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The End of a Chapter...

rsweet
Not applicable
Wow, I have never really given much thought to some of the emotions I'm feeling today…they're throwing a party for me in a few minutes…a retirement party. I know, if you looked at my bio I may appear to be old enough to "retire"…but actually, I'm 48 years young, still young enough to chase a passion but in this strange industry of airlines I'm actually old enough to retire with 20+ years…confusing huh? This is a Company that no Employee should ever consider leaving because it truly is a Company of People and those People become friends, those friends create a fun and supportive environment, those friends are there day in and day out working with you for a common cause…and that's the first year on the job. I'm just a few months short of 22 years here so, you can only imagine what I feel I'm leaving behind at the end of this week. Today they will carve out three hours of what would otherwise be productive time (we're all about productivity) to have fun, tell old stories (some that have become urban legend), and share goodbyes. Then everyone will go back to work, and work hard as they have just been reminded why this is the best place to work in the world. For me it will turn a sad week into a happy week …So why am I leaving? Confusing huh? Oh, they're calling me to attend…I guess I should…I'll be back in a few minutes… Damn, that was brutal…brutal in the sense that it makes leaving all of this even harder…I think it's a conspiracy, a torturous way to keep you from leaving. They have all this food for you, balloons everywhere, and gifts galore…even a new sports coat to wear in lieu of the polo and shorts I wear today. And the People…my friends…the smiles, tears, comments, and stories…man this is killing me. Anyone that ever questioned the Southwest Culture and Spirit never understood it to begin with…Why am I leaving? Confusing huh? I LUV this place and always will but there are two things I LUV as much or even more – my children (who I LUV more than anything in this world) and my alma mater. I'm starting a new chapter in my life at SMU as the Associate Athletic Director of Marketing and Public Relations. It's a great university with a proud history and I can't wait to get there. So, in a nutshell, I'm leaving for another passion, another challenge, another life experience. Not as confusing huh? Although I'm leaving, a big piece of my heart will always be with Southwest and I'll always remain connected as a Customer (Southwest serves a lot of Conference USA cities)…In fact, I think I'll be a high maintenance Customer just for the fun of it…I'll miss everyone I've worked with at Southwest Airlines, it has truly been my home away from home. Good Bye. Note from the blog editors: Richard has made innummerable contributions to our Company over the past 22 years. His wisdom, humor, and passion will be greatly missed by many at Southwest. Yes, we are feeling sorry for ourselves today, SweetCollegeWeb.jpegbut anyone who knows Richard knows that he is a SMU Mustang through and through and we wish him the best of luck in this new chapter of his life. We'll be cheering for you Richard!
16 Comments
Charles_Zug
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Richard: There's lots I could say about my 6+ years working closely with you during the halcyon days of Southwest from 89-95, but I've chosen to take the high road this time. You introduced me to the concept of bleeding Southwest orange, a badge of honor I carry with me 10+ years later. So, Southwest takes charge as the #1 carrier in the US (passengers boarded) for the first time ever and it's mission accomplished -- "finally... now I can retire"??? Probably safe to say that SMU athletics needs you more than Southwest does at this point. Be sure to invite me to that retirement party -- I assume in January 2016 after the Mustangs win the National Championship?
Steve_Stovall
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Congratulations on your "retirement," Richard. I, for one, look forward to working with you in your new position at SMU. There's a lot of opportunity for us Mustangs, and I know you'll jump in feet first. See you tomorrow on the Boulevard and at Ford Stadium!! GO MUSTANGS and BEAT TULSA!!!
blusk
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Richard, we will miss you more than you know. You probably know more about the intricacies of pricing than most people on the planet. However, as a proud SMU Alum, I am prouder than ever of my Alma Mater for recognizing your talent, heart, and SOUTHWEST SPIRIT. Bring some glory back to The Hilltop. By the way, Richard is much too modest to link this, but here is the SMU press release announcing his appointment.Â
Eric15
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Hmmmm from SWA to SMU! I was at the party, and signed one of those inserts to go in your memory book. The thing is i just wrote that typical goodluck and we'll miss ya stuff. So i guess i can say here what i should have written. I truly appreciate what a great leader you have been to me and our Team. When i look to what kind of leader i want to be or try to be i have/Had a great role model in your true servant leadership style, and your dedication not only to the "Job", but the folks you worked with and around everyday. Who's going to get the "Crown" award from now on, and help us celebrate Team "Birsdays"? haha Life moves on, and what a outstanding opportunity for you and your Family. SMU is lucky to be getting you. If we need you for a guest speaker you aren't going to charge us are you?
