Chairman's Newsletter: April 2022
In This News
Greetings WWT family and friends,
Welcome to Spring 2022! It seems like the first quarter flew right by, and here we are in the thick of Q2. I am thrilled to see WWT facilities reopen to employees and wholeheartedly want to welcome those who are returning from working remotely! Though I don't think we will see a return to the way things were pre-pandemic, it is most definitely refreshing to see gatherings beginning to take place as the new normal emerges.
As I begin this newsletter, I want to extend the sympathies of the entire World Wide Technology family to our partners at Centene following the passing of their longtime leader, Michael Neidorff. In addition to being a brilliant businessman, Michael was a pillar of strength and philanthropy, not only in St. Louis but around our world. He had a passion for serving "the least of these" in our society, and that shone through as Centene became the largest Medicaid provider in the United States under Michael's leadership.
As many of you know, I was privileged to serve alongside Michael on the Centene Board of Directors for 18 years. I was honored to call him my partner and very dear friend. He will be missed but never forgotten, as many will stand upon his shoulders. His legacy will live on for many generations and I ask that you please remember the Neidorff family in your prayers as they persevere through this very difficult time.
I am happy to report WWT continues to experience an impressive growth trajectory even amid the pandemic and other market challenges. In 2021, we reported $14.5 billion revenue, up eight percent from the previous year.
Thank you for your continued commitment to excellence!
I am especially grateful to have been able to gather in person with our WWT Board of Directors for the first time in over two years during our March board meeting, which consisted of a full day dedicated to strategic planning. Our executive team and board are committed to ensuring the continued growth of WWT. I am confident we will meet our goals in 2022 and beyond.
On March 10, WWT partnered with St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones to host the first Mayoral Technology Summit. We welcomed 10 mayors from several major cities to explore solutions to some of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing major urban areas in the United States. It was an informational and insightful session focused on public safety, securing critical infrastructure, and economic development. For more information, check out the Mayoral Community page.
WWT was honored to welcome Missouri Governor Mike Parson, First Lady Teresa Parson, and CEOs from some of the top companies headquartered in St. Louis to WWT on March 31 to discuss support for Concordance Academy as they look to expanding nationally.
Concordance helps reduce reincarceration rates by offering individuals recently released from prison a wholistic program that presents a first real chance at healing from past traumas. The program focuses on treating substance abuse and mental health issues, job training and placement, and spiritual wholeness in addition to other skills needed to lead a successful life. Reducing recidivism is critical to advancing racial equity in our country.
I am honored to be chairing the Concordance First Chance Campaign, a $100 million fundraising effort aimed at expanding the organization's re-entry model to 11 new U.S. cities over the next five years. We are grateful and thankful to Governor Parson for his support.
Driving positive change in the communities where we live, work and play has long been a pillar of WWT culture, which is why it is important to me to highlight the great work of some of WWT's community partners.
We care about our children, especially those without opportunity and access. WWT community partners like BEYA, Boys Hope Girls Hope and the National Academy Foundation, to name a few, are providing impactful experiences for our children to help them develop technical, professional and character building skills that lead to fulfilling careers.
WWT is blessed to support a growing number of amazing young people through mentorships, internships and apprenticeships, with many of our interns securing full-time employment at WWT.
I would like to congratulate Mike Schmitt and Katrina Scott on their new roles within WWT's Supplier Diversity leadership team. Mike and Katrina, who serve as senior manager of small business and senior manager of supplier diversity, respectively, bring a wealth of experience and passion to the table. Their existing relationships and exciting ideas will undoubtedly help us move this important work forward.
As the largest Black-owned business in the U.S., we know first-hand the importance and impact companies can make in expanding economic equity for all. Growing small and diverse-owned businesses is key to that end.
In addition, I would like to welcome Ying McGuire as the new CEO of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, a longtime partner of WWT. Ying's diverse experiences over many years as a supplier diversity leader at Dell, then as an executive at a minority-owned business, make her exceptionally qualified to lead NMSDC into the next 50 years. In fact, her efforts were instrumental in establishing and growing WWT's relationship with Dell.
