Last weekend I traveled to Ashtead, England to celebrate Andy Storey’s 60th birthday. One might fairly ask why someone living in Newnan, Georgia would venture to England for a birthday party. The answer is quite simple: Friendship.
I first encountered Andy on a conference call in the mid 1980’s when he was working for British Caledonian Airlines and I was a revenue management consultant. We later began working together closely in the early 1990s when Andy migrated to Australia to work for Qantas and I was still consulting. During that time I also met Carissa Rae who was a new Analyst for Qantas. In fact I was her instructor when she came to work in the revenue management department.
To make a very long story very short, the friendship between Andy and myself grew steadily, based upon our common interests in airlines, mathematics, sports and pubs. His interest in Carissa grew for the simple reason that she was wonderful. My wife and I had the honor of being present at Andy and Carissa’s wedding in the Blue Mountains of Australia just over 25 years ago.
In 1999, Andy and I, along with Tim Hart founded The Rubicon Group. For the next 12 years we worked closely together and made that company a great success. We spent many days together, many flights together and many strategy sessions together working to make the firm grow. We also had many dinners and drinks together imagining what it could become. Rubicon sold in 2011 fulfilling our hopes.
Along the way I helped Andy come to understand the beauty of baseball and he helped me understand the intricacies of cricket (I even played several times on his team). We have laughed, worried, supported each other and those around us and enjoyed each other’s perspectives on life.
Through all of this time, Andy and I have remained friends. We have watched our children grow, our hair turn gray, our communications with each other grow slightly weaker due to distance and emerging new interests. But I can still say that Andy is one of my dearest friends. He and Carissa have been an important part of my life and hopefully will be for many years to come.
Reflecting on all of this, that is what friendship is all about. It is the process of getting to know someone, finding significant common ground, working or doing things together, enjoying the ups/downs, closeness/separations and good/bad times together. In one way it is a mutual exchange of honesty and openness with another person. I can say clearly that Andy is the type of friend anyone would be fortunate to have.
Here’s to you Andy. Congratulations on your 60th birthday. I look forward to hoisting a pint with you on your 70th, 80th, 90th and 100th. All the best my friend.