I had my retirement cake today. This is my company sponsored retirement ceremony. Mat had arranged for Jeff to make the pictured plaque. There was a good turnout. Barbara was my non-company guest. The Perma Bear spoke for the company, recounted my career highlights and said a lot of nice things about me. I gave the following speech:
Thank you all for coming. I’m deeply honored. After last week’s retirement luncheon that Carrie and Mat had arranged, I kind of flubbed the speech part. I’ll try to do better now, but don’t get your hopes too high. Although, I’ve only been a Boeing/McDonnell employee for 24 years, it seems much longer – because it has been. I started working here as a contract engineer in 1980. I used to work across the street in flight simulation. Merle, an engineer, who was as old then as I am now, regaled me with his stories of the Mercury space program. He told stories of rubbing shoulders with Alan Sheppard and John Glenn and getting to meet JFK, when he toured the plant. Merle offered me a simple word of advice that I’ve always taken to heart: Always take the stairs, because if you take the stairs then someday you’ll be able to walk out of here, but, if you ride the elevator, you are going to be carried out of here instead. Heart attacks at work were more prevalent back then. Like I said simple advice, but I took it to heart and for more than just roaming the halls. I took from him, the message that if you give this job the extra effort, then someday you’ll get to leave on your own terms.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any overarching project or accomplishment to point to. Instead by the many people present here, I am reminded of the myriad of programs and activities that I have worked over the years. Most of which I cannot talk to anyone about, especially after tomorrow, but apparently I will be able to email you about them, just kidding. People have been telling me that I’ve been smiling too much lately. That is because I’m so looking forward to this next phase of my life. One thing though that I am not looking forward to is not being able to see you all on a regular basis. I will miss you. Before I go, I’ll be sharing my email address and I hope that we can stay in touch. Thanks again for coming. Let’s eat cake!