33 years of service and all he got was this lousy blog post.
In our 35 years as a company there have been a lot of firsts, and we’re about to experience a new one: our first retirement.
Dave Hanley got his start at MC when Jack offered him a job 33 years ago. He began with typesetting and bookkeeping, grew into our money man, and has been holding down our admin functions like a champ ever since. And soon, it’s off to greener pastures for ole Dave. Pastures littered with golf balls. But before we let him out the door, we sat down to reminisce on his time here.
Tell me your story with MC…how did you end up here, and how did your role evolve?
Oh, I’m sure you’ve heard the story…I was out in Arizona for awhile trying to find a job where I could use my business degree. I wasn’t having much luck. Jack had talked about finding me work if I moved back—I don’t remember all the details. Anyway, I came back and started helping him out.
I think the version I heard involved more…extracurricular activities?
(Laughs) That could well be the case. Maybe that’s why I can’t remember how it went exactly. But anyhow, I came on when Jack was still working out of his apartment and Jeff Wilson, who lived next door, was helping out, too. (He’s our Production Manager now, for those who don’t know.) I remember my first job—we had this machine that you’d enter the keystrokes and it would record them, so then you’d just put a piece of paper in, hit the button, and it would type it all out for you. I spent a couple days making a few hundred of those. Then Jack rented an office in the Fischer Building in downtown Dubuque and sent me down there to prep the space.
I kept helping out with hands-on stuff, like setting type and whatnot, and eventually started handling more of the books. The more we grew, the less I was doing the production work, and maybe 10 years in Jack made me the business manager. There was a lot of learning there—we had to figure out how to do everything by ourselves.
What was it like in those early days? What do you miss the most and miss the least?
Oh, man, it was fun—we did a lot of socializing. In the late ‘80s we moved to a building down on Iowa Street. That was a blast. We were all young and single, so every Friday around 3:30 it turned into a big party. Clients and friends would stop by and eventually we’d end up out at some bar. That was nice about that place down there—there was more activity close by and people stopped by more. I remember the first Christmas party in that office…it was also the last.
I don’t know, some stuff got broken and…well, we behave better now.
But for things I miss the least? I have a lot more assistance now, as far as H.R. and all that. Jobs are much less labor-intensive with all the technology and equipment we have—that’s a big help.
You’ve seen us through basically all our growth…what has that ride been like?
(Pause) I mean, honestly, I’m amazed at where we are now. I never would have envisioned this back when we first started.
I remember Jack’s big thing was to own his own building, so when we moved to Iowa Street I figured “Hey, this is it—this is what we’re going to be,” you know? Then 10 years later we built and moved out to South Park, and that was way beyond anything I imagined. And now we’re here at Tamarack, which has let our production capabilities really take off. There have been a lot of ups and downs, and all that, but it’s been a good ride.
What was the scariest moment working here? What was the outcome?
Probably having too much money out on jobs in the early days and not being sure if we would get paid or not. I remember this one time we had a lot in a project and it looked like the company was going to fold. The client ended up getting some grant or funding at the 11th hour, so that was a big relief. Not being sure if we would make rent or payroll was never fun, but we survived and figured out ways to keep ourselves away from situations like that.
What’s been your favorite part of the job? What have you taken the most pride in?
I’d say all the growth. We started out as this podunk small business. Now we’re a big small business. (Smiles)
Working with good, fun people. I’m proud it’s been successful. It certainly went a lot faster, especially the last 10 years—I can’t believe it’s been 33 years!
What’s the game plan now? What will you do without us in your life?
I’m planning to fix up my house more the way I want it and take some big trips. I have family all over—the Northeast, Colorado, Minneapolis, Spain. Planning to go see the British Open in Scotland or wherever they have it next.
And how about the golf course? I thought you were planning to be out there a lot more?
Oh, I don’t know if I’ll really be there that much. I’d like to spend at least three days a week, two for sure.
Do you promise to come back and visit?
(Laughs) Yeah, I’d still like to come to events and such, if that’s allowed.
Nope. Employees only. You’ll have to start mowing the lawn or something.
(Laughs) Alright, I guess I can do that.
You know you’re always welcome, Dave! Especially the 3:30 parties on Fridays.