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Family Matters

Posted by Joel Willis on

Life is funny how sometimes the perfect people come along right when you need them. It almost never feels like that in the moment, but looking back at various times in my life I have had the good fortune to meet some incredible people in really crucial moments in my life. In retrospect, those relationships seem positively providential. Meeting Mike, was one of those times for me.

I first met Mike while we were in college. One of my best friends in college was Mike's resident assistant in a dorm on campus and I met Mike through him. In College Mike and I ran in similar circles but despite the proximity, we never really got connected to one another. No real reason for it.. More like ships passing in the night than anything. After graduation, my beautiful girlfriend, Lauren, became my wife and the two of us moved to Albany Oregon to be youth pastors. We enjoyed our first several wonderful years of Marriage there. Mike on the other hand was living in Detroit and working for Carhartt as a designer while simultaneously working very hard to woo another friend of ours from college, Carly, back to him from a very long distance. Due to the distance and changes in our respective lives after school, the four of us didn’t get to see each other very much.  Fast forward about 7 years, and I ran into Mike at an alumni event. I was working in sales for a technology company in Meridian Idaho at the time, and really wanting to do something different. I loved selling and the personal connections I made but didn't feel challenged or valued and wanted a new hill to climb. At the Event, Mike and I started comparing notes on business and life after school. It was one of the chance meetings in my life where I feel something extra special happened. Mike and I seemed to share an immediate chemistry. My favorite people in the world are “what if we” and “I bet we could do that” kind of people. Mike epitomizes what it means to be optimistic and willing to take on new challenges. I didn’t know it that day, but my life changed course that day.

Since then, Mike and I have always seemed to end up at a table somewhere talking about new ideas, product plans, or innovations we could make, and where we can go next. I think there are people out there for all of us who seem to naturally run on the same wavelength. People who you intuitively know are “your people”. Mike is one of those people for me.

By the time we all had moved back to Nampa where we currently live, Mike & Carly, and Lauren & I started to hang out together. Lauren and Carly had known each other since high school, and Mike and I got along like peas and carrots, so it was an extremely natural friendship. All four of us like games, and would play cards and board games til late in the evening. We would grab dinner and a movie, travel together, spend time on the boat together, and anything in between. Our families just sort of grew together over the years. It’s been about 17 years since we all started College together. Business is now just one small part of the wonderful life we all share.

 It’s funny how life turns out. One day your working your regular job, and by coincidence you run into someone who changes the whole trajectory of your life.. Like I said before I have been fortunate enough to have this happen to me a number of times in my life, but it never ceases to amaze me how we never know what is around the corner. How you can be going along and in one day your whole life takes a turn you weren’t expecting. If you have lived any time on this earth at all, you know those turns are not always happy, and many in my life been very tough. But the bright side is that you never really know what is just around the corner.


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