Family & Friends Series

Sandy & Dan

By Ron Robbins,
edited by Frank Perry

2010 All rights reserved

Part Fifteen

Dunnlap Office Building

Sandy called his brother, "Hi, Pete, if it's alright with you, I would like to hold a meeting at your office tonight with all the people concerned with the Brian Neely saga. There will be five of us. Is your video conference equipment working?"

"Yep, it's working perfectly. Why do you ask?"

"If Mike Lee is free, I would like him to be in on our meeting."

"That is a good idea," Pete said. "Why don't you plan on having dinner with Penny and me at six and you can hold the meeting at seven. We'll keep Chip, Lloyd and Jeremy here after school. They can eat dinner with my kids tonight."

Sandy said, "Thanks, Pete, that would be great. Are you sure this is not placing a burden on Penny to have five people drop in for dinner on such short notice."

"Penny won't mind, she enjoys entertaining company. Anyway, I can charge the expenses off to your company."

Sandy chuckled, "Don't tell me you're saving for the kids' college fund? Last time I checked there was enough money in their college fund to put the next five generations through college. Speaking of college funds, my wealth management guy said we should not continue to add to the college fund. You might want to tell you financial guru about that. It would be smarter to add it to their trust fund."

"Thanks, bro, I'll look into that."

Sandy contacted Dan, Craig, Hal Golden and Mike Lee to let them know about the meeting. He told Dan and Craig that the boys would be staying with Pete after school and would come home after the meeting.

Dunnlap Plantation

Just before seven, Pete and Sandy were in the conference room adjusting the video satellite equipment and connecting to Mike Lee's office at the Retreat. Dan, Craig and Hal Golden and Pete were seated around the conference table. Sandy said, "I appreciate your taking the time this evening to sit in on this meeting, Mike. I know it's short notice but I thought you should be aware of the latest information I have on WorldCom." Sandy began by telling them of his meeting with Ryan Spenser and Murdoch McDonald, and the conversation they had with the President of Nippon Industries. He finished his briefing by explaining the joint venture he was forming with Ryan and Murdoch. "Gentlemen, I would like to hear your comments."

"Sandy," Mike asked, "did Ryan mention who made the presentation to Nippon?"

Sandy smiled, "None other than our own Brian Neely."

Mike said, "Great, now I have some solid ground to cover. I will need to speak to Nippon to learn the exact dates Brian met with them. I will be able to trace the records to prove he was there. Also, was Brian authorized to handle any business arrangements with Nippon Industries for Dunnlap Corp.?"

"I never authorized him to conduct any business transactions with Nippon," Sandy said. " Hal, did you have Brian contact Nippon for any reason?"

Hal said, "Absolutely not, Brad Stevens and our Purchasing Manager are the only people from our company that would have any reason to contact Nippon Industries."

Sandy said, "I spoke to our patent attorney this afternoon regarding our patents on the software and circuits we developed. He said that they were filed with the Patent Office over six months ago and everything is in order as far as he is concerned. I explained the problem to him and he said if someone copied our system, we can slap them with a law suit and demand that they cease and desist selling the system, and that we should be reimbursed for every system sold. Dan, is the new system ready to go to market?"

"Yes," Dan said, "Pete has been running the program for over a month now and I feel that we have corrected all the glitches in the system. The only part we have not been able to test is the new protein extraction system."

Sandy said, "I don't think that will present a major problem to our customers. My feeling is to start marketing our new package. I plan to meet with the marketing and advertising departments next week. Before we do that, we need Hal and Brad to test market the product to our top vendor. If we can get this product to market first we have a stronger case against anyone trying to sell the same product, or to claim it is their product."

"We'll give Nippon a chance to bid on this. Once we have everything pulled together, we can turn the marketing and advertising departments loose. We can use our existing technical support field people to handle the installation of the new system. They can adapt any existing production equipment in the field."

Hal said, "I think that's the best way to handle this, Sandy. We need to be careful that Brian doesn't get wind of this."

Sandy said, "You're right about that, Hal. Mike, will you have anything on Brian that I can take to my attorneys?"

Mike said, "I'll talk to Murdoch and Ryan tonight for their blessing to approach Frank Irving, the president of Nippon. I'm sure they will have no problem with that. If Murdoch and Ryan gave you their blessing, we are home free. Their word is their bond. They are both very ethical business men."

Sandy said, "Well, gentlemen, does anyone have anything to add before we adjourn this meeting?"

