Earlier this week we lost a friend and colleague, Mike Czerwinski.
Mike joined us just 7 weeks ago, but will leave a long-lasting positive impact on our company. We have the same growing pains of many young companies: occasionally we get behind, people make mistakes, things get missed. As a team, we’re often in a position of fixing eachothers’ mistakes, trying to catchup, filling in wherever necessary to get done whatever needs to be done. In these situations, Mike is the guy you want next to you – never frustrated, never flustered, always positive and smiling. We’d get behind, and Mike would just put his head down and grind it out.
When I asked Mike if he could think of any weaknesses when we first interviewed him for the job, he suggested that he had always been pretty shy and quiet. He was certainly right about this - it must have been a week before he spoke to anyone without being spoken to first! But overtime we noticed that Mike exuded a quiet confidence - a clear strength rather than a weakness - leading us to put him in a leadership role on our operations team after just 2 weeks on the job. He was not without his quirks - an annual tradition we are contemplating as a company is a shorts-in-the-negative 20 degree-walk-in-freezer-day, in honor of the guy who seemed to always shorts rain or shine, inside the freezer and out.
Right as Mike coalesced into our culture and began to appear from under his shell we tragically lost him, just a few days after his 30th birthday. Mike had a long life left to live, and a promising career to be had here at Walden. We’ll miss him.