Toni_B
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Fare thee well, Sir Richard. I feel certain that Richard is unaware of the impact he has had on so many lives around here because, at times, he is far too humble. For many, me included, Richard was the first Leader to provide the guiding light in developing thier career paths. For me, he has been a sounding board, a fair minded Leader, a mentor, and a friend (whose wit and sense of humor have brought me much joy.) I will be forever grateful for the time I spent working with him and learning from him. Richard, you have a gift for quietly being an integral part of people's lives and I hope your new position continues to give you the opportunity to "win friends and influence people." I wish you all the best! Toni
Marci_Todd
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Richard - I ditto what Brian and Eric say. Additionally, I'd like to thank you for your 22 years of contributions to SWA's Success; your guidance and support of SWA's Emergency Response Plan; your compassion; your friendship; and most of all, setting the bar high for the Leaders of Southwest Airlines. I am fortunate to have been under your Leadership for the past six years. Knowing that your passion for SMU is even greater than your passion for SWA indicates that you will succeed at setting the bar even higher for the educators at SMU! I'll miss you! LUV, Marci
kfrancis1
New Arrival
I don't have much dirt on Richard and although I know where to get some, I'll just share what I do know. Richard's introverted personality and very dry sense of humor,makes for some good entertainment with a little alcohol. Well, duh, right? For example, when he lost to a girl (half his age or more) in a beer chuggin' contest. To make up for it, he crushed the can on his forehead. This interesting talent kicked off our Annual Marketing Meeting several years ago. He also enjoys free wine (read NO MORE WHINING ABOUT THE WINE). Richard is greatly admired through Southwest and has left a large hole in our marketing family and company with his departure. Hellllewwww ,22 years is a long time. He defines what our culture is about and so does us letting him go to chase his dream. Peace out and stay sweet Sweet. P.S. If you get fired at your new job, I overheard they may be willing to take back here. Shhhhhhh
chaussee
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Great family man. Great father. Great intellect. Great marketer. Great leader. Great fellow alum (if you count grad school). Great friend. Great loss for SWA. Great recruit for SMU.
pkryscha
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It is a brave man who is willing to share his collego photo with the e-world. I think that photo should have it's own caption contest. I have several entries: "Richard, Ashton Kutcher called. He wants his hair back." "I didn't know Barry Gibb went to SMU." "Last time I saw that hairdo, it was on John Travolta and he was carrying a gallon of paint through the streets of NY." Have a happy life, Richard! --Patty
Jenny4
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Roobah! I laughed! As a mom, my suggestion is to pack your carry-on with as much food as possible! Airport food = expensive - not only that, you can have a blast in the grocery trying to find the best snack ever. In the past I've carried on a full package of Oreos - you can make quite a few friends by sharing... Come to think of it - try a lunchable - all self contained - not sure about getting one with a drink box though...might have to leave it with the TSA... Hope you are flying for fun - have a great trip. Thanks for the humor. Jenny
Girt
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Today is the start of a new chapter of your life at SMU! Hopefully this will be the start of good things to come for the Mustangs, maybe one day you'll be as good as the Horned Frogs (Just Kidding). Annual Meeting will never be the same, neither will Halloween. Your quirky sense of humor has always kept us on our toes. Whether it's allowing people a laugh on your behalf (Annual Meeting) or helping people laugh at themselves as they make mistakes. You help us realize that life's too important to be too serious. Behind the "Sweet Mistique" lives a quiet individual who works hard behind the scenes, with his passion for the cause driving him towards his ultimate goal of success. Whether it's helping a struggling airline become one of the best in the industry or helping a struggling University back on its feet after being handed one of the most devistating blows to its athletic program. Quote from Richard, "Success is not an option when your follow your passion." We'll see you on the company plane...by the way, has anyone talked to you about the benefits of SWABIZ?
FriendofBlogBoy
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Richard, Although I don't know you personally, I suspect that I am very familiar with the work that you've produced over the years in marketing, even if I didn't know who was responsible for it. However, I do know that everything that I've seen come out of Southwest's marketing department has always been classy, clever, funny and terrific and I'm guessing that you deserve some of the credit for that. I join your friends and fellow Employees in wishing you well at SMU, and as a Customer, please accept my gratitude for all that you and the many other people that we never see have done for us over the years. Southwest is a great organization, but that greatness is a result of the combined efforts of many wonderful people who happen to enjoy giving Positively Outrageous Service. Best wishes as you head to the halls of academia, Kim
Christine7
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I hope you'll continue to blog? -C.
Jeramy_Brian1
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Go Trojans! Beat the bruins and then the buckeyes! 11 time national champions soon to be 12....
FriendofBlogBoy
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Jeramy, How's life in Reyjkavik? Ha ha Kim 🙂
Jami1
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Congratulations on your new venture Richard. I am sure you will make the best "high maintenance Customer" ever. Southwest is a great company to have had the pleasure of being a part of as well as fond memories to enjoy. Good luck to you. Just a customer who luvs flying SWA, J