On January 31, 1994, I began a career in manufacturing by accepting a position as an Operations Management Trainee for a mega-brand soft drink company.
29 years and counting… of producing something delightful to sip on, something to share at the birthday party of an 8 year old with polka dot cups and pink straws…
29 years and counting… of transforming what the earth yields – like vanilla from Madagascar, corn syrup form the southeast United States, mineral pigments from beneath the rich top soil, fragrant cocoa butter and aromatic lavender – transforming these resources into something people love. A gulp of refreshment. A classic makeup hue. Her confidence is elevated and her chin lifts as she enters the interview. She got the job. Her eloquent speech emboldened by her fierce red lip.
29 years and counting… of harnessing the chemistry of CO2, allowing it to whisper across the surface of a blend of sugar and water and flavorings to yield a fizzy cup of joy. Of demanding that the accuracy of math grant the glassy lip gloss the formula dictates.
29 years and counting… of thinking and pondering the ‘what ifs’ of a process. A product. A production schedule. A passion. A purpose.
29 years and counting… of strings of sleepless early 3 AM mornings. Ideas presenting themselves to you without abandon. Your mind processing data & scenarios nonstop as your eyes beg for sleep. You know you’ll be tired later in the day but you must document the plan. Now. And maybe go to the Lab and experiment and execute. At 3 AM.
29 years and counting… of converting equations into art forms, distinct numbers to fluid frequencies to manufacture a product that was once just an idea. It’s now something beautiful to gaze upon and you hold it in the palm of your hand.
29 years and we’re just getting started. I wonder what young Samantha thinks of me. I hope she’s proud. I hope I’m bringing forth things she thought about when endlessly pouring over Vogue magazines and Avon catalogs and colorful jars of thick perfumed creams. And when she painted her nails blue & gold for her high school track meets. Before Instagram and Pinterest and TikTok!
29 years and counting… and everyday feels new and fresh. A blank page for limitless ideas. Fresh raw materials for groundbreaking creations. Wielding the flow of elections to convert thoughts into things. I thank God for the ability to bring form from the formless. For 29 years and counting…
And for 29 years and for 29 X 29 more, if God is willing, I’M STILL ALL IN!