Labor Day! Let’s Celebrate the Workers

“The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.” ~ Samuel Gompers 

Most of our posts on the crowdSPRING Blog focus on managing businesses and startups; we often write about best practices, and offer plenty of practical tips for managers. Today is a little different, because in the US, today is Labor Day. Every year on the first Monday in September, we celebrate workers and everything they do for our country and our economy. Parades are held, speeches are given, and workers across the country take an extra day’s rest from their labors to picnic, play with their kids, and (often) shop the sales that businesses love to offer on the last official day of summer.

Samuel Gompers, (see his quote above) was an early leader of the 19th-century labor movement in the US, had it right: businesses owners and managers have a distinct and profound responsibility to the people who work for us. It is incumbent on management to create and sustain an environment that leads to hiring, encourages quality work, rewards effort and accomplishment, treats workers fairly, pays an equitable wage, provides for basic welfare, respects families, supplies adequate work flexibility, and, importantly, celebrates the work itself.

As part of this, I also think it is important to say thank you to your workers as often as you possibly can – without them you have no business being in business. So, I want to thank our team here at crowdSPRING – for their hard work, for their collegiality, and for the fun we have together every day. To do this well, I am taking a few minutes to write an appreciation for each member of our team. Thanks, guys!

John (Shuo) Yang is our Senior Software engineer and one of the smartest people I have ever met. It took me a bit to realize this, because until you get to know him, John tends to be kinda quiet; he listens, he synthesizes, he analyzes and then he acts. Always productive and efficient, John gets things done in a way that doesn’t call attention to himself, but rather to the work product itself. He can be bitingly (though subtly) funny, and I have never seen such a relatively small person eat such massive quantities of lunch. Thanks, John!

Chris Detmer is our UI Developer (the guy who codes and polishes the user-facing parts of the site) and has been with cS longer than any other employee. Chris first came aboard as a consultant back when we were building the site in 2007 and became employee #2 in January 2008, 3 months before we launched. Chris is focused, loyal, flexible, and kind to everyone around him. Not to mention that he is a talented composer, musician, and performer. Plus he likes Legos. Thanks, Chris!

Adriano Marques is our wonderful Brazilian Software Engineer, recently immigrated to the US. He is one of the most dedicated and hardest working people I have ever known and also one of the most caring people around. He is always ready to jump in to help solve a problem or fix a bug, but he is also keenly focused on the big picture and is constantly working to strengthen our site and streamline our product. He is strongly opinionated, but in such a sweet and non-confrontational way that you wouldn’t even know it was the case. Thanks, Adriano!

Diogenes Herminio works for us as a Software Engineer, but does it from his home in Brazil. Diogenes has worked hard in his short time with us to learn the complexities of our software and has successfully mastered that complexity and made some meaningful contributions to the company. He is always there (on Skype) with a smile and a kind word, and his talent grows every day. Thanks, Diogenes!

Audree Rowe Started as an experiment. A successful crowdSPRING, Audree approached us one day and asked to come work for us directly. She had this crazy idea that someone who had actually worked on the site, might provide value and insight to the community that we couldn’t give ourselves. Well, Audree was right – from her first days as our Community Liaison, she has provided help, comfort, advice and expertise to both Creatives and Buyers on the site. She is as knowledgable about our business and our community as anyone and she does her job with as much grace and good humor as I have seen in 30 years in management. All that and she also has a beautiful family! Thanks, Audree!

Bianca Jayanty is more to us than just a “Customer Service Wonder Gal.” She is a tough, funny, sharp individual who gives her total effort to everything she does. She is one of the fastest learners I have ever worked with, and she is never afraid to try something different, develop a new skill, or put herself in an unfamiliar situation. As a matter of fact, as I write this, Bianca is traveling with her sisters (did I mention that Bianca is a triplet?!) in Cambodia, exploring temples, caves, and unusual foods that I can’t wait to hear about. I might also mention that she is a budding stand-up comic working the mic at clubs in Chicago and San Francisco. Cool. Thanks, Bianca!

Dylan Samson started his life at crowdSPRING filing the paid bills and other boring paperwork into folders and drawers. He did it so well and with such a smile on his face, that we started adding on more responsibilities, ultimately putting him in charge of our IP violations process. From scratch, Dylan designed a new system and a new process that helps us to deliver a fast, fair, and and friendly method that allows us to keep our promise to the community to respect and protect their intellectual property. He is friendly, efficient, and always ready to help his team in delivering great customer service. Not to mention that he has a scary knowledge of music old and new and is the Music Director and DJs a fantastic show on WIUX, FM! Thanks, Dylan!

Amanda Werner is a freaking Valedictorian of her college class and helps out around here with marketing and PR. If you are fortunate enough to receive those cS discount offers in your email, it is becaue of Amanda’s hard work. And if you are interested in some of the small businesses that post their projects on crowdSPRING, then you have probably read her weekly “Small Business Spotlight” columns in our blog. Amanda is from Minnesota, which means she is good, smart, and above average in all respects! She also is a cook who is always ready to discuss what we each made for dinner last night and even (on occasion) will let me taste her leftovers at lunch. Thanks, Amanda!

Giuseppe Ribaudo joined us last winter as a Customer Service agent and has shone since day 1! He is an actor who appears in productions at theaters around Chicago and is always ready to discuss so-and-so’s [erformance in a movie we’ve recently seen. He is a generous and thoughtful person and this manifests in the dozens of conversations he has with our users every day. He also speaks Italian and is an accomplished quilter! How cool is that? Thanks, Giuseppe!

Heather Appleman (AKA, “Red Velvet”) came to us via Austin, Texas to become a mainstay of our Customer Service team. She is so reliable that she will sometimes text me to let me know that, for instance, her subway train is on fire and she has to help rescue some people so she may be 2-3 minutes late starting her shift. Seriously. I kid you not. Heather is as steady and responsible as they come – always friendly, ever-smiling, and an attentive presence on our Help Desk who users have come to count on to get speedy and accurate answers to their questions. Heather is currently studying film-making and we look forward to saying that we knew her when… Thanks, Heather!

Brittany Williams is a rock. She indeed a Wonder Girl in our support team and is a person you can count on to be unflappable, calm, and levelheaded no matter what the emergency. Brittany is a wonderful writer and film-maker and is working to establish herself as a producer and production manager. She has a quick and easy smile and an amazing ability to make people feel comfortable and cared for. Thanks, Brittany!

Diego Frausto has the ability to deliver customer service in multiple languages and with equal charm in each! Diego is a full-time student at Loyola University studying business and marketing and has the ability distill complex ideas into simple sentences that any customer can understand. I sometimes read his help desk tickets just to remind myself how effective email support, when done right, can be. Diego is a world traveler and has promised to one day invite us all to his family’s ranch in Mexico! Thanks, Diego!

A couple other folks work with us a great deal as contractors or vendors and they, too, deserve a special thanks: Kona Horler has been doing our books, managing our accounts, and generally lifting our spirits for more than 2 years now; Marko Bijelic is a talented web designer in Bosnia and Herzogovina who helps us maintain the look and feel of the site and contributes every day to our user’s experience on crowdSPRING; Lauren Russ has been handling our PR for the last 3 years and it is because of her efforts that we have been so fortunate to grace the pages of some of the most important media outlets in the world.

Photo – Labor Day New York 1882 Wikimedia