Honoring a Retiring Employee
Somerset Maugham once said, “It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.” As the head of this company, I have tried to live by this motto, always expecting the best from myself and from everyone who works here. Over the years, some have not seen the value of this thinking and left. Others did value it and left anyway. And then there's Charlie Ryan, who stayed. Charlie stayed for thirty-five years! And each and every day he's been here, he's not only strived to do his best, but inspired everyone around him, myself included, to do so as well.
Charlie, nobody deserves to take it easy more than you do. In your thirty-five years here, you have put so much into this company that it's impossible to imagine what it would have been like had you never walked through our doors. And now, it's impossible to imagine Clearview Industries without your commitment, your energy, your passion. I have never lost a night's sleep over the fate of this company knowing you were around. Charlie, you have been a rock for me and for all of us.
You've been a shining example to so many people here. So many people approached me this week to share a story about you and talk about how much they will miss you. As a tribute to you, I'd like to single a few of them out and share with all of you what they told me about how much Charlie has meant to them.
First, I'd like to ask Brad Green to stand up. Brad came to Clearview fresh from Indiana University. His only practical work experience was a part-time cold call sales job for Mertin Lyle. Charlie, you took Brad under your wing and taught him how to sell. You shared your own work ethic and experience with him, telling him stories of the good old days. And Brad tells me that you made him lists of books to read — philosophy books, business books, even a book of poetry — books that you told Brad give a business executive his backbone. You took Brad to your business meetings. Introduced him to your clients. Treated him with respect. Treated him as an equal. You gave Brad the room to make mistakes, room to have triumphs. Charlie, you gave Brad the tools that helped him earn this company over two million dollars last year.
Another person whose life has been forever altered for having known you is Dolores Klein. Dolores, please stand up. Dolores has done everything from photocopying and faxing Charlie's documents to giving a speech for Charlie when he had laryngitis! Needless to say, the two of them have been quite a team for over twenty years. When Dolores' dear husband Alex passed away eight years ago with no life insurance, Charlie did more than pay a condolence call. Charlie established a trust fund for Dolores' daughter Shelley. Shelley is now in her third year at Fordham University. Shelley is the first person to go to college in Dolores' family, and she will always have you to thank for such a generous and selfless gift.
I know Brad and Dolores are going to miss you, Charlie. We all are. You better not get so good at golf that you don't let me beat you at least every once in a while! I know that you and Susan are excited to move into your condo in Arizona. I know you are excited to be close to your five beautiful grandchildren. I know that you are excited to write that great American novel you are always going on about. I know you are excited to start this new phase of your life.
I am excited for you. But, Charlie, I just want you to know that this company will never be the same without you. I believe I will miss you and think of you every day I continue to run this place. Thank you, Charlie. Thank you for your service. Thank you for being such an inspiration. And, Charlie, thank you for being a friend. Charlie, all of us here wish you all the health, love, and happiness you so much deserve.