A weekly column on the state of the company from Six Pack Companies
CEO, Steven C. Adams
August 3, 2009
Infrastructure: The Unsung Corporate Hero
As a bass player, I have a more personal insight into the importance of a solid
infrastructure than many executives do. In most bands, the bass player is the last
guy you notice. While the singers and guitar players deliver the melodies and
drag the audience in, the bass player quietly lays down the rhythm that keeps it all together,
toiling in relative anonymity and obvious only when he makes a mistake.
This is much the way our infrastructure teams operate. Day in and day out, there
are dozens of Six Pack Companies employees all over the country laying the foundation
for the higher profile organizations to meet and exceed their goals. From human
resources executives to stockroom clerks to network administrators, these people
are the ones keeping this company alive and operating smoothly, yet we never seem
to notice them until there's a problem.
This is by no means unique to our company. The world today is full of examples
of this sort of thinking. The guards and tackles toiling on the line in football.
The roadies testing out the lights and sound before a big concert. The highway
repair crews fixing the potholes and mending the bridges that get us to work.
It's often too easy to just take these people for granted, lashing out at them
when they prevent us from doing what we need to do, but never thanking them for
the large majority of the time that they help us be successful.
As we draw near the completion of WIRE, the massive re-engineering of our
headquarters network infrastructure, I have once again had the importance of a
strong and reliable infrastructure brought to the front of my mind. It's a
testament to the strength of our operations that I rarely have to worry about
any of our corporate infrastructure. But it does make me pause and think about
what would happen if it wasn't working.
It's very difficult to win in football without a strong offensive line protecting
the quarterback and running backs and letting them get the job done. If you've
ever been to a concert with poor lighting and miserable sound, you can picture the
importance of the road crew even as you wince at the screeching feedback. And all
it takes is one big backup due to an emergency road repair to remind us all that
the guys out spreading asphalt and pouring concrete on the highways are saving us
hours a week on the roads.
So I want to take this week to salute the unsung heroes of the Six Pack Companies:
the infrastructure teams that are so rarely appreciated, yet are so essential to
our mission here. To all the network and systems administrators, the personnel and
finance departments, the administrative teams, the guys in the stockrooms, the
purchasing staff, our research assistants, and the many others I didn't get to mention
by name, thank you all. Next year at the company meeting, when we're standing up
there talking about what we achieved, remember that you are the ones who made that happen.
Lastly, I'd like to recognize our Chief Operating Officer, Jacob Troyer, for keeping
things running so smoothly that I didn't stop even to think about our infrastructure teams
for nearly two years. So next time you're on a deadline and need some urgent
support from the team behind the team, be sure to thank them for helping all of us
continue to grow and succeed. Oh, and next time you're watching a band play, be sure to
save a little applause for the bass player. You never know, he might be your CEO.