Technically speaking the title of this post may or may not be correct but you’ll understand why I’ve used it.
As ArchiCAD continued to grow in New Zealand it consumed all of Murray’s time and the visualisation business needed attention. I’m a bit fuzzy but during this time Paul and Allan (or vice versa) joined Murray and continued the visualisation. Both had architectural backgrounds and moved back into the field and either worked for or created their own ArchiCAD based Architecture practices.
This was all before my time but is roughly correct.
Anyway, as licenses continued to sell, and the client base continued to grow Murray needed some admin help. Through their daughters and their school Murray met Debbie Garrett who – having worked in the travel industry –was between jobs.
Murray suggested that maybe Debbie could work 2-3 hrs a day for 2-3 days a week. He also said something along the lines of
“that the industry and the ArchiCAD product wouldn’t really interest me [Debbie] and I would only stay until I found another position which better suited my hospitality background”
To fly through history a little, when I started with Cadimage in 1996 Debbie was up to 4hrs/day every day, and this quickly increased to 5hrs/day then 6hrs/day until it made sense for everyone that she became fulltime.
Coming back to the title of the story I consider Debbie employee number 1 on a number of levels whether it is technically correct or not. Firstly, Debbie is still with the company – 26 years and counting – and during my time reached her 5-year milestone which seemed big. It was easily superseded by her 10th, 15th, 20th and more recently (but after my time) her 25th.
Secondly, Debbie is the most amazing employee I have come across, she is diligent, hardworking and selfless. The customers love her, for a great deal of years she knew every customers kids and new arrivals and to this day remembers all sorts of personable information. While Debbie isn’t the most technology literate person she has grown massively and as time has gone on has been more confident and willing to adopt change (which I’m to blame for as I was constantly improving the business and the systems we used)
Overall while Murray and I were the ‘owners’ of Cadimage, Debbie was and is the life blood. Whenever I meet past clients I’m always asked about Debbie and how she is doing.