Susan's 50th Anniversary Address
THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY ADDRESS
By Susan Long
Presented at DUI’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
November 16, 2013
Thanks, Dad. As usual, you’ve given me some big fins to fill.
As many of you probably know, I grew up here at DUI. My sisters and I used to come down on the weekends when we had the dive store and we’d buy moon pies out of the snack machine then go into one of the dressing rooms and pretend it was a space ship. When we got a little older, we’d like to hang out in Dad’s office because he had a speaker phone. One of the guys would call us and pretend he was Charlie and we were Charlie’s Angels. Then in high school my sister Kathy and I worked here. My first job was sewing and I personally made one of the first ever Thinsulate jumpsuits. Lucky for our customers I got my driver’s license and became the company courier.
I worked here in high school and just out of high school and then I left. I wanted nothing to do with scuba diving and nothing to do with the family business. Many of you know I went to work for Marriott Hotels & Resorts and I did really well, too, traveling around and living in Anaheim, New Orleans and Washington DC. And actually it was while in Washington DC in which things changed. Dad and his wife, Lee, went to Roatan on vacation and I met them there. That got me diving again. I had such a great time I ended up leaving Marriott and moving there to run a little resort. What an incredible experience. Yet after more than a year, I wanted to come back home to San Diego. So Dad let me come back to DUI – “temporarily” – while I figured out what I wanted to do.
I wasn’t here long before I realized what a special place DUI is. Our customers are amazing – they love diving and they truly appreciate that nothing lets them do that more than their DUI. And our employees – most of them are like family to me. I also remember the time when my Mom and Dad came home and they said we’ve lost everything. That we owed so much money that there was no way to fix it. But they did. It pretty much cost them everything, but they saved DUI. DUI is special. And I wanted it to go on.
So as Dad likes to say, I walked in one day and told him I was the best “man” he had to keep this place going and I wanted to run the company. So we made a plan. We both like to say that he had the first 40 years and I have the second 40.
It wasn’t easy. Like I said, I had some big fins to fill. I didn’t do any 1,000 foot dives. I didn’t design and install hot water systems in the North Sea. What was I going to bring to the party? So I had to find my own way. Dad and I have very different styles but we could not be more the same in our commitment to our company, our customers and our people. And with the support of the amazing team at DUI, I’m feeling pretty darn good with 11 years under my belt.
Where do we go from here? What do we do to ensure our viability into the future? We must continue to improve, innovate and design new products. We build the world’s best equipment right here in San Diego and will continue to build here. We must continue to get better and more efficient at everything we do. After all, we are in a world marketplace.
And the most important thing of all? It’s all about taking care of the customer and providing them with an exceptional experience. That’s our “secret sauce” here at DUI. It’s about giving customers something they can’t get anywhere else. It’s giving them US.
I’d like all of the DUI Team Members to please stand up and wave your hands. I want everyone here to see who you are. YOU are what makes DUI special. YOU are what makes DUI unique. People can try to copy our designs, our innovations and even our slogans – but they can’t copy YOU.
Thank you all for coming here today and celebrating this very special time with us. Thank you all for being part of our family and for taking part in our 50th Anniversary.
I also want to thank my Dad for giving me this amazing opportunity and incredibly strong shoulders on which to stand. Thanks, Dad. I absolutely can’t imagine doing anything else.
And so with that, I’d like you all to raise your glass with me for a toast. Here’s to a fabulous first 50 years and to the upcoming 50. Because you ain’t seen nothing yet!