Thursday, August 03, 2006

My Visit to FedEx

My daughter, Nicole, created this photo of me. She's starts the sixth grade next week and wants to be a graphics designer when she grows up. The reason why she drew it will soon become clear.

This week has been like a roller coaster ride with unexpected ups and downs. It started with two doctor visits that brought a little bad news that I will explain in my next posting. But first, the good news and the reason I'm back on cloud nine. Today I was invited back to FedEx for an 'all employee' meeting with my former work group. The group is known as Express Business Systems (EBS). EBS was formed a few years back by consolidating the best and brightest computer project managers and application support employees to better support the huge information technology (IT) demands that the airline side of FedEx (FedEx Express) expects. Most people know that FedEx is leader in the field of technology. Around 350 people were invited but some couldn't attend due to them being on call to support the operation. The agenda was intriguing. The CIO of FedEx was the guest speaker, then an excellent presentation titled 'The Anatomy of a Computer Hack' by our VP of Information Security, followed by an award ceremony.

The highlight for me was seeing and talking with all my old colleagues. I was sorry a few couldn't be there. It hasn't been that long since I've seen everyone, but when you are use to feeling the daily pulse of everything that goes on in an organization, and then you leave (not by choice), there is a loss of continuity. Being greeted by my friends and being recognized by my VP, Susan Matthews, and my boss, Bob Baxter, brought me back in an instant with a rush of joy. Susan is a passionate person, one the many reasons why I liked working for her. Bob Baxter always reminded me of my dad, they both are extremely intelligent. I'm not sure how many noticed but there was a moment when Susan announced the Don Taylor Charity Fund Drive ( that I had an uncontrollable burst of emotion and fought hard to fight back the tears. My mind wanted me to jump up on stage with Susan, turn to the crowd and give them a heartfelt thank you. But my body wouldn't allow that to occur. Please let it be known to everyone that was what I was thinking. The fund site was created external to FedEx by an extremely talented webmaster and a former employee of mine, Russ Johnson. My family is extremely grateful for what my friends at FedEx are doing to help us emotionally and allow others to assist financially. Especially the efforts of CharlesHawk, another former employee of mine, who recognized the need and is leading the charge.

When I got home I explained my day to the family at the dinner table. A month or two ago my children didn't understand why we needed help. In their own way they were aware that we were cutting back, but silently accepted the fact. It is such a blessing to have friends and family who care. For example, we are thankful that Nicole's soccer coach and his wife, Kevin and Sherrie Scardino, organized an effort to have meals delivered to our home by the parents of Nicole's soccer team. When I described the compassion I had experienced today at FedEx, it clicked with Chris and Nicole. After dinner, Nicole went to our computer and drew this picture of me.