Mike Gardner, our esteemed, long-time colleague, has officially retired from the RPI ranks and Infor-Lawson community. A sales superhero, Mike had a lengthy career in consulting and sales which outlasted most everyone I know. In addition to working at RPI, he previously owned his own consulting firm, Mid-Point Consultants, and worked at some larger Systems Integrators before that. He was an icon in the Infor-Lawson market, truly a classy guy, and he certainly will be missed.
I will always remember three things about him (and likely others of you may have similar memories). I first met him at a Mid-Atlantic User Group meeting in 1999 as a “sales tenderfoot” at Ciber. It was my first Lawson User Group meeting and I think he was the first competitor or partner that I met. Although Mike was a competitor, he was still welcoming and helpful, and that we were in competition for the same opportunities did not change who he was as a person. That impression stuck with me and set the tone for my career when interacting with prospects, customers, and competitors.
The second memory is his willingness to step up when RPI was growing and needed extra hands at Inforum. This event wasn’t his normal bailiwick, but nevertheless he stepped in and filled a role greeting visitors and facilitating meetings, something that was extraordinarily helpful and appreciated. It made Inforum more productive and a lot less stressful. It reinforced to me that there was no “i” in team, but also not in RPI, even though it ends in “I.”
Lastly, I learned one day through our conversation that Mike was a fellow veteran, having served in Vietnam, as well as a fellow Army Field Artillery Officer. It struck me then that we had four people working near me at RPI who had previously served, including myself—three of whom being field artillerymen. I have worked a couple of places since I retired from the Army, but the number of vets around me at RPI is more than anywhere else and we never feel out of place.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic we had to say our goodbyes to Mike virtually, but we gave him our best sendoff via a virtual Wine Tasting. Once this craziness has slowed and I am back in Baltimore, I plan to take Mike and his wife Marsha out to dinner and toast him in person! In true RPI form, Mike toted his recognition statuette around with him to various spots in Maryland and took pictures to remind us of the parts we all miss these days. It was a classy thank you to the team whom he’s done so much for over the years and who will greatly miss him.
Mike, thank you and best wishes – since now you have even more time to hone your golfing craft, keep it in the fairway! We will miss you and look forward to staying in touch.
Please join me in saying thanks and best wishes to Mike!