AgilQuest’s WHY – Our 25 Year Journey
We are stoked to be celebrating our 25th year on July 26, 2019.
Our Founder and CEO, John Vivadelli, envisioned creating a program that could help the workplace be as agile as its workforce and help it to be a place at which people would love to work.
But the desire to create something the business world could love and use each day started in John way longer than 25 years ago.
For our 25th anniversary, John has shared with us the story of how AgilQuest came to be.
AgilQuest’s WHY from CEO and founder, John Vivadelli:
People start companies for many reasons.
Some do it for the hopes of great wealth,
some think it will provide enhanced freedom,
and others may do it out of sheer necessity.
My “why” resulted from five main life experiences.
While I was not aware of the importance of each at the time, they came together to build the foundation for our unique corporate culture.
From Mud to Mall:
As a young boy, I dreamt of building something new and distinctive, something that had never been done before.
It was my Uncle Tom who opened my eyes to what was possible and started my AgilQuest journey.
He took me out to the empty, grass fields of Northern Virginia, extended his arm in a sweeping motion and said, “Right here we are building one of the world’s largest shopping malls. We’re turning this muddy field into a newer, easier way for people to shop!”
As he spoke and painted a grand picture of what was to be, it really struck me as incredible.
This plain, muddy, grass field was going to be transformed into something new and exciting, something valuable to many people.
I knew then, this is the kind of feeling I wanted when I built something.
Sacrifice and Satisfaction:
My early years laid the foundation for loving work as a fundamental part of life, not something separate from it.
In the blue-collar coal fields of Western Pennsylvania, where I was raised, the economy was built on immigrant workers, like my family, who literally put their lives at risk every day to create opportunities for those they loved.
Hard work and sacrifice were a badge of honor, a source of extreme pride and satisfaction.
Their incredibly modest incomes demanded a level of frugality difficult to imagine today in order to save money to send their children to college and a ticket out of the coalfields.
Effort and Environment:
My father made it quite clear that his five children would get a college education. While nowhere near as intense as digging coal, Chemical Engineering at the University of Colorado provided me the opportunity to experience the sheer joy and satisfaction of hard work.
A small group of us would grind through our homework until the wee hours of the morning. The harder the assignments, the more we laughed at our situation and the greater the joy and satisfaction we felt when we solved the problems.
CU introduced me to something equally important; the elegance of environmentally sound design and the necessary extra effort required to build things that were in harmony with the natural world.
Not Possible only means Not Easy:
My work life started as one of “Admiral Rickover’s boys”, a US Navy nuclear-trained officer on the attack submarine USS Silversides.
Mr. Rickover drilled into us that people, especially his recruits, possess capabilities far beyond our understanding, far beyond what we believe we can achieve. He and his organization spent the next five years proving that to me over and over again.
I learned that “not possible” just means “not easy,” and persistent, extra effort wins the day.
Care for People:
IBM followed the Navy and I traded one blue suit for another!
Big Blue provided me a Ph.D. in Business Management superior to that available in any university.
My most important lesson learned there was the strategic value that results from building a corporate culture dedicated to caring for employees and their families. When people know their families’ basic needs such as health care are covered, it frees them to do their best work.
So, why AgilQuest?
When planning AgilQuest, I recounted these themes and wrote down the values that were important to me and hoped I could build a company with others who might feel the same way:
my family’s well-being, hard work and sense of accomplishing difficult tasks, freedom to choose, taking care of people, passion for building things in harmony with the environment and good solid value over glitz.
I also thought about things I did not want to replicate. Of the items in this category, the most dreadful to me was the sight of people who no longer enjoyed their work, but remained at their jobs solely in hopes of retirement (only six more years to go!).
All I could think about was the wasted gift of precious time and life, going to work without love.
AgilQuest was not a place for people who lived this way.
This led me to think about the commonly used term “work/life balance.”
It is built on the assumption that work is less enjoyable and should be minimized, while life is more enjoyable and should be maximized.
What would it be like to build an organization where people loved to come to work? An organization where people could incorporate “life” into “work” so that all of it could be enjoyed as a complete whole?
It is certainly a place that I would want to belong to!
And so, it came to be.
AgilQuest was created for people who enjoy work as an integral part of a life well-lived.
We have attracted people who are passionate about the work they do.
As a result, we build products that make it easier for people to love their work: products that give people choice and freedom, connect with their colleagues and find the equipment and services to get work done.
We identify and share wasted resources to improve sustainability and redirect the wasted capital right back…to people and the things that help them love their work!