By Wayne Lowe
July 29, 2013
Twenty-seven years ago in mid-August, Byron and I were forced to leave our previous employer because we would not sign non-compete agreements. That's when we started Equinox Information Systems with a few key goals in mind that would shape our company's future. Our first goal was to be profitable, of course. Our second goal was to build a workplace where employees and owners would enjoy coming to work each day.
We realized that a primary factor in creating an enjoyable work environment were the families behind each employee. So we fought to maintain a corporate culture that emphasized family. We maintained that our families were more important than our jobs. You'll see on the back of each Equinox business card, “While we value professional accomplishments, we honor family commitments above all else.”
After all these years, I believe there was wisdom in what we started. Look at how long our people stay at Equinox. Our average tenure today of all active employees stands at 13 years. This number seems even more impressive when you consider a full 1/3 of our employees are recent additions in the last five years of growth. This work/life balance helps us to fulfill the second part of the commitment made on each business card, “With our families well cared for, we can wholeheartedly focus on our business of providing the best telecom solutions in the industry.”
Allow me a moment of personal reflection—fast forward from 1986 to 2010. My oldest son Matt, who was three when we started Equinox, received his Master's degree and he and his wife moved back to Nashville from Kansas City. Not long after that a slot opened up in our support department. Byron inquired if I thought Matt would be interested. Not wanting to exert any undue influence on either side of the employer-employee scale, I put Matt in touch with Byron and Joe, our VP of Support. Short story, Matt impressed them both, was hired, served in our support group for two plus years before recently being promoted to our sales team.
My youngest son, Chris, who was born two months after starting Equinox, has grown up around the company like his big brother, Matt. Chris has been the company janitor since high school and after receiving his Master's degree in 2011 joined the company in the support group as one of our testers. He works closely with our developers and support reps to make sure our software meets each customer's expectations.
As a father I am extremely proud of my two sons for a host of reasons. Near the top of that list is the way their contribution to Equinox has perpetuated the emphasis of family. It is also extremely gratifying to me, as an owner, to see the effect of the family-first culture on the generations. Namely, the exuberance and passion that youth brings along with the wisdom and stability of the seasoned.
I need to wrap this up so I can get home on time. We are having an extended family dinner tonight and I am helping my wife prepare.
About the Author: Wayne Lowe is the President, owner, and founder of Equinox Information Systems, where he oversees all the development of our complete suite of software solutions. With over 25 years' experience in the telecommunications industry, he was Director of Programming for Compco, Inc., a billing service provider prior to founding Equinox. To learn more, visit www.equinoxis.com or call (615) 612-1200.