Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Best People

The inimitable Rosie Nice.
Any primer on running a successful business will tell you it is axiomatic that the best companies employ the best people. Assembling the right mix of talent and more importantly staff members who enjoy each other’s company is critical. This is particularly true for small companies since each employee figures so prominently in determining business success or failure. 
The overwhelming majority of architectural practices are small companies. With a current staff of fourteen, the firm I work for (Robertson/Sherwood/Architects) is no exception. To say we’re like a family is not hyperbole. Many of us have worked together for decades. We’ve shared our professional triumphs and failures, and our personal ones too. I attribute the good fortune we’ve enjoyed for so many years to our genuine affection for and ease with one another. It’s because of the people I work with that walking through our office door each day is as comfortable as slipping on an old shoe. 
Because we employ the right people, Robertson/Sherwood/Architects has a distinct personality. Definitely first among equals in this regard is our soon-to-be retired, longtime office manager Rosie Nice. More than anyone else (aside from principals Jim Robertson and Carl Sherwood), Rosie has been synonymous with Robertson/Sherwood/Architects. By force of her character—and she is nothing if not a character—Rosie has shaped our office culture in immeasurably positive ways. 
Rosie came with the office when Jim and Carl purchased it from founders Don Lutes and Ron Sanetel in 1986. In fact, with the exception of a brief time away in the mid-seventies, Rosie has been the firm’s office manager, receptionist, bookkeeper, gadfly, chief cook and bottle washer for nearly forty years. During her time with us, she has provided our clients and visitors with their always memorable first impression of our office. She’s kept the ancillary aspects of our operation running smoothly so that we’ve been able to focus on service to our clients and creating the best architecture we can. 
Jim and Carl recently hosted a big party to thank Rosie for her inestimable contributions and celebrate her pending retirement. Well over a hundred of the professional colleagues, friends, and acquaintances she’s come to know during her long career were on hand. Everyone had a great time reminiscing with Rosie. Carl shared a tribute the members of our office composed for the occasion. It largely took the form of an affectionate and sometimes irreverent list of adjectives and nouns to help describe what Rosie has meant to us: 
For our uniquely. . . 
. . . beautiful, awesome, fabulous, fun, colorful, spirited, cheerful, witty, hilarious, friendly, memorable, authentic, raucous, one-in-a-million, genuine, obnoxious, outgoing, direct, indomitable, pushy, boisterous, stubborn, strong, spunky, scheming, considerate, thorny, cattle-prod-wielding, irreplaceable, technology resistant, warm, dedicated, loyal, persistent, brassy, loud, nutty, bodacious, caring, dependable, unfiltered, opinionated, full-of-life, huggable, kind and loving . . . 
. . . friend, partner, MVP, coworker, confidant, big sister, mom, rascal, shoulder-to-cry-on, listener, gad-about-town, hootenanny, kick-in-the-pants, bull-in-a-China-shop, handful, artist, treasure, character, heart-of-our-clan, piece-of-work . . . 
. . . and brightest will be missed! 
We love you, 
Carl, Jim…and the Gang! 
Jim Robertson (left) and Carl Sherwood (right) fete Rosie at her retirement party.
Rosie officially retires on December 31 but she’ll continue to help us out on an as-needed basis (Rosie’s relishing the opportunity to bill her services to us at a yet-to-be-determined exorbitant rate per hour). She’s been grooming her successor, Sherry White, since this past October, so we expect the transition to be smooth. Sherry brings a similar energy and enthusiasm to her work as Rosie always has, and is a great fit for our office. 
Personality traits—such as whether an employee has integrity, resiliency, self-confidence, and a strong work ethic—matter as much to employers, if not more, as one’s educational background or initial skill set. I’m pretty sure Robertson/Sherwood/Architects is not alone in this regard. Every firm has its own unique office culture. I’m so glad Rosie played an outsized role in shaping ours for so many years. 
All of us at Robertson/Sherwood/Architects wish Rosie and her husband, Tom, the best as she opens a new chapter in her life. We love her and will miss the undeniable energy she brought to the office each day. There’s no doubt about it: Rosie is one of the best people you could ever have the privilege to know!

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