Founders recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary, a truly memorable experience. Held at the beautiful Pursell Farms in Sylacauga, Alabama, the 3-day celebration was filled with exciting activities, delicious food, and quality time with co-workers and friends of the firm. We could not have asked for a better way to celebrate such a significant milestone.
The purpose of the celebration was:
Gratitude – Give thanks to God and all those have helped us over the years
Celebration – Rejoice and celebrate our blessings
Fellowship – Enjoy a great time of rest and recreation with our team, their spouses, and our friends
The festivities kicked off Thursday afternoon, as Founders team members and spouses were greeted with a champagne toast before heading over to Master’s Row for team activities. After a little friendly competition, the team enjoyed a sunset cocktail reception overlooking the 18th hole vista. We then enjoyed a fabulous Alabama BBQ under the stars with live music and fellowship. We took the opportunity to honor some of our longest-serving employees, presenting them with two special awards and recognition for their contributions over the years. Director, Billy Pritchard, was presented with the 2023 Bullpen Hall of Fame award, and President, Wes Legg, received his 10-year service award. It was the perfect way to wrap up the first day of our celebration weekend!
Friday began with our team and spouses hiking up Chalybeate Mountain to a beautiful mountaintop vista called “The Secret Place” where our founder & CEO, Duane Donner, shared a message on the heart behind our firm’s vision, mission, purpose and values. It was a special time of reflecting and reiterating on the heart behind Founders and the foundation that has been built over the past 20 years. We were encouraged to lookout into the future and dream about the opportunities ahead. After a delicious brunch, the team dispersed for a day of rest and recreation to include golf, spa appointments, ATV riding, fishing, and clay-shooting.
Most of our guests arrived on Friday afternoon just as Robert Regard and his team from Crazy Cajuns were heating up the pots in preparation for our annual crawfish boil. We were blessed with delicious crawfish and shrimp along with Cajun jambalaya, shrimp rotini and Louisiana style bread pudding for dessert. Of course, we had Terry & The Zydeco Bad Boys live all the way from Duson, Louisiana cranking up the Zydeco beat. It was an incredible evening of great fun and fellowship with colleagues, clients, and close friends of the firm, not to mention a few entertaining 8-second rides on the mechanical bull and some of the biggest crawfish we’ve ever had, and that is saying a lot!!!!
Saturday was an amazing day mostly dedicated to enjoying the outdoors with our guests for an 18-hole golf tournament in a Texas scramble format. The weather was perfect all day. That evening we gathered for the 20th Anniversary Gala at the exquisite Hamilton Place. Guests were shuttled over and greeted with mint julips as they enjoyed a cocktail reception on the lawn with a jazz band playing in the background. As the sun began to go down, we gathered inside for a delicious 4-course dinner prepared by the farm chef.
After dinner, the Gala presentation began with Duane sharing his heart. This was followed by a series of short talks by the firm’s Partners, Duane, Zane and Wes, along with four great videos, including (click text link to watch): Our History, Our Culture, The Future of our Firm, and a Lighthearted look inside Founders.
Duane also instituted and awarded the firm’s first Legg-Tarence Servant Leadership Award named in honor of partners Wesley Legg and Zane Tarence. This award is given to the team member who most exemplifies the characteristics of Servant Leadership within the firm. Team members were nominated and then voted on by all employees of Founders to select the winner. This year’s inaugural recipient was Chris Weingartner.
We ended the Gala presentation with a champagne toast to 20 years led by the Founders leadership team. We then moved outside for an after party, kicked off with a dance competition, which was won by Peter Shwarz, a senior analyst on our team. We capped off the night with drinks, cigars, and dancing to live music performed by Act of Congress.
As we look back on the past two decades, we are filled with gratitude for all who have helped us along the journey. We are extremely excited about our team and the platform we have built over the past 20 years. As good as it has been over the past 20 years, we truly believe that our best days lie ahead, and the best is yet to come! We look forward to continuing to work together to achieve our vision of “Becoming the gold standard transaction advisory firm to private companies.” We believe we will achieve this bold vision by continuing to live out our values and purpose to “Be Servant Leaders who Value Relationships and Results.”
Cheers to the next 20 years! Check out a few photos from the celebration weekend here and see our short-talk videos below: