Twenty Five years ago i placed a young man with a state cattle feeding organization.  He quickly rose to head of their marketing department.  He moved on to manage a large cattle feeding operation in the South.  I was contacted by the representative of an international meat production corporation from Japan who needed a U. S. manager for their operations they wanted to open in the United States.  I tracked this outstanding young man down and presented him to my Japanese client.  It was a match made by the recruiting gods in part because he had spent a summer in Japan working with a youth group at the foot of Mt. Fugi.


For twelve years he represented the international group in all phases of opening a production facility that become one of the best in the industry.  We worked together when he needed to hire as they grew or replace (which was not often).  He bridged cultural gaps, became part of a community that was not initially thrilled to have a pork production facility in their backyard.  Some folks credited him with almost changing the direction of the West Texas wind to be sure that the folks in the closest town didn't even know the facility was there.  He could put on a suit and meet with the politicians or prop his boot on a pickup bumper and visit with a farmer and all knew that he was a man of integrity.


Eight years ago he and a partner had the opportunity to buy a beef packing plant.  His dream of owning his own facility in the industry he loved was realized.  We worked together again and i had the opportunity that we have as recruiters to help a  candidate who became a friend and client build a business.  Three weeks ago i got a call from him that due to a person moving he needed my help to find an accountant.  We started again to do what we have done together for the past twenty-five years, find just the right person.  I was to call him this afternoon to discuss the status of interviews and candidates.


At 7:30 this morning i received an email and a link to an article about a tragic automobile accident that happened yesterday afternoon in Oklahoma.  Don Clift and his wife Jana were killed in a head on horrific accident.  The day has been a long one.  I talked to candidates who had been interviewed, business associates, friends. 


As i have gone through the motions of today, i have thought about all the people's lives he touched, the good things he did, how hard he worked and what a pleasure it was to have been a part of his career for so many years.  The secrets we shared about business and the stories we told about people and things that happened through the years in several different business settings.  It was difficult erasing the voice message left last week.

I will miss you Don and i will miss working with you.  I don't know why things happen the way they do but my life and my business were better because of people like you.  Not once, ever ,in all these years did anyone ever say a bad word about you and i never heard you say a bad word about anybody.  Not one.  Would that we could all have that kind of eulogy.  I have things handled for the moment.  I wish you were here to advise me what to do next.  Adios my friend.

Views: 1592

Comment by Noel Cocca on November 13, 2012 at 8:00am

Very Sorry Sandra.  I completely understand this situation.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to you, Don, and his family.  

Comment by Tim Spagnola on November 13, 2012 at 9:56am

Sorry to hear of this loss Sandra. As Noel points out - thoughts and prayers with you and Don's family.

Comment by Amber on November 13, 2012 at 10:22am

Sorry to hear about your friend and associate, Sandra. I know there are alot of people who talk about candidates as "sendouts", etc., but you are the kind of person who takes care of business AND has actual relationships with people who come into your life - I have a feeling you impacted his life just as much as he did yours.

Comment by Christopher Perez on November 13, 2012 at 10:55am

Damn, what a man, and what a tribute. On the strength of your fine eulogy, I will lift a glass to Don this evening, and will keep his family in my prayers. May we all be remembered this way.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on November 13, 2012 at 3:27pm

Thanks all, part of the reason i posted what might seem to be something somewhat more personal than the average post on a professional blog, is that i have thought a lot since yesterday about the people i have met, worked with and with whom  I have become friends over the years as a recruiter.  We are, i think, fortunate to be able to have a circle of business friends that many people never have the opportunity to have.


When i started this current search (he had run an ad with some but not the perfect results) i started sending candidates.  He sent me an email and said, "wow, what are you using for bait to catch such great fish?"  I sent an email back that said, "You".

Everybody i called who had ever heard of him wanted to work for him.  I got a chance to tell him that. I made a mental note to be sure when i hear a compliment about someone to pass it on now.

I have a lot of clients and candidates i have worked with over the years.  I am making it a point to put on my list of things to do to reach out and visit a few minutes in the coming weeks.  I feel very fortunate that i was able to spend an hour on the phone with my friend Don not too long before this happened.

Texas and the cattle industry lost one of their most respected.  Nuff said.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on November 13, 2012 at 4:13pm

Thank you for sharing Sandra...

Comment by Megan Bell on November 14, 2012 at 8:42am

I'm so sorry for your loss Sandra; you wrote some beautiful things about this man that brought tears to my eyes.  Praying for all that are/were affected by this wonderful man Don and his wife Jana.  

Comment by Peter Ceccarelli on November 16, 2012 at 3:28pm

What you wrote?  Just beautiful and heartfelt, as I would expect you to write. Just like you!

Comment by Candace Nault on November 16, 2012 at 5:32pm

A beautiful tribute, very thoughtful on so many levels.  Thank you for sharing.

Comment by Thomas Patrick Chuna on December 5, 2012 at 9:27pm

Sandra, I just saw this, I am very sorry for your loss. :(


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