After nearly 29 years of hard work and devoted service, Barbara Holty, senior AP/AR accountant, will be retiring from PAR this week.
Barb’s attention to detail, willingness to put in extra time and effort, and commitment to excellence pale in comparison to her incredible thoughtfulness, unending kindness, and extreme warmth. Barb will truly be missed here at PAR. Below, we share a few stories as we send Barb on to her well-deserved next step.
Donna Drackett, executive vice president and chief financial officer: I have many stories about Barb, but two stand out. My very first day at PAR, I was sitting in my office reviewing some new employee documentation. Barb stepped in my office and shared with me, “Honey, the girls and I were talking and we wanted to let you know that amongst the five of us, we have over 75 years of experience at PAR.” Truth is, there is nothing I had to worry about in my new role, as my team had done it all and had everything covered! I was blessed beyond belief to come into a department with so much experience!
Years ago, I received a call from a Customer. One of the many things that Barb was responsible for throughout the years was collections on our accounts receivable. When Customers were past due, Barb had the fun job of reaching out to obtain payment status. A Customer (who was in collections) called me to share that Barb was the nicest person that had ever worked with her to collect an outstanding accounts receivable. Not many collections specialists receive compliments or appreciation—but knowing how Barb treated everyone with the utmost respect, it didn’t surprise me!
Barb has been such an important team member for so many incredible years. We are sad to see her go, but pray that her future endeavors are filled with abundant blessings—more than she could ever imagine! Enjoy every second of retirement!
Sue Trujillo, clinical assessment developer: With Barb’s attention to detail, my data collectors were always paid promptly!
Terri Sisson, educational assessment advisor: Barb, as a new employee, you were always there to help me when I had a question or needed guidance. I appreciate your patience and support over the past year. I wish you the happiest of retirements. You deserve it!
Tamara Dwoskin, customer relationship manager: I am proud to say that I have worked with Barb for over a quarter of a century. To me, she is a friend, confidant, and one of the vital members of our PAR family. Barb is one of my very favorite people because she is not only one of the strongest people I know, but also one of the most caring and devoted to her families—both at home and at work. Not a day has gone by that I do not admire her professionalism, her always matching outfits, her pleasant demeanor, and her “hum” while you work or take a break mentality. Despite any struggles, whether they were business or personal, Barb has always been one of the first people to come to me concerned and wanting to talk—really just wanting to make sure that I was alright. We have shared joy and heartache during our time here, but she never lost sight of being there for me and I will never forget that. Always one of the first to say “Hi, sweetie,” or “Are you OK, sweetie?” It’s in that genuine interest in being there for all of us, and being the best version of herself she can be, while making sure that the company bills get paid completely and on time, that I can truly say there will never be anyone I work with quite like her. I will miss Barb so much, but she deserves the most wonderful retirement possible, in good health, and surrounded by the love of her adoring family.
Frank Filippone, copywriter/project manager: Barb, your presence here at PAR will be very much missed. You always have a warm smile and a kind word for everyone you encounter and I mean always—you make all of us feel welcome and at ease, and that’s no easy task. Thanks for all you do and best wishes as you begin your next adventure!
Melissa Messer, director of product development: My most memorable account of Barb was from about 15 years ago. I was getting married and unsure yet if I was going to change my last name. She needed to order a new credit card for me—I think she was converting the entire company’s credit cards at the time, so it was a big project. She called me to confirm my name change. I shared my ambivalence with her about changing my name and she stayed on the phone with me for about 15 minutes talking through the pros and cons. She mentioned that if I had kids, they would not have the same name—which was something I had not even thought about, and ended up being the deal breaker for me. This story represents Barb’s kind heartedness in taking the time to talk through a personal issue, but also represents the hard worker and task master that she is—we were not getting off the phone until she had what she needed!
Robert Bossio, senior software developer: I hope you enjoy every day as if it were a vacation day. Congratulations on your retirement! It was a pleasure working with you.
Jamie Goland, senior editor/digital content manager: As a remote employee, I don’t get to see Barb as often as I would like. But every time I’m in the office, I always make sure to swing by the accounting department for a quick visit. Barb always takes the time out of her busy day to chat, ask about my family, and catch up. Barb, I wish you all the happiness in the world in retirement (though I’d be totally thrilled if you decided to change your mind and stay).
