Normally when I see such a large group of employees gathered, eating cake and chatting, I feel the need to encourage everyone to get back to work. Today, however, is a special occasion. We are here to help send off Mark Young as he retires after 32 years with Ace Enterprises.
I want to thank each of you for coming to this milestone event. I also want to acknowledge some very special guests including Mark’s wife and children and the president and CEO of Ace Enterprises, Kelvin Oliver.
I have had the pleasure of being Mark’s boss for the last 15 years. As I look out over the crowd, I am reminded of the many good times we have all spent together as the Ace Enterprises family. I’m sure we all remember with the fondness the year that Mark volunteered to sit in the dunking booth at the company picnic. When the day was about to end, and no one had managed to sink Mark, it dawned on me that something funny may be going on.
Upon further inspection of the dunking tank, I realized that the mechanism that would normally cause one to fall into the water had been tampered with. When I pointed this out to Mark he, not surprisingly, acted quite innocent. Still, he knew that I knew what he had done.
We got him back, though. As he exited the booth at the end of the day, dry as a bone and with a satisfied smirk on his face, Joe Simms and Andy Jones greeted him with two large buckets of icy cold water.
It is memories like that that cause us to think of each other not just as colleagues, but as friends.
Of course, the professional contributions that Mark made to Ace Enterprises cannot be stressed enough. While he always made time for fun, he was also extremely hard working and dedicated to his job.
He doubled the sales in his district for a few years in a row and never had a bad year, even in a tough economy. He had the ability to rally the troops when times got tough, and his presence here will be impossible to replace.
He was the type of employee that manager’s dream about having. The standards that he set for himself were higher than those I set for him. That meant that I never really had to push him, because he pushed himself to be the best that he could be.
Now he will be taking his much deserved retirement. While he will be gone from the daily routine, I do hope that he will take time to stop by and visit from time to time.
Mark has shared with me that he is going to spend the next several years traveling. I wish you nothing but good times, Mark but, no, you can no longer submit your travel expenses to Ace Enterprises.
I want to personally thank you for the standard of excellence that you have helped to establish. In many ways, you have raised the bar. That standard will continue even after your retirement.
I want to wish you all the best, but also offer a word of caution via a quote from Jonathan Clements.
“Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it to the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money.”
May you have many years of peace and happiness.