NCW is turning twenty. It’s such a simple sentence that it can’t help but sell short the massive amount of effort that it took to get here. When our founder Steve Wise put his flag in the ground on the northwest side of Indy two decades ago, I don’t think he ever envisioned what NCW would become. I am certain he didn’t imagine all of the opportunities that lay ahead of us.
When our leadership team talks about the opportunity before us right now, it’s not because we are blind to the fact that broader economic conditions are currently less than ideal. Sure, there are long term labor supply trends that might insulate our hallmarks of construction, engineering and advanced manufacturing more than some other industry verticals; but no matter what you are selling, it’s scary out there. What Steve’s energy and enthusiasm has taught us over the years though, is that there is always a way forward.
When Indiana issued a shelter in place order several weeks ago, we made the decision to close our main office in Indy. It was announced via email, and almost immediately I received a response to the announcement from a teammate citing an Andy Grove quote (we love The Godfather of OKR’s). “Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.” What Malari was reminding me is while yes, some customers were quickly pulling requisitions off the table due to hiring freezes, there were about to be millions of Americans immediately available, who previously were not on the market. Helping them find a new professional home, whether directly with NCW or with one of our valued clients, is an opportunity to make a team better, to help someone heal via the dignity of work and it is a path forward through the scary — a path that could have a compounding and positive impact on the communities we serve.
So when I think about the realities of 2020 that swirl around our anniversary, a global pandemic and in recent weeks civil unrest, I’m not compelled to shout at the rain on our parade. I am filled with resolve. It’s not a time for a victory lap. People are frustrated, feeling displaced or too long on the outside. They deserve good jobs, and they need them now. Grit needs to get into gear, and core values should be fully on display. Maybe then the “greatest of all talent” mantle that’s become a fixture of our anniversary campaign won’t feel so aspirational.
Humbled by the charge Steve has given me, and proud to be in the fight with this team.
Vice President of NCW