Chairman's Newsletter: August 2021
Greetings WWT family and friends,
I pray this edition of the Chairman's Newsletter finds you and your families well and enjoying the summer. I know everyone is happy to see things slowly returning to "normal" after a long 17 months of enduring the effects of the global pandemic. As Jim Kavanaugh mentioned during our recent Mid-Year Corporate Update, we are awaiting the planned reopening of our campuses.
While we are excited to welcome you back, we are carefully monitoring the current rising trend of COVID cases and the newest CDC guidelines; we will remain vigilant about the safety of our employees, partners and customers. For your safety and that of your co-workers, please be certain to adhere to social distancing practices and mask guidelines regardless of your vaccination status. Your safety remains our number one priority!
I am pleased to report that despite the challenging circumstances, WWT continues to thrive thanks to your dedicated service and attention to detail. We experienced solid performance during the first half of 2021, growing by more than 6 percent year-over-year. On behalf of the WWT Board of Directors, thank you for your continued focus on growth and recurring services strategies. And from me, personally: thank you for your passion and commitment to excellence!
Our success is due in no small part to the culture fostered at WWT. Each year, as a part of our culture, we welcome a host of interns to our campus to help them better prepare for the business world while providing valuable contributions to our company.
I recently participated in an enjoyable virtual Chairman's Chat with this year's interns. It was an inspiring time of sharing conversation, instilling the importance of relationships, and reinforcing our core values with the people who represent the future of WWT.
During the Q&A, one intern had a question I had never been asked before: "How did you come up with World Wide Technology as the name?" I could not help but laugh as I recalled coming home over 31 years ago to my wife, Thelma, who was watching a television program about a fictitious company called Worldwide. I thought that name made perfect sense and fit the vision. And, thus, World Wide Technology was born! Thank you to all interns for sharing your time and talent, and to all of the mentors who help impart wisdom to these young minds.
As I think about creative young minds, I am reminded that the NTT IndyCar Series 500 is returning to World Wide Technology Raceway just across the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge on Aug. 21. We are privileged to once again sponsor STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities during the race. STEM Lane is an interactive family-friendly experience that offers STEM activities, including building robots, driving remote cars and welding activities to race attendees. WWT employees can volunteer to staff STEM Lane by registering here.
Our interns and other young professionals have always brought an exciting aura of change to our company. Embracing that change has always, and will continue to be, a differentiator for our business. To that end, you may have seen some recent changes made to wwt.com. More exciting changes are coming later this year as we work toward providing a more personalized, interactive experience for our website visitors.
Along those same lines, we have adopted a new corporate brand message for WWT -- Make a New World Happen. Here is a look at some of the activities underway to help us drive toward that powerful statement:
- We have added two small words to our mission statement that make a big impact: "To create a profitable, growth company that is also a great place to work for all."
- Our D&I efforts continue to progress, with many employees participating in the ERGs, Listening Tours, D&I IML training and Storytellers program. In addition, I am happy to see Omar Mir take on additional responsibilities as he works to align our D&I strategy in the EMEA region.
- WWT, in conjunction with NPower, is partnering with Global Citizen, a movement of engaged people using their collective voice to end extreme poverty by 2030 and bring forth a just and equitable world for all. WWT will serve as a campaign partner of Global Citizen Live, a 24-hour music and entertainment event being held globally Sept. 25.
- We are partnering with the PGA Tour to serve as the title sponsor of the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. The tournament aligns well with our culture of giving back and celebrating diversity.
- This year's United Way campaign will run October 4-15. Last year, the St. Louis region represented the No. 1 United Way Fundraising Campaign in the nation! Thank you to WWT family members who donated; and if you have yet to consider donating to United Way, please take a moment to learn how your donation can have a meaningful impact in helping your neighbors live their best lives. Watch your e-mail for upcoming campaign details.
WWT indeed is a blessed company. I am so grateful and thankful to every person who has helped build this organization into the company it has become over the past 30-plus years. I am a firm believer in the scripture, "To whom much is given, much is required." We receive tremendous blessings so that we might be a blessing to others. To that end, I would like to share with you some recent personal events that have meant the world to me, and I pray are a blessing to others.
Meeting with the Frederickson Family
Rick Pina and I had the privilege of visiting with WWT retiree Mark Frederickson and his family in June. Mark was a loyal member of the WWT family for many years but, more importantly, he is a dear friend. I always say you can leave the WWT campus, but you will always be a member of our family. I am grateful and thankful to Mark and his beautiful family for their many years of selfless sacrifice and dedication.
Talking with JB and Dorothy Brown
So many of you have written to tell us how the WWT Family & Friends Prayer Calls continue to be a source of encouragement and inspiration in your day. Thank you!
One of my favorite calls took place on June 23 with special guests James "JB" and Dorothy Brown.
Thelma and I had the pleasure of sharing conversation with the Browns and reflect on how God has blessed us to be a blessing to others.
While we have had many wonderful guests on the prayer calls, this call was special to me because Thelma had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Dorothy. You may have heard the old saying, "behind every good man stands a woman." Well, JB and I disagree with that, as we are incredibly blessed by the brides God has given to stand beside us.
Honoring Antioch Cemetery
On July 14, my family and I were warmly welcomed by Missouri First Lady Teresa Parson into her home, the Governor's Mansion.
After a wonderful visit with her and tour of the beautiful property, my son, my brothers and I personally witnessed an historic moment for our nation take place in the great state of Missouri.
We were invited to be present when Gov. Mike Parson signed into law House Bill 369, which authorized the Department of Natural Resources to acquire Antioch Cemetery in my hometown of Clinton and designate it as a state park and historically significant education site.
Antioch is the resting place of many freed slaves. My family has been a part of the Clinton community since 1847, and many are interred at Antioch, including my mother and father.
It was a very moving moment for my family.
It is our prayer that all Missourians will take the opportunity to visit this sacred ground that is so rich in family heritage and an important part of American history.
Celebrating Wendell Scott
On August 4, my son and I had the pleasure of spending time with the family of Wendell Scott, the first Black driver to ever compete in NASCAR. We were invited to attend a private event honoring Scott's legacy. Plans are currently underway for a formal event to honor this tremendous pioneer in the sport of racing on what would be his 100th birthday near the end of this month, but it was a privilege to be included in this private family celebration.We are grateful to the Scott family for their gracious invitation to celebrate with them in such a meaningful and personal way.
Finally, I share with you the devotion from our July board meeting, which focuses on God's amazing grace. He so freely gave it to us, let us show His grace to everyone we encounter!
As this newsletter was being written, I could not help but reflect on the many blessings we are given each day and the responsibility we have toward our fellow human beings. God created each one of us with unique abilities and gifts, and I am grateful that the culture of WWT is to embrace our differences and care for and support one another.
While our most important work benefits our partners and customers, it equally benefits our people and communities. Loving your neighbor as yourself and putting people first is how we make a new world happen!
May God continue to richly and abundantly bless and protect you and your precious families.