Reflecting on 22 Years in Business: Part Two

Around the Office
Brian Forth

Part 2: Our People

As I reflect on the last 22 years on business, I must admit it’s a bit humbling that we even made it this far given how much trouble I initially had trying to figure out how to get a state business license, apply for a federal tax id number, and set up our first checking account.

The business part of running a business was not something I was prepared for. All I knew was that I had a knack for empathizing with my early customers and I was well-positioned to not only understand their problems but provide solutions. Back then those solutions sometimes included fixing printers (now my kryptonite), networking servers, and workstations. Now my skills with those things end at turning them off and on again.

The fact is that I don’t really need to know much about how they work these days because SiteCrafting is made up of a few dozen very smart, caring people who not only care about making sure things run smoothly but can actually make them work – in ways much better than I ever could. It’s because of these incredible people that SiteCrafting is able to keep our promises to our partners and clients every single day.

SiteCrafting’s first employee, Mike Ash, started as a contractor while he was finishing up his senior year at Pacific Lutheran University. I drove to his house to drop off his workstation.

“Look for the trash can up in the tree out front,” he said.

I assumed there was a reason that garbage can was in the tree, but maybe not. After living in a house that may as well have been straight out of a Cops episode when I attended Gonzaga University, I was unfazed -— and felt like Mike would fit right in. Today, Mike is our Vice President at SiteCrafting—a role he’s grown into after nearly 20 years at SiteCrafting.

Our second employee is Ken. Ken volunteered to work for free while he finished school and helped his fellow students finish their projects at Clover Park. When he was not writing code, Ken spent his time volunteering with the Special Olympics (still does) and throwing his heart and soul into whatever projects came his way. Ken is beloved by our clients and is a legend among our team.

Pictured below: Ken (left) and Mike (right) circa 2014 and 2020.

Ken and Mike sitting on the couch at SiteCrafting
A remake photo of Ken and Mike sitting on the couch at SiteCrafting office

I could tell a story about every employee who has donned an email address. What I really want to say is this:

Get the right people on the bus and you can be pretty good. Keep the right people on the bus, set them free to excel, and you can do great things and build a great company. 

Today, we have over 35 employees and every day I wake up knowing that this team is going to pull together, challenge, and lift each other up to keep the promises that SiteCrafting makes to each other and our clients. So, today’s focus is on getting the right people — and keeping them.

Here is what I know to be true about the people who make up SiteCrafting:

  • They care.
  • They bring their best everyday.
  • They are not satisfied.
  • They refuse to let others fail.
  • They admit when they mess up and describe how they have ensured it will not be repeated.
  • They are not afraid of setbacks- they seek out solutions and opportunities.
  • They deliver great value to the people who choose to work with us.

Here are some things we do to keep these great people:

  • We treat everyone as if they are essential— because they are. We know that new ideas can come from anyone at any time and the diversity of our experiences makes our team stronger.
  • We see them as committed people, inspired to do the right thing
  • We see them as members of our family. We have good days and bad days, but at the end of every day, we are family.
  • We pay them fairly and provide more than the required benefits.
  • We are flexible.
  • We give them freedom to grow, value that growth, and provide education opportunities to foster and encourage that growth.
  • We allow them to shine.
  • We allow them to fail and learn lessons from those failures.

As a result, we:

  • Learn from them.
  • Are inspired by them.
  • Are better because of them.