I read attentively Errol's recent post, 25 years and still loving it!, from beginning to end. Frankly, it reminded me of my own start in the industry and how I have evolved personally and professionally over the last 18 years.
So much was my interest in the article that I asked Errol to provide some additional insight into his early days working for Great Plains Software, how he's got here today, and what made those early days special. After all, we all have dealth with that one support case we will always remember.
"This is the group of 11 support people that I started with. A great group. Still with Microsoft are Sue (Ewing) Larson, Lynne Stockstad, Randy Gerhold, Cheri (Whelan) Schoenfish, and myself. Both Randy and I left Great Plains and returned later. Randy came back through the acquisition of Real World and I left the company for 3 ½ years to work for a reselling partner of GP in Fargo and came back 16 ½ years ago. I’ve been a support technician, quality assurance manager in Development, a reselling partner, a Fargo-based partner account manager, Regional Sales manager, National and Global Accounts Sales Manager, Director of Sales and Marketing of Australasia, CRM evangelist, and Director of Product Management for Dynamics GP and SL.
In 1987, As a recent college grad your initial impressions of such a young and vibrant company are “Man, what a great place to work”. The average age of Great Plains Software in 1987 was around 24 years old, so you can imagine the type of culture that was perpetuated. We worked long hours and spent all of our waking hours together as a group because most of us were young and single and on our first jobs. I really did love my first job, there was a certain sense of pride in helping someone solve a situation with their software. I remember one call in particular; A lady had called in because she was having problems with a payroll check run and she had 50 migrant workers waiting outside her trailer office for their checks. After a few minutes and getting the check run going she said “You’ve literally saved my life today, thank you sooo much”. There were always challenging times doing phone support for a software company also, but we built a reputation of being the best software support in the industry and won many awards along the way."
You will agree with me that nothing beats the hairdos of the 80's... ahhh!
Big thank you to Errol Schoenfish and we DO expect you to be around for another 25 years, indeed.
Until next post!
Mariano Gomez, MVP