Pete said, "Look, Sandy, I did not expect to move this fast installing my new equipment. I had planned to have it installed in the new building, after Savage Engineering completed the construction of the prefab buildings. We already have the new equipment in our storage warehouse ready to install. If you feel that you need the new equipment installed to test run your software program, I can have it installed in the old plant and move the present equipment into the warehouse. It should not be a big deal to reinstall it in the new plant after the buildings are erected."

Sandy said, "That would be great, Pete, it would sure help us out. I'll tell you what, if you will do this, I will pay the cost of installing your new equipment and also any costs involved when you reinstall the equipment in your new plant."

Pete smiled, "You've got a deal, bro. Dan and I will meet with my plant engineering staff tomorrow."

Sandy said, "Does anyone have anything to add?" Everyone shook their head no. "Well, gentlemen, I want to again thank you for giving up your evening, but I think we have made some important decisions tonight and I feel much better about this whole situation now. Let's call it a night."

Sandy said, "Hal, we need to talk again tomorrow morning, I'll buy you a cup of coffee again."

Hal said, "I'll be in your office at eight o'clock tomorrow. Good night, all. Pete will you have your driver drop me off at the helicopter pad?"

Pete said, "Come on, I'll drive you myself." Hal and Pete left.

Sandy said, "Lets round up the boys and head home guys."

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Sandy awoke at four and quietly slipped out of bed, making sure he did not awaken Dan. He showered and dressed and was at his desk in the library by four-thirty. Dan walked into the library at 6:30, kissed Sandy and said," Good morning, lover, what time did you get up this morning?"

"I woke up several times this morning and decided I had enough when I woke up again at four. This always happens when I have a lot on my mind. Brian Neely has caused me to waste valuable time that I really don't have to waste. I know it's added additional time on your busy schedule sweetheart. I really appreciate your spending your time taking care of the boys. I know you have enough on your hands with Pete's project."

"You know I don't find it a burden at all," Dan said. "I enjoy taking care of the boys and I have a great group working with me on Pete's project. I enjoy adapting my software program to the production line. It's rewarding for me to see that all the hard work I put in creating this program is finally working out. As far as everything else, I enjoy being active and thrive on the diversity. I appreciate your letting me sit in on your meetings and to participate in your decision making process."

"Your opinions are important to me," Sandy said. "You have a talent in judging people; you were the first to bring Brian to my attention. Logically, it would never enter my mind that Brian would be stupid enough to think of leaving this company, when his future was assured. He will live to regret his error in judgment. Craig will be leaving with me this morning; he will be working at the office from now on. He'll be training Jim Watson to take over the European operation. Jim tentatively accepted my offer yesterday. He was planning on telling his wife last night. I feel that she will be just as happy as Jim with the promotion. She is very supportive of Jim's career. He's a competent executive and will do well running that operation. Would you mind working with Alex Savage on the renovation of the children's wing?"

Dan said, "I will be happy to handle that project. I think I would like to talk to Penny and your sister for their input on decorating the wing. I'm sure their feminine touch will be will be helpful."

"That's a good idea," Sandy said. "I received several resumes from the Agency for the nurse and the male nanny positions. I'll make copies for you so we can review them and decide on which candidates we want to interview. We need to hire the male nanny, ASAP."

"I agree," Dan said, "that should be our top priority. With the three of us working now, I'll need someone to supervise the boys all the time, while we are at work. I realize their security team has helped a great deal, but they need to keep alert, and they can't do an effective job watching the kids. I'll review the resumes today and let you know my opinion."

"That would be a great help, Dan. When we have the new nanny on board, it will relieve you of running around with them."

"It is not too bad right now," Dan said, "while the three boys are in school. Ludlow lays out their clothes in the morning and is there to make sure they have the right clothes for the sporting activities. But, it's when they are on vacation that they'll need to be supervised. They're great kids, but boys will be boys."

"This is true," Sandy said, "but so far they all seem to be getting along together, and appear to be adjusting to living here. I'm glad they enjoy living in this country. They told me that they really enjoy their new school, and are still excited about owning their own horses, and being able to use the pool every day. I think Jeremy has helped them to adjust. They confide in him about our slang and the lingo the boys use over here. I'm amazed how quickly they've adjusted. Dan, there is a project that I started several years ago that is starting to bear fruit. I would like you to take over."

Dan said, "You know I will be happy to help in any way I can."

"Thanks, baby."

Sandy explained his special project to Dan. "I began this project several years ago. I realized that in order for my company to grow in the software end of the business, I would need to attract creative new talent capable of creating new software ideas and programs. There are many able companies competing against us in developing new products."

"You know how long it takes to develop a new software program that is ahead of the field. My competitors are doing the same thing, and are trying to recruit the new engineers from the available talent pool like everyone else. We all recruit on college campuses and follow the technical trade journals to find those few geniuses to hire before our competitors."

