The future of Elm: Part 1 of 4

By Bob Bacon

I became president of Elm one night in May of 2000, when Bob Schmidt — the founder of Elm — died suddenly from an aneurysm. I said goodbye to him when I left the office around 6 p.m. and received a call after midnight that he was gravely ill. Because Bob built Elm to be strong and successful, he and I were well into an ownership transfer plan when he passed. Everything he had worked to create in our company was able to continue and preserve his legacy.

As president, I get to steer and support our company culture and direction. As I have written before, Elm has a great culture and it makes this easy. When I started at Elm I was a college student looking for some part-time work. I was hired for one week over my holiday break as a helper. The crew and work suited me and they invited me to continue working part-time. That was in 1979. Yes, that will be 44 years this January.

Our success as a company is driven by a determination to always do a good job and improve every day.  My time here has provided me with many opportunities to improve and be successful. I hope you believe we have provided opportunities for you as well. As I look back, I see clear evidence that we have been able to help our folks learn, improve and be successful. The work we do enables our clients to do things that provide value to their customers and workers. What we all give back to our communities in the form of volunteer time and money is another important piece of our success.

While I have no plans to immediately retire, I know that a time will come when I will turn over the leadership of Elm to others. It is very important to me that the company, our culture, our technical skill and financial strength continues after I leave. I have studied many successful companies and have decided that the future of Elm is best secured by passing ownership of the company to the present and future leaders in a structured and methodical way.

I appreciate and thank you for all you do and want you to know the company is here to stay and will keep moving ahead in the years to come.