Nancy Fazioli, sales operations coordinator: Every year, Barb headed up the walk to raise money for juvenile diabetes. She always prepared lunch for the walkers the day before the race to thank them for walking.
Daniel McFadden, director of customer support: In a company that is filled with kind and friendly people, Barb has always been one of the kindest. She has a full-body laugh that just cannot be faked. I've enjoyed trying to make her laugh over the many years we’ve worked together. Although I'm very sad I won’t get to see her every day, I’m very happy that she’ll be getting to spend more time with her family. I wish her all the best!
Kristin Greco, chief executive officer: When I think of Barb, her smile and cheerful greeting are always what come first to mind. I can hear her saying “Hi, sweetie! How is your day?” She is always festive for each holiday—showing her warmth and spirit for celebrating. She is so dedicated to her family—always gushing over her daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Her warmth and loving spirit will certainly be missed here by her PAR family. She is a ray of sunshine to each day.
Barb, you will be missed by your PAR family, but we wish you the very best in retirement!
A photo of Barbara Holty from early on in her career at PAR.
The staff at PAR is known for its generosity, volunteerism, and love of animals. These three traits tied together March 23 at Bark in the Park, an annual fundraiser for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay held in downtown Tampa.
The event featured a variety of animal-themed events, games, and vendors and culminated in a Walk for the Animals along Tampa’s picturesque River Walk. The PAR team, known as the PARty Animals, was this year’s second-highest fundraising pack. Several pack members brought family and fur-friends in support of the event, and one pack member even adopted a new member of the family!
Overall, nearly 100 teams and more than 450 participants helped the Humane Society exceed its Bark in the Park goal by raising nearly $150,000. Those funds will be used to house, heal, and help rehome thousands of local animals.
One of PAR’s core tenets is to give back to the community, and our employees frequently donate their time and resources to help local organizations like the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Learn more.
PAR has a long and proud tradition of giving back to the communities we serve through donations of time and financial support. This is something we do not only during the holiday season, but all year long.
Here’s a look back at some of the events and organizations our company and employees supported in 2018.
January: Announced the recipient of our fourth annual Pay-it-Forward campaign, where select Customers choose an organization to receive a $5,000 donation. The charity selected by our Customers was Prevent Child Abuse America.
February: PAR employees participated in the annual Cup of Compassion breakfast, a fund-raising event that benefits the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
March: PAR employees volunteered for Camp Circle of Love, a no-cost annual weekend retreat for children in Hillsborough county ages 6 to 18 years who have experienced the death of a loved one.
For the 7th year in a row, the PAR team was named Top Dog at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s annual Bark in the Park fundraising event.
April: PAR staff participated in and donated to fundraising walks supporting Southeastern Guide Dogs and Autism Speaks. In addition, several PAR employees spent their lunch hour volunteering at Trinity Café, a restaurant in Tampa that serves free hot lunches to those in need.
June: PAR employees and their families took to the lanes to raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association during our annual Bowling for Hearts event.
August: Another group of PAR employees volunteered to serve lunch at Trinity Café, providing over 200 free hot lunches to those in need.
September: PAR’s annual United Way Week took place and for the 21st consecutive year, 100% of PAR staff contributed. Employees raised over $93,000 to benefit United Way Suncoast and their partner agencies. With PAR’s matching contribution, a total of just under $140,000 will help make a difference in the lives of so many.
October: A group of PAR staffers attended Tuxes & Tails, the premier annual fundraiser for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Other employees participated in United Way Suncoast’s Day of Caring by volunteering to clean and organize warehouse space for Metropolitan Ministries, an agency that cares for the homeless and those at risk.
November: PAR had employees take part in two different fundraising events: the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and the to Stop Soldier Suicide Veteran’s Day 5K. Also, PAR staff met with students from the Hillsborough County PACE Center for Girls to announce winners of PAR’s annual Holiday Card Contest, in which an original design drawn by one of the girls is used on PAR’s annual holiday cards.
