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Holiday 2014 Letter From The CEO

Happy Holidays from all of us at Armstrong Steel

No one enjoys the Holidays more than I do. Although I love time spent with family, the general spirit of generosity and joy this time of year elicits in people, the food, the decorations, and the opportunity to share my success with others, one of the biggest reasons I enjoy this season is that it signals the opportune time to reflect on where I’ve been the previous twelve months and provides an annual clean slate to start again with resolve. To start with new resolution!

I’m on the fence about New Year’s resolutions, however. They’re promising in theory but generally, they end up on the curb somewhere between the discarded Christmas tree and the miles of torn wrapping paper. Instead of looking forward to the next year with energy and excitement I inevitably dread my new pledges to get in better shape, lower my cholesterol, learn a language, or eat more vegetables.

Not this year.

This year, I’m taking a different approach. Somewhere in the bustle of the past year, I realized the importance of rejoicing in the little moments that make up my life. John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens while you’re making plans.” What was written as a catchy lyric has become my 2015 mantra.

This year I plan on doing a few things differently. I plan on having more ‘date nights,’ when I’ll shut my phone off and enjoy the company of the person sitting across from me. I plan on eating more lazy breakfasts on the weekends and crawling back into bed to read the paper or watch a game, and I won’t feel guilty about it. I’ll get away more to places with no cell phone service.

I’ll spend more time outside, be nicer to myself and rearrange my furniture so I can spend more time looking out my windows rather than at my walls. I’ll visit more museums, read real books made from paper pages – not the electronic stuff I’ve downloaded on my tablet. I’ll check out live music venues, grab a beer and wings more often after work with friends. I’ll see movies in theaters – sometimes just for the red vines and buttery popcorn.

I’ll text message less, make more actual phone calls, and speak with more people, face-to-face. I won’t sweat the small stuff, I won’t feel overwhelmed by the big stuff, and I’ll enjoy more of the day-to-day stuff.

I liken Armstrong’s younger years to a David and Goliath story, because Armstrong began as a very small company with only a few employees and was regularly competing against larger players in the industry. Today, we still face off against those players, but God has blessed our organization. We continue to expand across the nation and our talented and dedicated staff has grown. We have clients all over the world and in every state and we’ve built a track record of excellence that is unparalleled in our industry.

But what does all this mean?

To my customers, it means that I’ll keep directing my employees to be mindful of your experience and situation, to empathize and provide service excellence, but I won’t do it by memo or policy or regulations; I’ll do it by my example.

To my employees, it means that I’ll keep working hard to make Armstrong a place where ideas can flourish and jobs can be secure, but I won’t do it by over working myself or you; I’ll do it by fostering a spirit of inclusion and encouraging you to discover your passions, then follow those passions, on purpose.

To my friends, it means that I’ll keep in touch even though I might be busy, I’ll take your calls when I used to let it go to voice mail, I’ll listen more and laugh more with you. I’ll have more summer BBQs and Friday night cigar and scotch get togethers.

It sounds like a lot, I know and this letter is hardly the kind of letter most CEO’s write during the Holiday season, but it’s been on my mind a lot. And while I still think getting in shape is important, my cholesterol might stand to go down a couple numbers and everyone can use more vegetables in their diet, I’ve resolved that this year I’m going to take it a little easy on myself, and so should you. It’s made me more excited about what 2015 will bring, it’s made me appreciate what 2014 has already provided, and it makes this day, today, each day, seem like the best day so far. It means tomorrow promises an even better day.

I’m anticipating that it’ll make my regular days all seem like Holidays, and, well, who doesn’t want a full year of those?

Season’s Greetings and blessings for the next year,

Ethan Chumley

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