I mentioned Phil Hauck in yesterday’s VIAL to Jim Rivett. Phil and I met when he was leading the Healthy Lifestyles Cooperative in Green Bay. It was an extraordinary initiative that brought together hundreds of employers into the first, wellness-lead insurance co-operative that I had ever seen and perhaps one of the first in the country. To pull something like that together takes a highly trusted and well-liked person with tenacity, commitment and passion. And that pretty much sums up Phil.

After Phil and I knew each other for a while and I had spoken at a few HLC events, Phil invited me to speak to his TEC (The Executive Committee) group. I had never heard of TEC, but I accepted without much thought based on knowing Phil. That was seven years ago, and since that time I’ve become a regular speaker for TEC groups (and now Vistage), and have joined a Vistage Group myself here in Chicago. It’s a world and a family of people that I might never have known about or become a part of without the kind invitation from Phil.

However, my VERY INTENTIONAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF LOVE goes to Phil because of the hours he spent giving me advice about our business.

Not just in his role as a member of my advisory board, but on calls and over dinners at St. Brennan’s Inn. For nearly a decade, Phil has not just been a good friend and a trusted advisor, but a wise sage on everything from marketing, to presentation skills, to business strategy and life in general.

Phil, thanks for all the lessons, the good times spent together, the risks you took on me and my business and the countless hours you’ve spent thinking about the many questions I’ve sent you over the years. Thank you also for all the people I’ve met through you. Jim Rivett and all the people at Arketype that I wrote about in a previous VIAL, Sherry Freeman who worked with you at the HLC, your TEC members and, of course, your wonderfully inspiring daughter Katie McClure (we just got to meet in person this last week in Portland and, unusually for a first meeting, we both shed a few tears, a lot of smiles and head shakes and I left very grateful to have met her).

I hope we continue to spend time together and remain friends for years to come.