A Decade in the Top Tier… The End?

LPK arranged for a relocation expert to find suitable apartment candidates, we made a trip a few weeks earlier to look at them. We picked one, started packing and I gave notice to my clients that I will no longer be a freelancer. I got a lot of "good bye and good luck" e-mails and I also said good bye to my friends in South Bend. The change would be welcome. I spent 7 years in Northern Indiana; add another 1 1/2 for my wife. She finished college in 4 years, she went straight to grad school that summer. It took me a bit longer to finish undergrad and move to Indiana to be with her. Although I have many friends there, I don't miss that place. Too small, too cold, nothing to do except go to Chicago. I was on my way from living in a small town to moving to a "Weather Map City"; which are the ones that are shown on TV when the weather guy goes to a map of the country.
June 9th 2003; Estelle and I threw all of our crap into a 14 ft. U-haul truck and made the 5 hour drive for the last time from South Bend, IN to Cincinnati, OH. As we left the city limits, I said to her; "Hey look, South Bend in our rear view mirror!" She smiled as she nervously drove the truck with the car attached (I don't drive… don't ask). I kept listening for a crash from it disconnecting (it didn't!) and we made our way to Ohio in record time.
We got to our new apartment building and unpacked our cats and some of our stuff. I called Papa John's for pizza as we tried to calm the cats down. Satchel (my dear departed buddy) took the move quite well. He loved strangers and new things so my only regret was that I didn't put him in my lap instead of a cat carrier on the trip; he would have loved looking out of the windows.
The next Monday I woke up at 6am, got dressed and walked downtown to LPK for my first day at the new job. I got there around 8am… no one was there yet. Eventually I met my new manager and got to work; the first of what would be 7 years so far.
I've never seen or worked at a place with so many people who were SO good at what they do. This is a sometimes intimidating group of the best professionals in this industry; our reputation is well-deserved. I spent the next year or so working in Beauty Care. I later worked in Surface Care for 4 years, and I've been assigned to Baby Care for the last 2. Most of my assignments have been for P&G with a few stops on Technology, Food, and a lot of misc. accounts.
The last 10 years have been terrifying, exciting, a thrill, and a dread; I've physically injured myself, I've had migraine headaches, and I've met some of the most incredible professionals a person could know. I've had way more days where I could not wait to get to work than the opposite. I have passion for what I do, and that passion is met and challenged every day by the people I work with. The term "Top Tier" might sound a bit arrogant; but it really does fit the people I've met and things I've worked on. I've designed products that sit on shelves in countries I've never been. I've managed design and production with equal effectiveness; due to the wealth of knowledge I've earned over the years.
I look forward to what the next 10 years will bring with a real sense of optimism. I hope that in the near future I can keep you entertained with my musings about the state of affairs in brand design.
Thank you kindly for reading this.
Dave Johnson.


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