December: PAR held its annual Angel Trees event. Trees are placed in our lobby and we coordinate with local charities to decorate the trees with ornaments listing gifts for local children in need. PAR staff members then choose ornaments and donate gifts to the children. This year we worked with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Redland’s Christian Migrant Association, and Heart Gallery of Tampa to provide help to nearly 150 children.
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.
At the end of this year, Kay Cunningham will be retiring after 26 years at PAR. Kay joined PAR in 1991 as Chief Financial Officer 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. Throughout the next week, we will be sharing stories, memories, and well wishes as we send Kay on to her next chapter.
Kay is an amazing person—she is a wonderful blend of a strong, ambitious business woman while also being very caring and funny, too. She is one of the first to have a funny joke to share—and is often found talking about the recent football games (especially if it involves Alabama). She is courageous, too—I cannot imagine spending all those years sailing around the world like she did. It must have been an amazing experience but certainly not one for the weak! For me, Kay was an integral part of my learning of PAR and my development into my current role. She has always been there to provide advice or just be a listening ear. She approaches issues very thoughtfully and is not shy to share her opinion—a wonderful combination. I have such respect for Kay and all her contributions to PAR. It has been such a pleasure to work with her over the years. She will be greatly missed though I can only imagine what wonderful adventures, jokes, and good times await her. —Kristin Greco, Chief Executive Officer
In the 11 years I have worked for PAR, Kay has taught me what it means to be professional, to get to the heart of the matter by asking lots of questions, and to be flexible and resilient in business. She has taught this just by example—not by telling or by instructing, but by simply being a leader and allowing me to observe her over the years. I will miss her openness and sense of humor so much! —Erika Thompson, Manager of Production
Kay has been a great example of the wonderful leadership at PAR. She will be dearly missed by all. Her smile and laugh are infectious and her baking delicious. Best wishes for a relaxing and enjoyable retirement! —Vicki McFadden, Permissions Specialist
The greatest thing I learned from Kay over the years is how important it is to fully understand a situation before making a decision. She’s always asking questions and getting more information. Despite being in such an important position, she was never embarrassed to admit when she didn’t know something. I’ve also always been amazed at how much she knows about so many different topics! But most importantly, she is an amazing listener. No matter how trivial your problem was or how busy she was, she always made time. —Daniel McFadden, Manager of Customer Support
Kay, you have been such a valuable asset to PAR over the years! Your contributions to the overall strategy and daily operation of PAR, and the guidance you have provided to managers and staff will be sorely missed. I’ve learned a great deal from you, from how to look at a certain situation from a different perspective, to questioning things that just don’t seem to fit. And coming from someone who can never remember a joke from beginning to end, your humor is enlightening and envious. You have truly passed on to the rest of us the knowledge that devotion to Customers and understanding their needs is what keeps us in business. I wish you the best in your future endeavors. Retirement will surely offer you many new opportunities, which I know you will embrace wholeheartedly. —Vicki King, Executive Assistant to the CEO and Executive Chairman
Having working directly with Kay for 11+ years, I will genuinely miss her leadership, encouragement, and knowledge. I will sincerely miss her! —Lottie Zack, Senior Administrator
From an internal perspective, Kay is an editor’s best friend, always responding to review items quickly and, 95% of the time, before anyone else has read them! She is such a genuinely nice person and always has a smile for everyone. She will be sorely missed! —Frank Filippone, Copywriter/Project Manager
I’ve worked with Kay for over 25 years! She became my supervisor many years ago and has helped me develop into the manager I am today. She always provides great advice and has helped pass her knowledge on to me. You’ve been a great friend and mentor over the years! Thanks for all your contributions to PAR and the DC!! Congratulations on a well-deserved retirement. Best wishes! —Greg Presson, Vice President of Distribution
I remember interviewing with Kay almost 13 years ago as she was transitioning from the CFO to COO. I have been fortunate to have had her leadership and guidance throughout my entire tenure at PAR. As she moved up in the organization, she has provided support to me in her “old” role and I am forever grateful for all of the lessons that I have learned. Her presence will be missed at PAR but her legacy will live on in all that we do! —Donna Drackett, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Come back over the next week as we share more well wishes!