Every year we have a 20-year Club dinner at Trek to recognize members of the Trek team who have worked here for two decades. Last Friday we inducted the class of 1992 and added 17 new members to the Trek 20-year Club. As a company that started in 1976, 20 years of service to the company is a long time and covers a lot of history.
I always say a few words before giving out the awards, and this year I came up with my speech as I made the drive to the dinner. When I got to the dinner I asked Mark Joslyn (Trek’s HR guy) to see if he could get a copy of Johnny Cash’s Ragged Old Flag printed out. He gave me a weird look and had it in my hand 5 minutes later. I wrote a couple of bullet points on the back of an envelope and there was my speech. It went something like this:
“I want to thank all of the new members of the 20-year club for their hard work and dedication to Trek over the last 20 years. However, I must be honest with you, 1992 was not a very good year for the bicycle company. We bet wrong on European currencies and it was the year that George Soros broke the Bank of England. While not a very good start, you have accomplished much in your 20 years and there is a lot to be proud of. Together we have built a great company.
As I drove here this evening I started to think about that currency loss in 1992 and I started to think about all of the other big moments in the last 20 years. We have had some big wins along the way. The introduction of OCLV carbon road bikes, the Y-Bike, Lance and his comeback, taking Trek from a company doing business in the United States to a global company doing business all over the world, 8 Tour De France wins, the new Madone launch in the summer of 2007, the list goes on and on and on. Along the way we have had some big wins and we have had some bumps along the way.
I want to thank all of you for what you have done for Trek and never giving up. We have worked hard over the years and we have built an incredible company. This afternoon I had a couple of visitors from Europe at the office and when we met they told me how much they had enjoyed their visit and what a special place Trek is. You have an amazing culture and an amazing company. I said thank you, and tonight I say thank you to YOU because Trek is an amazing place because the people who work at Trek are what make Trek what it is today and the 17 of you have been working hard over the past twenty years to make Trek the special place that it is.”