"Pete and I kicked this around for some time until I hit on an idea that I felt would work for my company. Instead of concentrating my efforts on the college campuses, I felt that we should start earlier in Junior and Senior high schools to find our future talent."

"I knew after talking this over with my mother and sisters, that it was not going to be a slam-dunk. Mother pointed out all the legal hurdles that could arise in signing up young kids and their parents. My sister pointed out the physiological problems in dealing with young teenagers, with all the normal problems that a teenager has to deal with. Then, there was a matter of putting together a staff, and a course of study, to help and monitor the progress of each student. My educational consultants thought that we would be making a serious mistake in moving any student from his present location to the private school that I planned to build here in Dunnlap."

"After many months of debate and study, we came up with two programs. One program would place a promising student on a waiting list. If they continued to show progress, we would enroll the student candidate when he or she was ready. They were to remain in their home environment, but if they showed progress, they would be transferred to an accelerated special school near their home. The second program would require the student candidate to relocate to an exclusive private boarding facility in Dunnlap."

"As each student completed two years of high school, they were transferred to our prep school. After graduating prep school, they were enrolled in one of our approved colleges to continue their studies. Of course, we paid for all their expenses. However, before they entered college, the student and their parents had to sign a contract agreeing to work for Dunnlap for five years after graduation. It is the same agreement a cadet signs when he is accepted by any of the military academies. The contract stipulates that if they refuse to join our company they are required to reimburse us for their education costs, and cannot accept a job with our competitors."

"Five years ago, I began the program. I recruited a team of software engineers, teachers and HR people to concentrate on any student that had talent in the electronics and software areas. They sent advertising and promotional flyers to every science and engineering teacher from the Jr. and Sr. technical and prep schools in the country. The response was encouraging but not as rewarding as we had hoped. We received a lot of wanna-bes and dreamers. Yet, along with the chaff, we found a number of above average students that fit the bill. We did follow-up with those students and found about 20 young, creative students that entered the program. Next year, five students will be graduating college and will enter the company. We have been monitoring their progress and are very impressed with all of them."

"That is a very progressive program and I can see how it would benefit the company." Dan chuckled, "How come I never received a flier for your company?"

Sandy smiled and said, "I don't know, but I know Georgia Tech was one of the University's contacted. I personally feel that you would be the right person to handle this program. You have the background and the talent to take on the project."

"I have no qualms in taking on this project," Dan said, "if you feel that it's that important to you. But you realize that if I do take it on, I will need to scale back some of the company projects I had planned to work on. Making sure the children are taken care of is my first priority, and of cours,e my projects with Pete. I don't want to let him down."

Sandy said, "I realize that the kids and Pete are a priority, and I still want you to sit in on the Board meetings, but I don't want you to back off on the other projects you were planning to work on. I would like you to be flexible and not get bogged down on any new projects that will require a lot of your time. The student development program is a separate corporation from the Dunnlap Corporation. Very few people know of its existence, and I would like to keep it that way for now. I own the firm outright and would like you to take over as President of that firm; it will be your baby from now on."

Dan smiled and said, "I'll be glad to take over the group, and you don't have to make me President. I'll do it because you asked me, sweetheart."

"Thank you, Dan, but I want you to run the show. You make any changes you think necessary to keep the program up and running. After I get home from the office tonight, I need to let you know the latest news from Murdoch and Ryan on the WorldCom and Nippon Industry project."

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Sandy and Dan were relaxing in the sitting room that evening, when Sandy said, "I wanted to tell you what a nice couple Murdoch and Ryan are. They are planning to have us over to their estate to spend a long weekend with them, and to meet their family. They have nine children and four more babies on the way. Murdoch adopted his cousin's four children after the sudden death of his cousin from a stroke. He has three boys and a girl ranging in ages from 3 to 12 years old. Ryan on the other hand has legal custody of his step-brothers and sisters in addition to his brother-in-law. They range in age from 3 to 16 years old. He has a staff of professional people taking care of them. I didn't have a chance to meet the children and that is why they would like us to bring our kids over to meet them. Murdoch and Ryan think that we have a lot in common, and they would like to compare our parenting skills. I personally think it is a good idea since we are all about the same age. For sure, they both are wealthy in their own right."

"That's great idea, Sandy, it would be nice to cultivate them as friends. They would need a large staff for nine children plus another four on the way. It's nice they have all those children to leave their fortune to when they pass on. I think we all can share some of our parenting ideas. Since we are going to be in business together, it should work out well. We'll have a lot in common to share."

