PAR Celebrates Kay Cunningham's Retirement:<br> Part 2

At the end of this year, Kay Cunningham will be retiring after 26 years at PAR. Kay joined PAR in 1991 and is retiring as President and Chief Operating Officer. Kay has been an integral member of the PAR team and will be leaving a lasting impression on everyone who had the honor to work with her. This is the second part in a series where we will be sharing stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Kay on to her next chapter.

Kay is an incredible person, and a wonderful leader. I was able to work closer with her when she took over as supervisor of the sales team. I am not sure Kay knows how much we valued her direction, but she offered a new perspective to the team, which put us on the path to a great sales year. She was always helpful, kind and generous of her time and she did all that with a great sense of humor. I feel fortunate and grateful to have had her support and encouragement. You will be missed, Kay! —Darla DeCarlo, Clinical Assessment Consultant

I have had the privilege to work with Kay for over 18 years. In addition to her duties as President and COO for PAR, she took on the responsibility of leading our sales team. She assisted in establishing and writing policies and procedures, which was something we needed. She was also was very helpful to me with large bids and contracts. Over the years, Kay has always been a great “go-to person” because she seemed to know the answer to any question. I wish her much happiness as she begins this next step in life. —Nancy Fazioli, Senior Administrative Assistant

I have worked with Kay since her beginning days at PAR, and over the years, she has taught me so much about helping others. Kay is a kind and generous person, both with her time and with her financial resources. She has supported nearly every community activity PAR has supported. She has participated in fundraising walks for various charities; she is an extremely generous supporter of United Way; she has been board president of PACE Center for Girls in Tampa, as well as past secretary of the state board of PACE; she is an active member of Hospice Women of Philanthropy; and the list goes on. Kay is a selfless person who has willing offered her time, expertise, and counsel to many people and organizations, always in an accepting, nonjudgmental way. She has had a strong, steady presence at PAR over the past 26 years. I will really miss Kay (and her funny jokes!) and wish her the very best as she approaches this next exciting part of her journey—retirement! —Cathy Smith, Vice President of Community Relations

I’ve known Kay about 26 years. She always has a kind word for others. She often asks how my out-of-state family is doing and it is clear to see she genuinely cares. One year, she hosted a St. Patrick ’s Day party and that was a lot of fun. Recently, before Hurricane Irma hit, she offered her place to ride out the storm if the need should arise. She has been a wonderful leader and will definitely be missed. —Becky Haines, Senior Graphic Layout Specialist

One of my favorite memories of Kay is when she organized the bowling event for the PACE Center for Girls. The theme was 80s. She went out and bought all the girls hot pink 80s shirts and hair bows. It was a great time and our team won best team spirit. —Christine Fontenot, Clinical Assessment Consultant

Every year, we are asked to submit a list of goals to our supervisor for the following year. Many years ago, one of the goals I submitted was to be more like Kay. Kay always asks the best questions, has such a logical way of looking at the world, handles stress effortlessly, and puts people at such ease. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to learn from Kay all these years. Kay, enjoy your retirement! You will truly be missed at PAR. —Jamie Goland, Editor/Project Manager

This is not directly related to PAR, rather Kay’s involvement with PACE. Many years ago, Kay introduced me to the PACE organization and I was able to collect some data (for the TEC) using their site in Pinellas. I also enjoyed visiting the PACE Tampa facility with Kay a few years ago. —Sue Trujillo, Manager of Data Collection

I can always count on Kay to review every ad, flyer, brochure, and e-blast and provide one of the following comments: Looks good; Looks fine to me; Looks okay to me; Looks great! When she submits more than a few words as feedback, I know there’s a problem! —Melanie Casey, Editor/Project Manager

