplishments themselves.
This blog is dedicated to some of the CSI people in my life. You are all amazing.
It’s interesting to look at how particular people inspire you. Sometimes, it might not be in the way you would think. It is important to share your inspirations. It is important to show your gratitude. It is important because when people know they have made a difference in someone’s life they will likely continue to try to do so with others. Why, because it feels good to have an impact and that spreads and grows.
So as part of the very positive beginning to my New Year, in no particular order, I would like to share my gratitude to some of the #CSIKrakens. Each one of you has made a major impact in some way on my life and I thank you!
Interface Engineering: Not only for the support to do things that other engineering firms are not even thinking of doing but also for recognizing the value of continuing education and CSI involvement. Not only recognizing it but also backing it 100% and promoting it within our staff. Without that support, I would not have embarked on this journey in the first place.
Paul Treanor: We met by accident at my first CONSTRUCT in Phoenix and ended up becoming family. Truly, truly a soul mate and amazing friend still encouraging me behind the scenes even after moving on to new adventures. Friends and shoe lovers for life!
Ginny Powell: For your ever sunny Good Morning’s and positive attitude that often changes the course of my day.
Marvin Kemp: For your quiet support, guidance and encouragement. Just today you said “Don’t be a quitter.” I appreciate that and your friendship immensely.
Joy Davis: Far too many reasons to list. Recently, during a conference call, you said (in reference to me and Greg Markling) something along the lines of “The best speakers never think they are good speakers.” While you may not realize it, statements like that coming from a straight shooter like you make someone want to turn around and work even harder to be better.
John Guill: I don’t even know how many times this quiet, sweet guy made me choke on my coffee with his wicked funny sense of humor – seemingly always just when I needed it. Like he is psychic or something!
Sheldon Wolfe: Honestly, I was scared of you. Your “curmudgeon” reputation preceded our first meeting and I was terrified to fall under that scrutiny. I certainly did not want you sitting in my first presentation ever (which you did!) Turns out you are a huge teddy bear totally willing to teach, guide and mentor and one of the most thoughtful people I know. How lucky I am that we are friends.
Mitch Miller: Ahhh Mitch – you are a special case! You and Debbie are the reason I ever went beyond the chapter level of involvement in CSI. Your warmth at my first CSI Academies in San Diego was my first sign that CSI people are something special. You both have been favorites since that day and I ALWAYS enjoy your company. SFO, here we come – Kraken Style!
Evan Adams: We both know “West Coast is the Best Coast” – Believe it or not, you made my day the time you gave me props for that Tupac quote and I have enjoyed our interactions since. I sure hope we someday meet.
Ann Baker: Although I have only recently come to know you better, I believe we are kindred spirits in many ways and I am so glad we are friends. Your quiet strength and kindness is something I will always look up to.
Charles Hendricks: Charles, you have always been a rock star in my book! You reached sainthood status at CONSTRUCT in Baltimore at CSI Night Out when you were sitting with that elderly lady who was so excited to be there. Rather than be off playing like the rest of us, you made sure she had a companion and good company. You are a class act!
Vivian Volz: Smart, funny, warm, welcoming, engaging, interesting, fun! Shall I go on?
Linda Joens: I am not sure they make them any sweeter than you. Thank you for your friendship and guidance.
LeeAnn Slattery: My fellow pirate who is a whole heck of a lot of fun. Seriously, we need to live closer to each other but, then again, not sure CSI could handle that!
David Stutzman: A scholar and a gentleman who will still hang out with this crazy Kraken (i.e. CSI Academies, Charlotte) without being too damaged by the experience. Thank you for always sharing your knowledge and experience.
Eric D. Lussier: Not sure I could ever adequately express the difference you have made. You cheered for me when I couldn’t figure out how to cheer for myself and that means more than you will ever know. I will remember – “All you need is your own imagination, so use it that’s what it’s for. Go inside, for your finest inspiration, your dreams will open the door.” Your friendship is priceless.
Ellen Onstad: My friend, my compatriot, my right and left hand and the most committed CSI person I know. How you remember all those names is beyond me but I appreciate it every time you save my butt with a whisper in my ear. You are the best!
Rick Heiserman: You cornered me practically at day one and have been a mentor and a friend since that day. Your encouragement, guidance and smart aleck comments mean the world to me.
Bob Simmons: So debonair and proper and a raging #CSIKraken underneath. I will always appreciate your willingness to listen and think outside the box and I am glad we are friends.
