Farewell, Michael

DaviesMoore’s very first full-time employee, Michael Reagan, has decided to embark on a new work/life adventure with One Stone, a youth leadership development program. Mister (MR), as I call him, will be greatly missed in the halls, kitchens, offices and watering holes of DaviesMoore.

Recently, Enzo, the Reagan family pooch left this world with a sudden bout of bone cancer. Michael and I had a very nice talk about how one of the great roles that pets play in a family is the beginning lessons for our children of dealing with loss. It is my opinion that God put pets on Earth and created the human/pet relationship to train us for other more complex relationships like raising kids or losing grandparents. I bring this up because it dawned on me that this April, Michael and I would have been together professionally for 18 years … about the same amount of time I will have each of my children under my roof before sending them into the outside world. I can’t help but believe that this is part of some Greater Plan.

When Michael approached me for his first post-college job, I knew about as much about running a business – let alone an ad agency- as I do about quantum mechanics today. I had a good 60 days under my belt as an agency owner, and Michael and I shared a desk – sometimes literally sitting knee to knee which was as awkward as it sounds. We learned a lot about each other in that first year. Michael learned that billing and other task-oriented work was not my strong suit, and I learned that Michael was really a creative that just happened to look good in a suit. Soon, Michael’s days as an account executive came to an end and Roger Finch began doing our books as a side job. In those early pre-marriage, pre-kids days it was not uncommon for me to come into our shared office in the morning to find Michael in his sleeping bag under “our” desk having pulled an all-nighter.

The Reagans; Ron, Carol, Scott and Mike are a pretty close-knit bunch, and I have been fortunate to share some of the ups and downs of their extended family. I’ll never forget meeting Ron for the first time. Needing a new dentist, Michael referred me to his dad. Sitting in the dentist chair, Ron came in, introduced himself and said, “So how is my baby boy doing?” I remember how sweet I thought it was that Michael was still Ron’s “baby boy.” I have a feeling I will use that exact line about Dominic someday in the future. I also was fortunate to meet Michael’s grandad who shared my Orofino roots and was an Idaho forester in the glory days of Idaho’s forests. I think he would be very proud of the recent work Michael and his team did for the Nature Conservancy.

I met Michael’s beautiful wife Shannon, or Shuh Non, as I call her, pretty soon after they had concluded their “Rachel and Ross break”, and remember fondly some of their early and epic Halloween parties that almost always included visqueen and a stage. I watched them navigate a long-distance relationship while Shannon reported the top stories in the Magic Valley (Michael traded in naps under my desk for naps at the rest stop between Twin Falls and Boise) and I bawled at their wedding. Watching Michael grow from a young Bono-dressing, Generation Xer to a father, family man and mentor has been a joy.

Professionally, Michael and I have shared some of our greatest successes together. From major and emotional client wins like Nagel Beverage, the University of Idaho and Idaho Lottery, to major creative awards. But the day I really felt as though we had created a legit ad agency was when I was sitting in a Rockie Awards show in the Egyptian theatre and Michael’s team won a Rockie for a radio commercial that I had never heard before. Michael had a team and he was running that shit!

I love you Michael. Crew cut Michael, bearded Michael, Chandler-hair Michael and the Bono sweep back, shirtless Michael and my favorite – shirtless-with-a-tie Michael. Clean-shaven Michael still shocks me a little. We’ve cried in front of each other, been hammered (a couple dozen times), have done some great work and made our clients a buck or two. I am proud of you and glad that you’re going out there to fill your passion bucket.

Eighteen years ago, it was me and Sneaky Pete. Today our DaviesMoore family has 32 members. The creative team alone is seven designers, writers and strategists. Thank you, Mr. Reagan, for the role you’ve played and the memories you leave me and everyone you’ve touched along the way. Good job Ron and Carol and congratulations Shannon, Kellan and Ella – the Force is strong with this one.