SEP Celebrates 25 Years of Culture, Good Practices, and Vision

May 20, 2013
confetti and ribbons against a blue sky with clouds

SEP-25thHitting the 25-year milestone at SEP is a source of pride. We have built a great company proving that it can and will last.

For me, I hit the second 25-year mark this month as well so there is naturally some thought towards the next generation. Becoming an ESOP in 2010 was certainly a big piece of making sure that SEP would be handed down to a new generation. It has been my dream to see SEP outlast my tenure here so that has been a major focus.

People like to say “getting the right people on the bus.”. We’ve had good people here, so for me it has largely been finding them in the right seat, and often creating the seat. As we’ve grown SEP has hired people to bring in the skillsets and background that we lacked.

I really like our team.

People have asked me several times over the years about the keys to our success:

  • We look for great people who are Smart, Fit and Gets Things Done. We don’t just hire the most capable people.
  • Managed, sustainable growth. We actively limit our growth at times.
  • Sticking to the two things above helps protect a culture and culture is critical.
  • Having a vision and recognizing that there is always a higher purpose. Ideas help ensure you attract the right people.
  • Longevity in our management team, our vision, and values has been a huge help. We’ve learned =to communication this better but the initial ideas of the founders remain, especially in our mission statement. We have always been about building ‘a place’.
  • Our engineering-focused management culture means we learn quickly from our mistakes.
  • Resisting accepted management principles that create politics, competition, bureaucracy, and space between people.
  • Trusting our instincts to do “what makes sense”.
  • Success comes by focusing on the work and the people. You can’t focus solely on end results like profitability.

I cannot overemphasize how important people have been to SEP. SEP is collectively its people. Having good people can make anyone look good.

When we started SEP in 1988 I remember calling it an experiment. More recently it was the “experiment that escaped the lab”. We really felt that way at the time. Many of our principles, although very simple, were new. We were new! I was the most experienced founder with three years experience under my belt.

Whether through vision, dumb luck, or stubbornness it has been my job through the majority of these last 25 years to keep SEP focused on its path and true to its principles. This is why one of SEP’s core values is Commitment. We have had it in so many ways here.

Congratulations to every SEPeer and all of our families. We have something to be proud of going on here.