It’s been my absolute pleasure to work with Kay for almost her entire tenure here at PAR. I also had the advantage of working with her in a variety of different roles and company projects. She has always been one of my favorite people to work with. Smart as a whip, generous, quick witted, honest, and not afraid to be quirky or fresh in her approach, she always offered the most valuable feedback to subordinates and members of her team. I always found her willing to listen and to be fair in situations that warranted it. Make no mistake, Kay is also as tough as nails, always taking care of the company and our interests, both financially and otherwise, but she was never brash or disrespectful in her approach—she was always the epitome of “grace under pressure.” Early on, I learned never to doubt the outcome of any project as long as Kay was involved—she always brought a sense of calm and reason to any situation, even when things may not be going our way. We are going to miss Kay so much. I know, however, that she is going to have the most wonderful retirement because she very much deserves it! Thank you for all you have done for us and our Customers over the years, Kay. PAR would not be the wonderful company it is today without your great care and strength of character in every role you occupied while working here. —Tamara Dwoskin, CS Customer Relationship Manager

I’ve reported to Kay since starting with PAR in late March of 2017. In that time, she has been directly responsible for my orientation to the company and training on our company policies and procedures. As you can imagine, with all of the activities related to sales including travel, conferences, author communications, day to day responses to Customers and outside organizations, I have gone to Kay for all kinds of questions and requests. I’ve found Kay to be welcoming and have found her always willing to help. This includes one Friday when despite a closed door, she instructed me to come in for our weekly meeting. On the floor, in a box was a local rescue dog that she was taking to a new foster home. I found this to be indicative of the type of person Kay is. She’s giving and welcoming, always with a smile. This includes not only all of us at PAR, but those in need as well, be they two-legged or four-legged. We’ll miss her generous spirit and her leadership, and wish her well in whatever lies ahead. —David Houser, Director of Sales

I have had the great pleasure of working with Kay for 26 years as she served in many different roles—controller, CFO, vice president, director, COO, executive vice president, and then president. Kay joined PAR in 1991, when we were just 13 years old and a little more than half the size we are today. She has been part of our team for the next 26 years (or two-thirds of our total existence). As the CEO who worked closely with her for 25 and 1/2 years, I cannot imagine having a work partner who is more competent, dedicated, hardworking, committed, trustworthy, or loyal than Kay. At some point in our lives, we realize that there are only a limited number of people who will have significant impact on our life. For me, Kay is one of those people. I will miss her greatly, but am very pleased that she has agreed for us to get together for lunch once in awhile so we can stay in contact. I wish her great happiness, health, and adventure in her post-PAR journey through life. —R. Bob Smith III, PhD, Executive Chairman and Founder 

Thank you so much, Kay. You will truly be missed.

 

 

This week, Richard Brummer, Senior Manager of Quality Assurance will be retiring after 12.5 years with PAR. This is the third part in a series where PAR staff share their memories and well wishes on Richard’s retirement.

Did you miss Part 1 or Part 2? Catch up now.

We will miss you, Richard!

The first time I ever met Richard was when I was doing post-hire interviews my first week at PAR. I remember walking into his office and seeing a display case with an electronic tether. I was a little intimidated. I came to find out that he was the project manager of the team that created the electronic tether. I think this may have intimidated me a little bit more, but as I got to know Richard both inside and outside of work, his wisdom, integrity, sense of humor, and caring made him stand out as both an employee and a human being. He quickly became one of my favorite people and I am sad to say that life at PAR will truly not be the same without him!

-Rebecca Gerhardstein, Senior Project Director

 

Richard has a quiet but impactful way of helping others. Beside the many Customers (internal and external) he has assisted over the years, Richard and his wife Sandi have been faithful supporters of Meals On Wheels of Tampa. As a company, PAR is an Adopt-A-Route Partner of Meals On Wheels (MOW), with staff taking turns delivering meals to the homebound in our community. Richard has been a vital part of this group of volunteers. For the first few years, he organized and managed the PAR group of volunteers, while also delivering an additional weekly MOW route with his wife Sandi. By speaking with the recipients and others, I learned he and Sandi did many other things behind the scenes to help the recipients. Such acts of kindness included visiting numerous additional times with 90+ year old recipient Dorothy, who lived alone, and continuing to visit her frequently when she moved to an assisted living facility; constructing a wooden ramp so one of the wheelchair-bound recipients could more easily access his home; and helping one of the recipients, who was a self-acknowledged hoarder, clean out her apartment. The list goes on. We will miss Richard and the many ways he has helped all of us at PAR, as well as those in our community.

