end of the line
18 months ago I left my job as VP of Marketing and Design at Griffin Technology in Nashville, TN. I spent last summer traveling the country looking for a new job. With no promising prospects I decided to cash it all in and take a year off to go back to school and complete my degree in Industrial design at Auburn University. The original plan was to have a new job lined up by graduation in early August. When that didn’t happen things started to get desperate.
But, just as things were looking their darkest I suddenly found myself this week with two very different opportunities. One was with an ass-kicking product development firm in Sarasota, FL called RoBrady Design. The other was with TTi in Anderson, SC; the $3B company behind famous brands like Ryobi, Milwaukee, Ridgid power tools, Hoover, and Dirt Devil. After spending a day-and-a-half with the team at TTi Monday and Tuesday, I flew down to Sarasota and did it all again with the RoBrady team Wednesday and Thursday. By Friday morning I had nearly identical offers from both companies!
After all that we have been through over the past 18 months, I never thought that I would find myself having to make such a difficult decision. Both companies were offering positions that were a perfect fit for me. Ultimately I decided to accept the offer to become the Senior Product Manager for the Ryobi Tek4 line of electronic tools with TTi. The decision came down to a quality of life issue. For most of my career I have been working with fast-paced, low resource, high growth, run-around-with-your-hair-on-fire start-up type companies. At TTi I finally have an opportunity to take all of my energy, experience and enthusiasm for product development and put it to work with a company that has virtually unlimited resources.
Secondly, we really like the small town feel of Anderson and its proximity to Hartwell Lake, the Smoky Mountains, the Atlantic coast beaches, Atlanta, and Birmingham all weighed heavily in our decision. Sarasota is a beautiful place where we have vacationed many times and would love to live. But, in the end, the slower pace of life in South Carolina and the opportunity to work for a company where more of my energy can hopefully be put towards developing great products rather than putting out fires and building infrastructure won over.
Rob, Dickie, Jeff, Jodi, and the rest of the team at RoBrady were fabulous. It absolutely crushed me to have to tell them no. They have such vibrancy and energy and are working on some super cool projects and I was completely flattered that they wanted me on their team. I will keep in touch with them and I highly recommend taking a look at them if you have product development needs. Keep an eye on them because they are going places for sure.
Meanwhile, another difficult component to my decision was having to turn down a back-up offer to return to my “home” at ExpoDisplays in Birmingham. Jeff and David had put together a position for me that would get me back to Birmingham and put me back to work with the company that I helped build from the ground up. I miss all my buds at Expo and will always hold a soft spot in my heart for them. I’m sure our paths will cross again!
Things are going to be crazy for us over the next couple of months as we get relocated and I get settled into the new job. I will try to post periodic updates here but keep an eye on my Flickr stream as well for photographic micro-updates. I start Wednesday and am already planning my first China trip for the first of November. The short-term plan is for us to find a rental house in Anderson in the next week or two and then TTi will take care of packing up our apartment in Auburn and move us into our new place as soon as we’re ready. And you know what? We’re ready!
While this may be the end of the line for my career search, it’s the beginning of a whole new adventure! WOOT!