A few months ago I got the bittersweet news that one of my favorite people in our industry, Bob Harder, was retiring. I’m not afraid to say…I got a little misty.
Bob has been a big part of my professional life, and the lives of hundreds of others – both within Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies and among our distributor customers. When I first met Bob (30+ years into his hardware career), he was training our nationwide specification writing team on a software program (Specworks) that he had developed to help us create hardware specifications. Bob’s program had been used by a smaller group of specwriters and hardware distributors prior to that time, but imagine introducing new technology to a group that had been using Microsoft Word, or paper and a pencil, to write specs. It wasn’t an easy task to convince some of us that this was a good idea (some specwriters can be a little set in their ways – just sayin), and we needed A LOT of support!
But Bob didn’t just create a software program…he knew how to write specs and create hardware sets, and he knew the products, the customers, and the business. Lucky for us, he also has the patience of a saint, and a work ethic unmatched by anyone I’ve ever met. I could call Bob day or night, weekdays and weekends, and he’d answer the phone and fix my problem. He did the same for all of the other specwriters, and the customers who were using the program. When I worried that he was working too hard, he worried that I wasn’t getting enough sleep. I never felt like I was bothering him or that he had better things to do. And I know he gave everyone that same attention.
More recently, Bob has been instrumental in the development of our new specwriting software, and has continued to be there for us whenever we needed him, even though he was extremely busy juggling various aspects of the new tool’s development. When Bob’s upcoming retirement was announced, there was a simultaneous feeling of “he deserves it more than anyone,” and “oh no – how will we survive this?” We miss him every day, but hope that he’s taking some time to relax and enjoy.
Bob’s retirement party was this week, and the poster below was created in honor of Bob, who is pictured in several photos on the poster depicting our company’s history. He has been such a huge part of our success, for so many years. I wanted to share this with you, and give those of you who know and love Bob the opportunity to share your thoughts by leaving a comment. [Click the image to enlarge it and read the timeline.]