-Cathy Smith, Vice President of Community Relations

 

Richard was an extremely valuable member of the PAR Team. Not just for his many contributions to our success, but also his cheery disposition and charitable heart. I will miss the delightful chats, stories, and delicious goodies from Sandi. Thank you for all that you have done for PAR!

-Vicki McFadden, Permissions Specialist

 

In the 9 years I have known Richard, he has always been such a pleasure to work with—not only great at his job but also funny and warm. My favorite memory with him is when he presented me with a framed screenshot of a certain PARiConnect screen, the wording on which he and I had debated heavily. I won the debate, and he was sweet enough to frame the results for me. Of course, the framed screenshot is still hanging on my office wall. Richard is just that type of person—caring, kind, a real friend. I will truly miss working with him.

-Erika Thompson, Manager of Production

 

Richard Brummer is one of the nicest people I have ever met and worked with. He’s so kind and thoughtful while always keeping you on your toes with his joshing. I’ll always remember when he surprised me with my “No Love Like Dog Love” mug during Christmas. I felt so special that day. His visits to my desk are going to be so missed. I hope he knows how much he is loved!

-Lauren Howland, Desktop Publisher

 

Good luck, Richard! We will miss you!

 
This week, Richard Brummer, Senior Manager of Quality Assurance will be retiring after 12.5 years with PAR. This is the second part in a series where PAR staff share their memories and well wishes on Richard’s retirement.

Did you miss Part 1? Click here.

For months, every time I walked into Richard’s office, my eyes were drawn to something strange, and I couldn’t fathom why he had it. Perched beside his monitor is a section of a tree trunk about a foot and a half in length and about six inches in diameter. Glued to this piece of wood is an assortment of brightly-colored plastic bugs. For a long time, I just thought that he really liked the outdoors and it was his alternative to a painting of a tree. I asked about it after a while, and Richard explained that one of his many responsibilities is to find errors and inconsistencies in our digital products during development. Any issue he and the team finds is logged in a central place that is used to communicate with the programmers. Issues are called ‘bugs’ in the programming world. Those bugs are recorded in a log. A bug log. This whole time, he’s had a bug log in his office.

-Amy Kovacs, Research Assistant

 

Richard Brummer brought a bottle of champagne to every meeting during the development of PARiConnect. Here, he opens that bottle in the PAR parking lot on January 2, 2013, the day of the PARiConnect launch.

For the past 12 years, Richard has been passionately committed to ensuring that all PAR products contain no errors or quality problems when they are published. And he has done an exceptional job leading this effort and achieving his objective more than 99% of the time. He has developed innovative processes and procedures to evaluate and test product quality, and has trained others to be able to meet the same standards.

Richard also led the effort to design and develop PARiConnect and ensure that it was completed and launched in early 2013. He has continued to be a very strong champion for the ongoing development and evolution of the PARiConnect platform and experience, and has spent endless hours teaching our Customers and others about it. PARiConnect would not be the same without all of the major contributions he has made to it.

-R. Bob Smith, III, PhD, Chairman and CEO

 

Richard has made so many valuable contributions to PAR over the years, particularly his tireless work to help build PARiConnect into a powerful and user-friendly platform. He also worked on a daily basis to ensure that every product published by PAR was error free. But what I’ll remember most is his commitment to doing things the right way. He has always been consistent and steadfast in his beliefs. He fought on behalf of our customers and did a great job of keeping our Customer Support department informed. For that and many other reasons, we’ll miss him dearly. Thanks for everything, Richard!

-Daniel McFadden, Manager of Customer Support

 

Richard has always inspired me to think differently about things. His Innovation Academy was an amazing course that made us really question protocol and view things in a different light. Not only did it help us, but it helped our Customers and made PAR an even better company. I’ll miss Richard’s honesty and wit as well as his almost daily visits to our department (often with treats from his wife). I hope that he truly enjoys his retirement as it is well deserved. He will be missed greatly.

-Teri Lyon, Senior Technical Support Specialist

 

Richard and the accounting staff during a company celebration.

I will miss Richard’s impromptu visits. He is one of the few employees who prefers face to face meetings and walks through the south building regularly. He is very personable and I enjoy his visits and his good nature and sense of humor. I’ll also miss Sandi’s baking. Oh, and he has been extremely helpful with our fixed asset inventories!

