“I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it’s sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot.”   – Kobe Bryant

By Kyle Houston, Project Engineer

I cried.  I don’t do it often.  Truth be told, maybe not often enough.  It might seem silly to care so much about the passing of someone that you’ve never met.  I totally get that.  But that was my reaction when, on a rainy afternoon this past January, I heard that Kobe Bryant and his daughter had died in a helicopter crash.  I was playing a pick-up basketball game at my local gym when whispers started creeping slowly through the gym. A “did you hear what happened?!?” over here… a “oh my god, that’s crazy…” over there, until I finally heard the news.  I played a few more games, changed, got in my car and cried.

I’m a basketball fan.  I have been my entire life.  It’s a game I love to play and watch.  I grew up playing basketball in the driveway with my brother and neighborhood friends, all of us trying to emulate our favorite players.  Dirk Nowitzki’s knee-up, fade-away jumper from the elbow.  Kevin Garnett’s baseline turnaround.  Jordan’s tongue-out dunk from the free throw line.  But for me, it was always the latest move I saw Kobe use and he had a million of them.  In a sea of great, late 90’s NBA players, he was my favorite.  Thinking about it now though, I don’t think it was because of those moves.  Splitting two defenders (as he so often had to do) and finishing at the rim or backing a player down into the post one-on-one until he found the perfect time to rise up, turn around and knock down a shot.  No, I think what I connected with most was the near-obsessive desire that he had for his team to win.

The same thing that connected me to Kobe as a kid, connects me with so many of my colleagues here at Firmatek as a young professional.  It’s honestly the first thing that drew me to the company three and a half years ago.  This is a company full of people that work with a team first spirit that makes this such an awesome place to work.  You have to be here.  Anyone that doesn’t work their ass off for the betterment of the company sticks out like a sore thumb.  Our field technicians and processing team support each other constantly, freely sharing knowledge that ultimately makes our company stronger and filling in when the workloads ebb and flow.  I see it so often. I actually have to remind myself how special it is to see at ANY company—colleagues going the extra mile for one another without hesitation or thought of how it affects themselves.

In today’s hyper-ambitious society, it’s common for companies to be chock-full of talented, driven people with big egos, focusing solely on advancing their careers.  It’s more important than ever to young professionals to stand out from the crowd for recognition and promotions/raises.  That, of course, is natural.  Who doesn’t want to be recognized for their hard work and ultimately paid more for it?  But the more time I spend at Firmatek, the more apparent it is to me that that’s not what primarily drives most of my colleagues.

Instead, I see that same team first mentality that I connected with as a kid in the people that I work with at Firmatek.  I see it in the field technician willing to help another tech late into the night after a 14-hour workday and a data processor spending their weekends and evenings during the busy season working to ensure our clients get their results on time. It’s that willingness to serve and the desire for the team you work for to succeed that I love so much about this company.  I’ve never been prouder to work with a group of people. That mentality of commitment, service and self-sacrifice to a common goal of building a great team and a great company is something we can all be proud of.