Great Place to Work
As our CEO, Jim Kavanaugh, recently announced, World Wide Technology has been named a Great Place To Work for the 11th consecutive year -- an amazing accomplishment and recognition of the culture and values pervasive at WWT. Thank you for all you do to make this company a great place to work for all!
One of the many things that contributes to our inclusive culture is our Employee Resource Group (ERG) program. Our ERGs continuously provide the WWT workforce and greater community with opportunities for engagement, education and collaboration. Over the next few months, I am excited to help our ERGs celebrate:
- Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May
- Pride Month in June
- Juneteenth on June 19
- Memorial Day on May 30
- A mentorship event co-hosted by our Veterans and Hispanic and Latinx ERG groups
Another important part of our culture continues to be the WWT Family & Friends Prayer Calls. As we enter our third year of this incredible ministry, we continue to receive encouraging comments from our employees, customers, partners and friends who choose to join the calls.
The invitation for the second quarter calls was recently sent. I hope you will take the time to join a call and invite your friends and family. In addition to the prayer calls, we also offer spiritual guidance and support through our partnership with Biblical Business Training. Please remember you are welcome to submit prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, participation in any these opportunities is completely optional based on your own personal faith and beliefs.
As I think about the abundant blessings that have been bestowed upon WWT, I am reminded of the words of Matthew 6:33, "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
WWT and professional motor racing
The excitement continues to build as World Wide Technology Raceway prepares to welcome NASCAR for the June 5 Enjoy Illinois 300 Cup Series race. Our marketing team is working through the details of employee-discounted tickets, and we hope to have the information to you by the end of April. Please watch your email for that announcement.
I have dreamed of being involved with racing since I was a young boy and am grateful for the opportunities I've had to engage with the sport and its people. One of my favorite highlights was serving as the Grand Marshall at a 2018 Indy Car Race.
I remain grateful to Larry Albus, a former Anheuser Busch executive who now works as a marketing consultant and director of Raceway Gives Foundation, for introducing me to Curtis Francois, owner and CEO of World Wide Technology Raceway, who has come to be my close friend and partner. As our relationship continues to grow, it is clear we are "equally yoked' and share a vision for the St. Louis region. Working together to bring the NASCAR Cup Series Race to our home track is just one way we believe we can bridge east and west divides for the greater good of our community.
On Feb. 24, Curtis, my son (Dave II) and I were excited to host a kickoff reception as we began the 100-day countdown to the race. Our emcee for the evening was Michael McMillan, president and CEO of The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. We were privileged to be joined by The King, Richard Petty, along with NASCAR President Steve Phelps, and Frank and Warrick Scott (son and grandson of the late Wendell Scott) for the event. How fitting it was to have the Scotts join us to kick off the first NASCAR race here in the St. Louis region! Now on to the race!
As always, I am happy to share with you the devotion from the March WWT Board of Directors meeting.
This devotion, centered around strategic commitment, was based on the words of Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." I hope you will enjoy reading the devotion.
As I close, I want to pay special tribute to a cherished member of my office, Julie Council. It is with a heavy heart we say goodbye for now to Julie as she will be leaving WWT to pursue a nursing degree.
Julie has been an invaluable part of my office for the past five years, but she feels led to follow the calling God has placed upon her heart. Many of you know Julie from her amazing efforts in helping lead the United Way campaigns and her tireless efforts with the employee ticket program. Julie's attention to detail, her willingness to always go above and beyond in all things, her kindness, and her warm and gentle spirit will most definitely be missed. Please feel free to send Julie a note of well wishes, if you feel so led. We pray the very best for Julie and her wonderful family as she moves into this new chapter of her life. Godspeed, Julie, and please don't be a stranger!
I know many WWT family members celebrated the arrival of spring with the International Day of Nowruz (March 21), while still others celebrated with the festival of colors known as Holi (March 18). For those who celebrated Passover and Easter, I pray you enjoyed a wonderful time gathering with loved ones.
May God continue to richly and abundantly bless you and your precious families.