I earned my Master's degree through the company program, and she's almost done with hers. Despite demanding work, we've managed all this while still successfully raising our son and pursuing our outside hobbies and interests. She and I both got our first promotions by staying with a firm, rather than what we’d had to do previously which was to advance our careers and salaries in line with the market by changing firms.
In an industry that is very callous about hiring and firing, HPTi is an exception. We are extremely picky in hiring. One of the few criticisms I have of our firm is that we can be so deliberative and careful in our hiring that we sometimes miss excellent candidates in a fast-paced recruiting environment. In more than five years here, I’ve personally known of two immediate terminations. Those were cases of employees acting incontrovertibly and seriously in a way contrary to our core values—for confidentiality reasons, we could not be told exactly what they were. I respect that, and believe that the reasons were good. All of the other involuntary terminations that I’ve seen were treated very gracefully—essentially the attitude was not that an employee had failed in their job, but that the company and the employee had not made a good fit. Our leaders do everything they can to find a fit for our people within the firm when a move is indicated—and routinely use their connections with people outside the firm to place people. I’ve followed up with friends over the years that have left, and most are doing very well—quite a few credit their former HPTi managers with finding them the perfect next position. In the last few weeks, we’ve had two great people—who are also outstanding technical experts in their areas—return to the firm after over two and nearly four years away, respectively. I see this as a clear “dividend” paid by the way HPTi handles career transitions.
We also care about people and their families. We once had a coworker die of a brain tumor. The firm helped put his two children through college, over and above insurance benefits. When our much loved president, Don Fitzpatrick, died, we truly mourned like a family. Thankfully, that sort of experience is not one that I have a lot of yardsticks to use for comparison. I just remember that the feelings I had over those losses was more reminiscent to the mourning of a family member’s passing than a friend's. As a reward for a particularly difficult task—the move of our corporate headquarters and all its related information systems—well done, Don once sent the systems team—and our families—to his personal beach house in Duck, North Carolina. His spirit lives on in our firm to this day. I think of him often—and hope and believe that he would be proud of what we’ve been doing since we lost him.
HPTi is a great firm with a proud past and a great vision for our future. We build important systems that protect America and contribute to our nation’s prosperity. We are working to influence the way the government and industry builds systems. I feel privileged to be a part of that.