Tribute to 30-Year Key Employee
User Login

Tribute to 30-Year Key Employee

Friday, July 28, 2023

Contributions to Company’s Success Are Countless

Boomerang Carnets recently broke into the busy day of Rachel Kern, Vice President of Administration and Head of HR, to ask a few questions about her 30 years here.  We wanted to capture her thoughts and observations on this great achievement and moment in time.  Rachel began her career with the company in August of 1993.  She is one of those rare individuals who dedicates herself to the many tasks and obligations required to do her job well.  Years ago, she’d wake up and start her day at 3:00 a.m. but, with the passage of time, she currently rises at 4:00 a.m.  A habit, she said, that was ingrained since high school, because she was very focused on graduating a year early.  There is coffee now, and time on her treadmill for exercise, additions to her daily routine.  We will celebrate this significant milestone with a special tribute dinner gathering everyone from the company.  Rachel tells her story best. 


How did you find out about the employment opportunity here? Tell us about your first day on the job and your impressions 30 years ago.

My next-door neighbor, who was pregnant, called me and said she was going to be leaving her job here, and asked if I was interested.  My work commute at that time was 1.5 hours one-way in good weather, and the commute to this office was only 20 minutes, so I jumped on it!

That first day, I remember writing notes feverishly to document the processes that I was being trained on.  I could foresee that a lot of automation was going to be in my future along with a lot of learning.  At the same time, I knew that I could incorporate procedures I already was familiar with and I thought, “Boy oh boy, there is a lot of work ahead.”  I was up for the challenge.

How does your 30-year experience reveal what the company is all about? 

It is all about the customer.  Curt E.H. Wilson, our President/Managing Director stressed this always and it is the foremost thing for every new employee to understand.  Accommodations to customers, initiated by Curt, built our reputation, and every department is fully supportive of those accommodations.  Customer service matters above all else and Curt is the driving force behind this.  He definitely deserves the credit for this.

That said, it is not just about the customers at this company; it is also about caring for our employees as well.  When an employee is going through some personal difficulty, that care goes out to get them through tenuous times.  There was always empathy and concern for all of us when we encountered challenges in our personal lives.  I am so grateful for the care, concern, and help that has been offered to all of us at different levels depending on the need.  You do not get that at every organization but you get it here.  The older I get, the more that I see that and appreciate what I have, and who I work for. 

“Rachel has dedicated 30 years of her life to our company.  We owe so much of the success to her work ethic, dedication, and relentless desire to succeed both personally and professionally.  Rachel’s integrity, professionalism, knowledge and experience will continue to contribute to our growth and expansion.  She is an amazing person, colleague, key member of the company, and a very dear friend.  Magnificent job!” - Curt E.H. Wilson, President & CEO

Name the top three lessons you’ve learned from your career here.

To be forgiving to myself and to others.  We all make mistakes.  Being a perfectionist can be very costly.  I remember our co-founders, Curt Wilson and his father, the late Bruce A. Wilson as always saying, “perfection is the enemy of the good.”  Oh, how I struggled with that for way too many years, but then someone came along and taught me to embrace the good and not sweat the little stuff.  I am still a work in progress but the point is that you keep trying and don’t give up. 

Try to see things from someone else’s perspective.  This is such an important skill set to have in life, not just in business.  Not being open to others keeps you from learning valuable lessons about what others are going through and how they view life.  More importantly, it opens you up to many beautiful blessings that can uplift your spirits on a daily basis by being open to others. 

Nurture the relationships that you have been blessed with at work.  You may not necessarily connect in the same way with everyone and you will be closer with some more than others, but I need to make sure in my role as Vice President of Administration and head of HR, that each person understands that they are important to me and that they have a vital role in making the company successful!  We are a team, and each spoke in the wheel is vital and matters.  I have been blessed by each person in this company and am beyond thankful for the valuable lessons that each person has taught me. 

“Rachel is an extremely conscientious, dedicated, hardworking and caring person.  She is loved and respected by all the employees and a pleasure with whom to work.  The shareholders, executives and staff could not do without her.” - Mike Host, Senior Vice President & CFO

What was the most significant moment during your career, so far?

Can I list more than one – LOL?  If I had to list some significant moments, the first would be when, due to growth and need, we transitioned from our basic accounting software to an advanced, more optimized financial accounting software system.  I had no prior accounting experience with doing this, but through many tears, very long days, weeks and months, and many struggles, I figured it out.  I am sure that I challenged Mike Host’s patience (our CFO) on more than one occasion with my lack of experience, but what I lacked in experience, was made up for in shear grit and determination.  It was such a tremendous challenge, but I learned so much about myself and my abilities.  It just took determination.  I have a lot of that.

The other huge accomplishment was when we took on getting licensed in all the states.  Again, I had no prior knowledge or experience, but determination paid off, and I learned what the requirements were in all of the states to do the surplus lines reporting and tax filings.  The other accomplishment was getting my HR certification.  It took some intense study time and it was the hardest test that I have ever taken, and I am proud of that accomplishment.

How do you feel about this tremendous milestone? 

Well, I have very mixed feelings.  I think it is a huge accomplishment for sure.  There are not many of us dinosaurs left that stay so long with a company.  I am a person that needs to be challenged mentally, I need to learn new things and grow in my skill set.  The company has definitely afforded me this opportunity. However, it also means that I am now on the downside.  But on the upside, I guess I should be looking forward to retirement at some point?  Maybe/Maybe not.

What has been your experience working here?

Challenging, rewarding, uplifting, hard, struggles at times, disappointment at times at the mistakes that I have made along the way, but grateful for the opportunity to learn from them.  The people here, from the employees to the executives and shareholders are what make this place so worth it for me.  As every relationship ebbs and flows, so has the time with every person here who has touched my life.  I could not ask for better people to work with.  I have learned to embrace it all because that is how I have grown as a person.  Trust me, I have a lot more growing to do, but this place affords me the opportunity. 

What do you value most about your position as Vice President of Administration?  

The interactions that I have with my team members.  They are all so valuable with very different skill sets that when brought together, makes the company the exceptional place that it is.  They have taught me so much both professionally and personally.  I would not be the person I am today, without each of them.  I am, because of them.  We are strong and dedicated as a team.  We have always been there to support one another to become the best service provider out there. 

What advice do you have for someone just starting out here?  

Go into this job giving it your all, leave nothing on the table, work very hard, build trust with your fellow teammates and the executives, be patient, don’t be afraid to ask for help, embrace your mistakes and the wisdom that others pass along, appreciate the differences that each person brings to make us a team, and build those relationships.  In the end, whether you work for two years for a company or fifty, give them your all and your best, and make them want to say, in the end, that you made a valuable difference in the company, that you mattered, and contributed to the growth and well-being of the company.  Don’t be a liability, be an asset.  Leave it all on the table and be thankful. 


Thank you, Dad, for teaching me these valuable lessons in life.  Though you are gone, you live on in me.