-Karen Clifford, Senior Accountant

Did you miss Part 1? Click here. Come back tomorrow for Part 3.
“Real artists ship” is a quote attributed to Steve Jobs of Apple, but around the PAR office, it is a phrase closely associated with Richard Brummer, Senior Manager of Quality Assurance. This week, Richard will be retiring after 12.5 years with the company.

When Richard started at PAR in 2004, he thought he would be working on developing psychological assessment products in print. But in the years since, that has only been a small part of his responsibilities. Most notably, he has been a dedicated champion of the PARiConnect platform since the early days of development. Every PAR Customer has felt Richard’s influence—his tireless dedication to making sure each product is error-free, easily understandable, and intuitively designed is clear on everything he touches. Richard has taught all of us so much about creativity, innovation, and – just like his motto – making sure the focus is always on the Customer receiving a product that makes their job easier.

Here are a few memories we would like to share:

 
I believe that it was, in large part, Richard’s motivation to speak directly to Customers, gather information on their needs, and transform that into PARiConnect functions that lead to the excellent reputation the system has today.

Also, the treats that his wife makes for us are also spectacular.

-Julie Alexander, PhD, Senior Clinical Assessment Consultant

 

Richard Brummer at the PARiConnect launch on January 2, 2013.

I remember Richard taking over as project manager on the development of PARiConnect. With a gleam in his eye, he courageously led a cross-functional team of employees and outside developers in a short time frame to develop a testing and reporting platform with the focus on the user experience. His leadership taught the entire team that anything is possible with perseverance and focus. I have learned so much from Richard throughout my time and PAR and will miss him tremendously!

-Donna Drackett, Vice President/Chief Financial Office

 

I thought the thorough and organized way in which Richard organized and elicited help for testing of the PARiConnect upgrade that was completed in 2015 was masterful! He provided clear and concise explanations of what needed to be tested, and how to accomplish it. It made it easy for many of us to assist.

-Kay Cunningham, President and Chief Operating Officer

 

One of my favorite Richardisms: That’s been around since Moses was a Cub Scout!

-Sue Trujillo, Manager of Data Collection

 

Richard was a great asset to me when I was developing forms for the first time. I truly appreciate his eye when it comes to usability and what will make sense to our Customers. He continues to be my go-to person for review when I am mocking up a form.

-Jenny Greene, Senior Research Assistant

 

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of this three-part series.
You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, today is her last day before retirement. Throughout the week, we have shared stories, memories, and well wishes. Today, we share two final well wishes here.

Vicki King and Cynthia Lumpee during this year's United Way kickoff event.

What an honor it is to propose a toast to Cynthia!

I'm sure you have all heard many stories about her along the way. And it's stories like these and countless others that epitomize the wonderful nature and contribution that Cynthia has made to PAR.

We are indeed fortunate to have had the privilege of sharing Cynthia's expertise, work ethic, and commitment.  She has achieved countless goals and accolades -- too many to mention now.

Cynthia has left a remarkable legacy behind and one which will remain with us for years to come. She is leaving PAR a better place than when she found it, and that, in itself, will remain a lasting tribute to her professionalism.

We will miss our colleague, a consummate professional, a confidant, a friend, a wise counselor, a shoulder to lean on, a leader, and indeed a lady of note.

Remember us fondly and may the years that lie ahead be filled with laughter, happiness and even more dreams achieved. This is our wish for you as we say "so long," but not farewell.

-Vicki King, Executive Assistant to the Chairman and CEO

 

In addition to leading the best Customer Support Department in the test publishing industry,  Cynthia has been such an important part of  PAR’s annual United Way Campaign.  Not only has she been a faithful donor at the Leadership level, but she has also been a creative influence in the planning of fun-filled activities and unique decorations for PAR’s United Way week each September. We will miss her positive spirit, suggestions, and involvement as we plan future United Way activities. 

Cynthia with the Customer Service department during this year's United Way campaign.

“The capacity to care is the thing that gives life its deepest meaning and significance.” 

