Thank you very much. I am honored to stand before you today as the recipient of this illustrious award. It is said that hard work is its own reward - and I agree with this sentiment. Don't worry, I'm still going to take the award. (pause) In all seriousness...recognition by one's peers is a compliment that is rivaled only by recognition by one's clients. This award represents both of those things. I would like to express my appreciation, however, not just for this award, but for the hard work of everyone in this room...work that has put me in the position to stand before you today. We are only as good as those around us. I feel lucky to be surrounded by some of the most talented people in our industry.
When I found out about this award a week ago, I told my family first. Carol asked me what I was going to say today. I didn't have an answer. She kept asking, and I still didn't have a good answer. (pause) That is, until yesterday. As many of you know, Steven is currently preparing for the end of his first season of high school baseball. Last night, we were playing catch in the backyard...I know, corny...just wait...it gets worse. (pause) I asked Steven how he felt about the season...as you probably also know, the team didn't do too well. He got this little smile on his face and he shrugged. I asked him again and he said, "we didn't win a lot of games, but I got to play a lot of ball with my friends." (pause)
Well, not to be competitive, but we are winning. We have exceeded our sales goals. We are profiting while other businesses in our sector flounder. We can take pride in our success and feel for those who are struggling. But most of all, we can be happy. Happy to be part of a team, in good times and in bad. From now on when someone asks me if I'm going to work...or how things are going at work, I will simply say that I am going to play ball with my friends.