A couple of weeks ago our family held a “virtual” graduation for Leanna (our youngest) who officially graduated from Boston University. But, because of Covid -19 she was deprived of the actual ceremony, so we held our own. Leanna wore her sister’s cap and gown, and “Alexa” played Pomp and Circumstance. Gregory and Nicole Marshall dressed up and presented Leanna with a homemade diploma, and the rest of the gang (Laurissa and Steven Brantley from Mosier, Oregon, Michael, Nicole, and Coco Rybacki from Natick, MA) all joined in the celebration on Zoom, as did the commencement speaker. Big brother Michael arranged for Nick Segura (the top DJ in Providence) to give the commencement speech and he was a riot and really added to Leanna’s special day.
Chris and I were very proud to have sent four kids through college, but what really hit us was how drastically life has changed because of technology. Though I agree that the use of technology has made us all more efficient, there are some things I miss:
- A handshake or a hug versus an elbow touch.
- Looking someone in the eye as opposed to seeing them on a screen.
- Reading a story from a book as opposed to reading on a “tablet”.
- Signing my name as opposed to “DocuSign” on important documents.
- Going to the store as opposed to buying everything online.
- Seeing someone’s face as opposed to looking at a mask.
Covid-19 is real and it’s dangerous. Erring on the side of caution is much better than the alternative, but sooner or later we must get back to some semblance of normalcy. That won’t happen until there is a vaccine and that I hope is only months away not years.
I’ve interacted with many businesses over the years and what stands out to me about the water works industry is how social and people-friendly it is. Unlike high tech or biotech, we are a relationship-first industry, where the individuals matter. I’ve often said you don’t do business with the sign on the door, you do business with the people inside the door, and the people inside the door are as good as it gets. Doing this for over 40 years has given me a perspective few are lucky enough to have. In retrospect, I feel blessed to have spent my entire career doing something I love alongside people I truly respect and care about. The customer base is second to none and you only have to look at The Rybacki Memorial Golf Tournament which has raised over 1 million dollars for kids with cancer as a testament to the hearts and characters of the people in the water works industry. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay happy.