-Pablos Casals

Thanks to Cynthia for caring about her Customers, her fellow staff members, and her community!

-Cathy Smith, Vice President Community Relations

Cynthia, we wish you the best in retirement!

 
Bob and Cathy Smith with Cynthia during the early days at PAR. Congratulations on your retirement, Cynthia!

You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, she is retiring this Friday. Throughout the week, various members of PAR’s staff will share stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Cynthia on to her next chapter.

Cynthia taught me the “PAR way,” which is about doing things the right way—being friendly, reliable, and thorough.  She made sure that we always remember that Customer Service is our most important product. Keeping that goal in focus is vital to PAR’s success, and it’s what separates us from our competitors. Most importantly, she taught me that little details matter and the only perception that matters is the Customer’s perception.  Thanks for everything!

-Daniel McFadden, Manager of Customer Support

 

I knew from my first contact with Cynthia that I had encountered both an exceptional person and company. Although I have worked for less than a year in Cynthia’s department, I have enjoyed every moment together and am consistently astounded at how wonderful a team she has put together at PAR. I am confident her influence will continue to radiate through our team and the rest of the company. She will be missed dearly!

-Danielle Greer, Customer Support Specialist

 

Cynthia has shown me the true meaning of Customer Service. If our Customers are not happy, then we need to work on ways to fix it. I admire her dedication to our Customers and their satisfaction.

-Vicki McFadden, Permissions Specialist

 

In just a few days, I will be celebrating my 21st work anniversary at PAR. Without Cynthia, it won’t be the same. Cynthia has not only been my supervisor all this time, but she has been a source of encouragement, a shining example of professionalism, and a friend. In all this time, I have had the privilege of working for her, learning from her, and sharing with her in an effort to build and train a team that provides the best Customer Service in the test publishing industry. We will miss her so much, but will never forget what she has taught us. We remain committed to carrying on her legacy through our never-ending commitment to Customer Service.

-Tamara Dwoskin, Customer Service Quality Assurance Manager
Love our legendary Customer Service? You have Cynthia to thank!

You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, she is retiring this Friday. Throughout the week, various members of PAR’s staff will share stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Cynthia on to her next chapter.

 

Cynthia has taught me so many things, I don’t know where to begin! So, I’m just going to say that our Customers always come first to her, and she has taught this to every employee she has had.

Thank you for everything, Cynthia. I am going to miss you!

 -Marie Mitchell, Order Entry Coordinator (and has worked with Cynthia for 24 years!)

 

This is not a story, but there is a quote that I think Cynthia has taught not only her Customer Service team but all employees within the organization:

Customer Service is not a department…it’s everyone’s job!

She has taught me that it is important to always put the Customer’s needs first and to give people more than what they expect to get. I am forever grateful for all of her lessons. She will always play a vital role in the development of Customer Service representatives at PAR!

-Donna Drackett, Vice President/Chief Financial Officer

 

Cynthia taught me that no matter what, we’re here for the Customer. Everything we do in the company will affect the Customer in some way, and we have to think about that no matter what.

-Teri Lyon, MBA, Senior Technical Support Specialist
You may not know Cynthia Lumpee by name, but if you have ever ordered from PAR, you have felt her influence. Cynthia is PAR’s Vice President of Customer Service, and she has shaped the entire Customer experience with her focus on providing the very best service in the test publishing industry. After a 32-year career with the company, she is retiring this Friday. Throughout the week, various members of PAR’s staff will share stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Cynthia on to her next chapter.

Many things have changed at PAR, but Cynthia has been a constant for 32 years.

Cynthia was the fifth person to join PAR, and she has had an extraordinary 32-year career here. She joined PAR as a part-time office clerk in 1983. At that time, she described herself as a married tennis mom who was raising two young daughters. She became PAR's first Customer Service representative, then our Customer Service Manager, and finally Vice President of Customer Service. Along the way, she set the Customer Service standard for our entire industry and taught all the members of her team what the Customer Service experience should be.

We will be forever grateful for what she has contributed to PAR.

She is retiring in January as the longest-serving PAR family member but remains part of the PAR family forever.

-Bob Smith III, PhD, Chairman and CEO