In the classic holiday film, “It’s A Wonderful Life” Clarence, the angel-trainee, said this to a depressed George Bailey: “Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?”
This line came to mind recently. As many of you remember in February the industry lost one of its great executives Don Patrican, who spent 30 years in the recording media business, with two stints at Maxell Corporation of America, mostly as its sales and marketing senior VP.
The reaction to the blog and the obituary TWICE published by colleagues, competitors and industry friends was overwhelming.
(front row left to right) David Monoson, William Menezes, Tadeo Okada, Tom Marchiano, David Evans. (Back row left to right) Dan Garcia, Tom Bishop, Jerry Mandelstam, Michael Coghlan, Ken Messina, Seth Hochman, Michael Gundolfi, Steve Levine, Milt Dienes, Michael Standley. Two attendees not in the picture: Edgar Smith and Scot Edwards.
Patrican was at Maxell in the late 1970s into the late 1980s, and then the late 1990s until the mid 2000s. The emotions about his passing were such that according to one of his Maxell colleagues, Michael Standley, that a group of the old management team was inspired to hold a “Maxell Reunion” down in Orlando, Florida in May.
Time passed and last week I received an email which said, “With the passing of Don Patrican, the calls flooded in and we put it together. It was a heartwarming coming together.”
Last week I got the picture shown here and a message from Standley about what went on at the reunion. Here are some of his comments.
“Remember the immensely successful Maxell ‘Blown Away’ ad? Well, the 'Blown Away' guys have been re-born… if only for one weekend. ‘The Fountain of Youth?’ Maybe. Years have passed but amazingly the mystique and camaraderie still exists,” he wrote.
“Seventeen of the 'movers and shakers' of the glory days of Maxell reunited near Orlando, Fla. recently including those from the top such as president Takeo Okada, national sales manager Steve Levine [and Standley who also had the title], numerous regional [salespeople], as well as many representatives and marketing specialists. Our accomplishments made Maxell a much respected industry leader.”
Standley noted that the “ages of this successful group spanned years from 57 to 92. Like fine wine, this group has aged well.”
He added, “The success of Maxell was, in large part, a result of the masterful leadership of Mr. Okada, Gene LaBrie and Paul Miller with their uncanny assemblage of an unparalleled sales effort that spanned the entire organization. Another contributor to the over-all success was the gentle giant Don Patrican. These men, and those assembled, made up one of the leading sales organizations in the entire consumer electronics industry. Sadly, Gene, Paul and Don are no longer with us but all of the attendees paid tribute to them with a solemn toast that recalled memories of a fantastic era.”
“All of this existed because Maxell was more than just a product and a job. It was fun, extremely enjoyable creating markets and doing business. Enthusiasm prevailed as the attendees renewed old friendships that spanned the past 35 years. The CE industry has changed greatly in the intervening years but, as a group, we were once again 'Blown Away'.”
I think anyone who has worked in this industry over the years has to be “Blown Away” by the camaraderie described in this email given the competitive, hard driving nature of the CE industry.
And you have to be impressed by the inspiration one guy can provide. Somewhere Don Patrican is smiling.