Casey Robb: #CSIAcademies Indy was where I first got to know you better and what a pleasant surprise it was. Turns out you were way more approachable than I originally thought and truly interested in hearing what members had to say and what they were doing in CSI. I already liked you but you rocked my world with your recognition of the #CSIKraken at CONSTRUCT Baltimore.
Sheryl Dodd-Hansen: There is nothing I appreciate more than someone who is honest and not afraid to tell it like it is but can still do so with grace and a sense of humor. I look up to you!
Elias Saltz: My realist friend with a heart the size of Texas and a commitment to CSI that places him firmly among the best.
Lane Beougher: #CSIAcademies Indy is where I first actually met you. Dinner with you and the rest of the “Great Lakes Cartel” and I was hooked. I believe I now have you all recruited as #CSIKraken and I am just waiting for my GLC member card! Go Ducks!
Beth Stroshane: I so love your energy, intelligence and drive to take it to another level. I could talk to you for days and I learn something every time I do. Besides, you are a total kick in the pants to hang out with!
Ujjval Vyas: Boy, did I have you figured all wrong. I FINALLY got to meet you in Baltimore, stood in the lobby of the convention center and was enthralled listening to you talk for 1.5 hours. I believe you and Beth missed your lunch because of that chat. Turns out you are wicked smart AND really nice too. I have enjoyed getting to know you and look forward to planned future adventures in CSI.
Marc Chavez: What can I say? Every time I am around you, I not only have fun but I learn something in the process and you are always willing to take the time to share. Thank you.
Kathy Hempel: My good friend and co-conspirator who might just have a naughtier inner child than my own Peaches. Redecorating Kait’s office and sniper day were two of the best laugh’s that I had in a very long time. I look forward to our continued friendship and future adventures.
Randy Nishimura: Friend, fellow blogger, support and all around nice guy. I come away enriched from every interaction we have.
Paul Gerber: My Canadian brother and favorite pain in my rear! CONSTRUCT absolutely would be a lesser experience without you there. You are my friend forever!
Kait Solomon: CSI Staff rocks but I have a special place in my heart for you. You are sweet, kind, funny and you put up with Peaches with good humor and patience. You are the best!
Ray Gaines: You always have a kind word and a positive attitude and you like cool cars! Thank you for your friendship.
Skip Brown: You are truly one of the most caring individuals I know. Thank you for your support, advice, guidance and for reminding me to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid!)
Chris Bennett: We went from sharing some CDT info to fast friends. You and Nilou are two of my favorite people in the whole world. Thank you – for everything.
Andy McIntyre: Hmmm, the smart alecks seem to be my favorites and you rank right up there at the top and I am glad we are friends. Word of Advice: It would not be wise to stand me up for dinner again. J
Alexander Lungershausen & Corey Morris: There is nothing better than working with intelligent, forward thinking board members who are positive, open to change and incredible people. CSI Portland could not be doing the things we are doing without your dedication to being the best. Besides, you are both way funny and a blast to be around.
Cindy Barrand: Honestly, I thought I would never get over Paul leaving Hanley/Wood. I mean really, how would I survive without him. Well, I still have Paul and then here comes Cindy. Two for the price of one. You are what I call a sneaker. Sweet and innocent and then, just when you least expect it – BAM! I adore you and am glad we are friends. Still have to do something about that shoe thing though . . .
Thad Goodman: You are truly one of the kindest people I have ever met. The kind of person that, no matter what, you can count on. You have a huge heart and the level of caring you have for the people around you shows in everything you do. You are a role model for the kind of person I want to be.
Ali Clark & Jake LaManna: These two young professionals, who are also now engaged, come to a couple CSI Meetings and before you know it, they are on the Board, chairing committees, kicking butt and taking names. They are also fabulous people who are not only great to work with but a ton of fun to hang out with as well. I so look forward to more adventures and beer brew fests in our future.
Erica Bitterman-Ryon: Girl might just be the craziest Kraken and an absolute rock you can count on over and over and over again. Fun, funny, silly and the hardest worker I know. Will drop anything to help anybody, no matter how overwhelmed she is. Truly one of the very best and my favorite mermaid!
David Wrigley: Wonderful, sweet, intelligent, funny, warm person who you have no choice but to like the instant you meet him and who will teach you something new (whether it is CSI, music or something else) with every word out of his mouth. Total bonus that he will not hesitate to get on the dance floor! He does need to work on getting his Twitter account set up though. Definite strike against him but so thankful that I am lucky enough to know him.
2015 – Bring it!