The term “bucket list” is probably overused. For most people, it means finally being able to do something they have always dreamed of; a trip to see the pyramids in Egypt, a round of golf at Augusta National or parachuting from a plane.
A colleague recently used the term to describe a truly unique experience we enjoyed when Deluxe Corporation ventured to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to ring the opening bell, celebrating our 100th year in business.
I try to never take for granted the privilege of attending such an occasion, but I must admit, even so, I underestimated the honor and experience that the bell-ringing would be. My colleague was right to have this on his bucket list and it quickly became one of the most memorable days in my career.
The day itself was remarkable in many ways, not only the chance to revel in our centennial, a true milestone few companies will ever reach, but having the chance to experience history by standing at the same podium so many other exceptional business leaders and professionals have stood at before. Our group soaked in the history and magnitude of a place where trillions of dollars have been traded and world leaders have graced.
Part of what made that day so incredible was two members of our small entourage. While we would have loved to bring dozens of our nearly 5,800 employees, we chose two long-tenured employees to join members of the executive and senior leadership team on the platform. Together – these two employees represent a combined 70+ years of service.
With 35 years of loyal service, Ken King, Jr. stood with his father, Ken King, Sr., himself a retired Deluxer, with pride and awe and joy in his eyes, enveloping the day in a way that can only be experienced with family. Ken and his father gave their working lives to our company, something rare in today’s modern world and the honor to be at the NYSE gives them a collective memory few families will share.
Ivory Williams, who always has a smile on her face at our Kansas City manufacturing plant, could barely contain her enthusiasm throughout the day, her infectious spirit further energizing our contingent. After 36 years with Deluxe, she revealed in the opportunity to share in this historical day.
Standing above the din of lights, digital screens and electronic trading on the floor below, we clapped and cheered and basked in a moment few companies will accomplish, eschewing title and position to recognize and celebrate what vision and dedication can achieve. There we stood, representing the vision our founder started with in 1915 and now endures in plants and offices around the country, and on the NYSE trading floor.
Pretty good day to add to that bucket.