From Fiction to Fabrication

7 Jun

“Dagny, most of the time we already know what we’re meant to do, we just need someone verbalize it.”

Sunset in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

So spoke my classmate down in Mexico this past April.  I was there finishing up my last university requirements, keeping an eye out for post-graduate opportunities.  He was an entrepreneur between jobs, brushing up on his Spanish. Both of us were searching for a next step in life.  We met in San Miguel de Allende at a language school and bonded over a passion for international affairs and a similar reading list.  To top it off, we shared a home state back in Colorado, our houses just an hour apart.

His questionable nickname for me was a tribute to what he thought I could be.  Like the character from a book we’d both just finished, he saw in me a feisty, shrewd, rational woman working for the family business (or at least that’s what I’d like to think he saw.)  Within a day of meeting, my friend had dubbed me Dagny; within a week he suggested I move back to Michigan.  Certain of my potential (and Detroit’s, for that matter), he egged me on throughout the month.

I was intimidated.  I’d been cobbling together English and Geography degrees for eight years intermittent, dissecting Faulkner and Foucault, riparian systems and mountain morphology between part time jobs.  But of all the things I’d studied, business, manufacturing and engineering weren’t among them.  I wasn’t sure I could make the leap from all I’d learned to all I hadn’t yet.  Sitting down on the balcony one morning, I took a deep breath and crafted a careful email to Alpha.

Two months later I’m here on my first day at the company, Alpha’s new coordinator of communications and social media.  My purpose here is three-fold: to explore the company founded over fifty years ago by my granddad; to share this exploration with all of you; and to give back to the company that’s given me, my family, its employees, customers, suppliers and community so much for half a century.  I’m excited to dig in to Alpha and to learn all about its ins and outs, the people that make it great.

It’s my first day.  I still don’t know anything about business or manufacturing.  And my name is Jean, not Dagny.  But like her, I’m dedicated to learning everything I can about my family’s business.  It’s time for a crash course in all those classes I never took.

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