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!

15 Responses to “end of the line”

  1. 1

    Congratulations! Anderson is a very nice town. The next time I am in the market for a professional-grade, electronic charger, measurement, safety, or security device, I will be sure to consider a Ryobi Tek4 and recommend one to all of my friends. Also, I read once on the Inter-web that the Black & Decker tools cause cancer and are made from baby harp seals.

  2. 2
    Steven Gaffin:

    Congratulations on the opportunities at TTI I have had the chance to meet some of the designers and am really impressed with how cool and down to earth they were. Maybe one day I will take a day trip to TTI and finally get to see where the power tool magic happens. Kick some ass, take some names, and keep posting!

  3. 3

    Big Congrats!

  4. 4
    Travis Read:

    Congrats Robert.
    Glad to see that you found a great job and didn’t have to sweat it out to much.

  5. 5

    Congratulations! Sounds like a really great job — I’m looking forward to see some of those new photographic possibilities materialize.

  6. 6
    Bob (bats):

    Excellent news! Congratulations, Robert.

  7. 7
    Jim Merk:

    Glad to read this Robert! I knew you’d land somewhere amazing.

  8. 8
    Kris Dunn:

    Robert –

    Great news – keep me posted, glad you found a home that was comfortable and where you wanted to be.

    I’ll continue to follow you via the blog, so keep writing!


  9. 9

    Thanks for all the warm wishes! Things really are working out nicely so far.

  10. 10

    Congratulation! At least you found it.

  11. 11
    Robert Donovan (a different one):

    Oh nice. You’re not that far from Charleston now (a little over 3 hours) and you’re near Greenville. Great area.

    If you ever head this way to chuck town let me know and we’ll get the two Robert Donovans together.

  12. 12

    Congrats, Bob! And if you need help with the forms, you know who to call…! I’ve very happy for you!

  13. 13

    Way to go! Congrats. I too just got a much desired position after 13 months and start 10/27. Blog as you can, I really enjoy them.

  14. 14
    Phillip Yonfa:

    Robert, A little late in getting to you since we talked last. Wanted to say congratulations on the new job and move! I’ve had the pleasure of working with you in the past at Expo and know first hand your undying passion for design – specifically product design & development. You’ve been gifted in this area and it’s great to see you excel.

    It’s a blessing that you’ve landed such a great position in this crazy economy. Good luck my friend!

  15. 15
    Anna Kate Donovan:

    It’s funny to go back and read this now. Two years have passed and we are celebrating the beginning of our second year in…..SARASOTA…working for ROBRADY! You never really know, do you? All things happen for a reason….

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