Well here we are in the LAN bar with an open beer and glasses raised… Memories to come…
A check in with Mr. Artley reveals that it’s Time Square on New Year’s Eve in the Pullman this evening…
It’s hard for me to think of the Pullman without thinking of many good friends and people I now consider family. For instance, the man responsible for introducing me to the Pullman was the man who hired me at Adelphia in 2000, Dale Reynolds. Dale was a pioneer of the cable tv advertising business. He built a $100M business right out of 19 Middlebrook Ave. What I learned from Dale was just let people who know their jobs do their jobs and stay out of the way. And of course to be successful at Adelphia Media Services in the great Central Region one had to do business at the Pullman.
I will never forget my first day on the job. Dale asked me across the street for a drink and there it began. Unraveling the mysteries of the cable ad business began. I recall telling my Dad about that night with a certain pride I had not felt before – my boss asked me out for a beer. Wow. My Dad affirmed Dale was a good man.
As a matter of fact the feeling I had at the time was that I was becoming my father. Once when visiting my Dad on summer vacation he came home from work late, his coworkers dropping him off at home. Because of the divorce, my Dad had only one time a year to see me and it was one month each summer. That night he apologized profusely, “I’m sorry Tommy but when the boss says ‘let’s have a drink’, you have to have a drink.” I’m not sure if I have ever turned down my boss for a drink but if I did I’m sure it was because family came first (Tracey and I have been together for 13 years+ – longer than my parents I might add).
Thanks Dale for helping me walk in my father’s footsteps! We’ll never forget it.
In case you’re wondering what the beer is on tap this evening at LAN… New Belgium’s seasonal Spring brew, Springboard Ale. I’m sick of winter. The natives here in the Lou tell me this has been one of the most brutal winters in recent memory. Temperatures in the single digits, snow, ice, nasty rain, and wind. I just want it to go away so I can run again. I now hate the gym. I yearn for the open road. Free of ice.
Dale, and the Pullman, introduced me to a man I consider my brother, “Frank.” Nah, John was a Pullman regular and Dale recruited John (or maybe it was the other way around) to join the team as our operations lead. John and I spent countless hours at the Pullman rehashing many a business strategy. However what I remember most was my education on the finer art of marriage, and friendship, and brotherhood. This is another entire blog posting and we chant reveal the curriculum. So let me move on to a more deeper thought…
Being a Gen X’er and in a rut, one late night at the Pullman after many a cold beverage I began to spill negativity like Niagra spills fresh spring water. I forget what the issue was, most likely some stupid little mundane doesn’t matter thing. What I do remember was the piercing stare from across the table and the comment, “Wow. I thought you were the most genuine person I knew.” And that’s all it took. “Genuine” is a word I rarely use today and it’s only used to show absolute affection and respect. The Artley’s of Swoope, Virginia are the most genuine people you’ll ever meet.
What can you say about Kate Woodward? Tons. I believe Kate to be one of the most kind and considerate people I know. She is also nonsensical. She will be frank and provide plenty of straight arrows in answering questions. Her friends must feel blessed to have her honest candor to lean on in tough times.
I particularly remember several things about Kate: 1) She makes one hell of a bloody mary, 2) her grandmother’s pecan pie is the real deal, and 3) if it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t have lost over 45 pounds several years ago.
That’s right Jared. Subway doesn’t have anything on Kate Woodward when you actually want to lose weight and live. All my buddies would make fun of me and there was Kate serving me up a 4 oz. salmon filet over spinach. There was the naked Fred Harvey sandwhich. The grilled chicken salad with no bacon, dressing on the side. The box car burger with only the patty over a side salad. And there was plenty of Amstel Light in the cooler for those late work nights.
Kate is the real deal. And she’ll be back with a vengeance.
One last memory… We had gotten an email from our boss up in Coudersport, PN that he was coming to town for a visit. It was kind of a sudden visit in November of 2004. There was to be the usual team meetings and one-on-ones but this was a short one day trip for him.
After the full day of visitation Jack pulled me aside to have a “private” chat in the Pullman lounge. He sat me down and moments later I was a corporate Vice President. All the team was present to help me celebrate. And it was there at the Pullman bar in Staunton, Virginia where I had accomplished the unthinkable. Actually as one of our corporate attorneys later told me, I had been the last person promoted to a corporate VP position before the sale announcement as he knew it. It remains the pinnacle of my career to date.
I don’t know if Jack knew the significance, or if I did. There was no better place for me to get that news. No other place to sip champagne with my friends. No other place I would rather be tonight, celebrating the many fond memories as the trains roll through the station. We are there in spirit this evening.
Our other Pullman highlights include the champagne ritual. Fighting cable disease at every corner calls for a little celebration at every turn and it was at the Pullman where we would celebrate our survival with a champagne toast. Kate knew how to serve it up and understood it’s importance every time. When a cable diseased executive would find a greater opportunity, we would toast his/her departure. When the Rigas’ were found guilty of many counts of fraud, hell yea we toasted the verdict. When a close friend and mentor moved on to greater horizons, we remembered.
The Pullman was always our place. The place to remember. A place to build dreams. A place to make lasting friendships. The place where all were welcome and all was accepted. The Pullman was our home. It remains our home in our hearts.
So it is here tonight virtually from St. Louis that we salute Kate Woodward and the Pullman Restaurant… thank you for welcoming us in and providing a haven from the monsters of the day. Thank you for your laughter, your support. Thank you for all.