How One Man’s Legacy Has Shaped Our Company

RJ Licata Marketing Manager Back to Inside Terakeet

Over the past several years, employees of Terakeet have proudly supported numerous local events and causes. From races organized to raise funding for cancer research to golf tournaments looking to support memorial scholarships, we take pride in our team’s strong commitment to making a difference in the community.

As a company, we’ve decided to fully commit to two causes, in particular. They are our very own Cause for the Cuse and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk. The former is a homegrown fundraiser to collect money and donations for warm winter clothes and school supplies for students in the Syracuse City School District. The latter is a national cause to support those who are suffering from, have survived, or have lost their battle with blood cancers.

Our company has grown quickly in recent years, and a great deal of that success can be attributed to the typical attributes that allow a business to do well, including excellent products, attentive customer service, and talented people. The third component — talented people — is what has ultimately drawn us to participate in the Light the Night Walk.

A while back, when our company was fledgling and the personnel numbers were significantly lower than they are today, the team hired a young man named Marc Murray. I did not know or work with Marc, but I have heard enough about him to understand his impact on those lucky enough to know him and on Terakeet as a whole. My colleague, Matt Raven, wrote about him this week, doing more justice to Marc’s legacy than I ever could.

Sadly, Marc passed away in 2011 after a long and courageous fight with leukemia. As I mentioned, I never met him, but the stories of his impact are not lost on me.

His dedication to the company, his willingness to do whatever it took to perform his job successfully, and his insistence on having as much fun as he possibly could while doing so are all key catalysts to the evolution of the Terakeet culture that I and my fellow Keeters enjoy today. Participating in the Light the Night Walk is our way of saying thanks to Marc for his role in shaping our company, and to support his family and the many others who have been affected by this terrible disease.

Yesterday afternoon, as we prepared to participate in this year’s LLS Light the Night Walk, we also began another Terakeet tradition, one which will hopefully continue on for many years to come: we presented the first annual Marc Murray Award.

The award was designed to acknowledge a Terakeet employee who best embodied many of the traits that made Marc so instrumental to the success of our company. More specifically, we wanted to identify someone who best lives by our five core values (integrity, sustainable value, entrepreneurship, invention and rapid response), exhibits the “Ultimate Company (Wo)Man Spirit”, demonstrates a “Whatever it Takes” attitude, gracefully manages adversity, and is a genuine and optimistic person.

The award was always meant to be for the employees and by the employees, so we opened up the polls. Every employee would get one vote, and their vote would carry the same amount of weight, whether they were hired last week or were part of senior management. Over sixty employees were nominated during our initial round of voting, which I think says an awful lot about the amount of talented people I work with daily.

Once the votes were totaled, four employees stood out as clear favorites: Anthony DeMario, Keith McComb, Chris Loman, and Shannon Welch, and they became our official nominees. After another round of voting, we were deadlocked in a tie. Yesterday afternoon, the first Marc Murray Award was presented to co-recipients Keith McComb and Chris Loman. In attendance to help us celebrate this occasion were Marc’s parents, Jan and Marvin Murray.

Left to right: Chris Loman, Marvin Murray, Jan Murray, and Keith McComb.
Left to right: Chris Loman, Marvin Murray, Jan Murray, and Keith McComb.

A strong contingent of Keeters then headed to the Onondaga Community College campus, where we participated in the Light the Night Walk. The walk is at once both somber and uplifting. It’s humbling to realize there are so many people who are affected daily by blood cancers, but it was inspiring to see (and be part of) a group helping to find a cure.

As I think about the events that took place yesterday, both the Marc Murray Award ceremony held at the Terakeet offices and the LLS Light the Night Walk held at OCC, I keep finding myself thinking of one word: Legacy. I don’t want to speak for Marc’s parents or for anyone else who knew him, but in my mind, leukemia is merely a footnote in Marc’s legacy.

From my perspective, his legacy is summed up in the fact that because of the lasting impression he made on Terakeet, 100 people who never met him attended this walk in his name. It was our way of saying thank you for helping to build something special, something we all take pride in, and something we aspire to continue growing and improving.

Sir Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” All of Terakeet saw a little further yesterday, thanks to the legacy of one man: Marc Murray.