"Act as if what you do makes a difference, it does." ~William James
Guest Post: Nick McGirr, CEO of Lead2CRM
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When I was 17, I was expelled from high school for poor grades and fighting. I was placed in a drop-out prevention program that gave me the opportunity to earn a RHS diploma. That program also allowed me to leave campus and enter the workforce at 10 am.
I was a freehand artist, graphics designer and a self-taught web designer/programmer. The web was in it's infancy in the mid 90's and I spent my time daydreaming in school and programming late at night. I really had a [then] niche talent. By luck, I found a job opening for a web designer position at NSync Data Systems in Cape Canaveral, FL. Tim Parker was the VP.
If he were to tell the story he would tell you the parts that I forgot, "I couldn't not give 'the kid' the job, he was relentlessly calling daily, he was a pit-bull! It was a risk, but I knew there was something there..." I was making $8.50/hour in an era where minimum wage was $5.15/hour. Soon I was promoted and earned $10/hour. I was the richest kid around in 1999.
Tim and I had a love/hate relationship in the workplace over that year. He was a hot-head and I was a rebellious wise-ass that knew how to push his buttons; therefore, we were best friends--regardless of the age-gap. He even introduced me to my then-girlfriend, Vanessa Swarovski...as in the crystals! Tim used to share all sorts of stories (which was my favorite part of the day--lunch with Tim) about women, fights, bouncer-life, marriage, being a bodybuilder (Mr. Florida 1988), being a professional wrestler with the WCW and a gym owner when he was just 20-years old. He was a true entrepreneur and he was my guide. He was also my inspiration to body build. From his tutelage, at 20-years old I started lifting and it changed my life, drastically. 80 lbs of muscle and a decade of enjoyment through a booked social calendar are all owed to knowing him. Prior to that, I was stuck in an awkwardly skinny phase at 6'2, 144 lbs. and the girls wanted no part of that.
From the relevant job experience I earned while working with Tim, I built up my resume to shop around and I was able to land a higher paying job elsewhere. I was 18-22 years old making the salary of a college graduate in the web development industry, having never gone to college,This would have been impossible if Tim had not decided to hire "the kid" or "the web ninja," as he lovingly referred to me.
Tim and I stayed in touch over the past 16 years and became better friends. Anytime we would get on the phone together it was an hour-long event because we jived so well. He and I spoke at length on February 20th, 2015 and he caught me up to speed on the turn his life had taken and invited me to his birthday party in Vero Beach on February 22nd, 2015.
Prior to that, he and his girlfriend visited me at my old penthouse in Orlando. I showed him my car and I took them out for a night on the town. He was really blown away by how far I had come.
Here are a few things I cherish about about Tim that you should know:
If it weren't for the risk he took hiring me when I was 17, there is no way I would be where I am today. He laid the foundation to make ”Lead2CRM, Inc.” and my uncanny client list possible. I owe everything to the chance he took on me--I made certain he knew that.
Tim was also my biggest cheerleader and a vocal advocate on Facebook. Every chance he got to comment a congratulatory post, text message or call to tell me how proud of me he was--he did. His girlfriend says he spoke of me often and loved me like a kid of his own. "Your successes made him very happy." These examples are a stark difference from my "friends" from back home, whether in Cocoa Beach or Orlando, whom have severed ties with me quietly since I moved to Miami Beach and/or are sitting back resentful and would like to see me fail. Tim was a class-act and an example of how we should all treat one another.
He was positive, even when times were low, like recently. I just spoke with him and there were no indicators that he was going to commit suicide on February 25th, 2015, just 3 days after his birthday party that I missed.
I dearly miss my friend, my mentor and my biggest fan. I am going to start lifting again, because I know that's what Tim would have wanted to hear.