As most of you know, this marks our 40th year as a company and in my Winter Newsletter article I told the story of how John and I started the company and how it has changed, and not changed so much, over the course of the years. Many things contribute to that history: Luck (being in the right place at the right time), the economy, the weather (and we have seen it all – droughts, fires, floods, and record snows), hard work combined with a strong moral backbone, and of course, our employees – YOU. A few points of interest on “you”:
We have grown our numbers by over 200 fold, which means we have hired thousands of people over the years and I would like to dedicate this article to some of them. I can’t, and won’t, mention all by name and if I “missed” you it was merely due to space for text and not lack of gratitude. I think it is remarkable that out of our current employee base, we have 65 employees that have each averaged a total of 9.5 years with the company. Some of you are “the new kids on the block”- a total of twenty two with us for a span of 2-4 years. Twenty three of you are not so new, joining the company 5-10 years ago. Ten of you have been keeping the ship moving in the right direction for 11-19 years (Hollie Potts, Kent Hintzman, Staci Funk, Robert Mitchell, Tammy Toral, Stan Wong, Christina Cutts, Shari Gayle, John Livernois, and Bruce Powell). Four of you are approaching your Silver Anniversary (25 years) (Elaine Dunniway, Cathy Christensen, Kris, Koeberer, and Kaye Fehliman) and an astonishing FIVE have been with us for almost 30 years (Ed and Billie Fiebiger, Marshall Pike, Donna Doran, and Carrie Klair). If we add in those that retired recently (Michele Silva Lane at 30 years and Chris Senti at 25 years) and the three ladies that continue to do special projects for us (Marsha Barnett and Marilyn Eckels 28 years and Kathy Catanho 33 years) we are REALLY talking about some longevity! It’s the core of what makes us strong and effective and it’s something ownership does not take for granted. It’s what separates our company from so many others.
Longevity can sometimes be a bitter pill when we lose someone that was such an important part of our organization. In the first five months of this year we have lost three of those special people:
Bruce Eckels: Bruce and Marilyn Eckels came to Big Basin in 1989. Ironically Carrie Klair, their daughter, had started working there the year before and thought they would make great managers and was she ever correct! For many years the Eckels ran Big Basin as if it were their own. Bruce’s personal décor touches, his BIG smile, and his wonderful people skills made it a treat to visit this operation. Bruce and Marilyn retired to Arizona a few years ago, but Bruce was never far from his children at Big Basin: Carrie, Will, and Little Bruce; Bruce continued to supply the store with fire starters every year. Marilyn will soon be “returning home” to Boulder Creek and I would not be surprised to see her in the Big Basin Gift Shop this summer.
Bob Fischer: Before Bob and Sue took over Manzanita Lake and the Chalet in 2004, we knew Bob in the Park as “Bob, the Breadman” (he delivered bread, chips, and snacks to our stores) and we were so delighted when the Fischers took over the reins in Lassen, especially Manzanita Lake, which they ran like clockwork for 10 years. Bob always had a smile and a cheerfulness about him and I don’t believe I have ever seen anyone work as hard! Bob and Sue left the company in 2014 and settled in Redding, CA. We send our condolences to Sue, they were a real team.
Bobbie Powell: Sadly, we lost Bobbie to a serious illness this past spring. She and Bruce became managers of our rental properties in Red Bluff in 1999 and ran them with little assistance from us. We miss Bobbie’s efficient way of taking care of all the tenants, but we really miss her bubbly personality and ever-present smile. Bruce continues to do a stellar job of over-sight on his own.
To all of you that are still new to the company, we welcome you, hope you enjoyed this little update of our employees and hope to add your names to the long list of our extended FAMILY.