by Kevin Chadwick, Principal.
There’s a piece of paper sitting on my desk as I write this. It’s just a half-sheet of printer paper with words in a standard font. It’s a little worn, because it has moved from office to office, year after year. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve ever received. Rob gave it to me the day he retired from FSi. It says,
“My purpose is to ensure FSi is a special place to work for generations to come—respected, outward-looking, giving, caring, and driven to be excellent.”
It was Rob’s North Star as the leader of FSi, occupying a place of honor in every office he sat in.
Now it’s mine. Rob is retiring, leaving the company in the hands of the team he’s cultivated—the second generation of company leaders. It’s my privilege to be a part of this group, and to have Rob’s trust as I continue to uphold the vision he created so many years ago.
I remember so many hours of traveling with Rob, working on a Boeing project in Charleston, talking about engineering, FSi, and life. One thing that kept coming up was Rob’s determination to follow his own path. We often talked about what “they” say, as in, “They said it couldn’t be done.” And Rob would always ask, “Who are “they,” anyway?” He encouraged me to set conventional thinking aside and trust my own wisdom, as he had learned to trust himself over the years. Rob spent his career blazing a trail for the rest of us to follow.
What I know now is that Rob saw the need early on for being intentional. He was at FSi from the start, and he wanted to see it continue; to him, that meant creating a culture that was values-based and ingrained right into the DNA of the company. He put immense care into his vision, investing in business coaching and his own growth as a man and a company leader. Coaching and growth are still an integral part of FSi culture. FSi has a long-term business coach, and our staff is encouraged to coach each other regularly. We can do this because Rob made sacrifices to maintain the culture. The best tribute we can make to him in his retirement is to keep coaching, keep growing, keep getting better; as a company, as engineers, and as people.
Thank you Rob. For everything.