Sandy said, "I feel guilty in not spending more time with the boys. Thank goodness they have you to take care of them. What would you think of spending a long weekend on the sailboat? I know I gave it to Pete, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind us spending four days sailing south. I'm sure that Pete and his boys would be happy to join us. I don't think our boys have ever been sailing before; it should be fun. What do you say, baby?"

Dan said, "I think that would be great. I know the boys will jump at the chance to go sailing. Why don't you call Pete to see if we can go this weekend? We can fly over early Thursday morning and return Sunday evening."

"I'll do that right now." Sandy picked up his cell phone and dialed Pete. "Hello, brother, I have a favor to ask of you."

Pete chuckled and said, "I'm afraid to ask what it is?"

Sandy said, "You're going to like this idea, and it won't hurt at all. Dan and I would like to borrow your yacht and take a short four-day vacation. We would like you and the boys to join us, if you can. Our boys have never been sailing and I though this would be a treat for them."

Pete said, "When did you want to plan this excursion?"

"We were thinking of doing it this weekend."

"That is fine with me, but I had better clear this with Penny before I say yes about the boys and me. You know she doesn't like them to taking time away from school."

"I know," Sandy said. "Your boys are so darn smart they don't have to worry about missing a few days of classes. My kids are already ahead of the other kids in their classes. So I don't mind taking them out for a few days."

Pete said, "I would really like the boys to go with you, but if Penny is against it, you and your gang are welcome to use the yacht."

"Seriously though," Sandy said, "I think this trip will be good for all of us. We all need to take a few days off before this WorldCom thing hits the fan. I won't have the time once that happens."

Pete said, "Give me a few hours to sweet talk Penny into letting the boys and me go."

"Okay, let me know as soon as you can, because I need to have the chef plan for a four day trip, and Dan needs to let the school know that we are taking our boys out of classes for Thursday and Friday."

Pete said, "I'll let you know tomorrow. Thanks for thinking about us; later, bro."

"Good luck with Penny," Sandy said, finishing his call.

Dan said, "I think Penny will allow the boys to go. She likes to see the twins interact with other kids and this will get them out of their rut."

"I hope you are right, sweetheart. I had better find out if Craig would like to join us this weekend. I'll be back in a few minutes."

Sandy walked down to Craig's suite. "Craig, Dan and I are taking four days off this weekend to do a little sailing. Pete and his boys should be joining us. We plan to take Lloyd, Chip and Jeremy along, if you don't mind. I wanted to know if you would like to join us."

Craig said, "I'm sure the boys would enjoy the trip, but count me out. I appreciate the offer, but I'm not a good sailor, and I don't feel the rocking of the boat is good for my equilibrium. The best place for me is here at home."

Sandy said, "I never thought that the rocking motion of the boat would be a problem, but I guess it would. Sorry about that, Craig."

Craig chuckled, "I appreciate your offer, but in all honesty, even if I was in perfect health, I loathe sailing and all small boats. Now, I may consider a cruise on your new ship. That would be nice."

"I plan to have you and my family on board for her maiden voyage when she is refitted," Sandy said.

Craig said, "I'll look forward to that cruise."

"Well, I'm off, Craig; I'll see you at breakfast, tomorrow."

♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦

Sandy and Dan had an early breakfast the next morning and walked down the hall to their office. Dan asked, "Do you have time to review the candidates I selected for the children's staff?"

"Let's discuss the candidates you've selected. I know you're anxious to pass them over to our security manager so he can check them out."

Dan said, "Margaret Taylor is the candidate I would like to hire for the children's Staff Director. She has a Master's degree in Child Education and a degree in Psychology. She has twelve years experience as administrator of a private daycare school, and comes highly recommended. She is married to a computer systems analyst that will relocate with her to Dunnlap. I've interview her and I think she would be ideal for the position. I talked to Brad Stevens and he said that there was always room for a good systems analyst in his group. The candidate I selected for the boys is Joe Hutchinson. He has a background as a Health Education coach with a Master's degree in Education. For the past six years he was PE director of the Haden School for boys and also has good references. I like him and I think he was the best candidate I interviewed. He is divorced and has no problem in relocating to Dunnlap. The candidate I selected for the babies was the supervisor for pediatric nurses at Parkland Women's Hospital. She is divorced and has twelve years experience in her field, and has a degree in Pediatric Nursing from Emory University. She is tired of the pressure and long hours at Parkland and is looking for private duty nursing. As I said, I have interviewed all three candidates and think they will be ideal for our children."

Sandy said, "They all sound right for the positions. If you liked them, then that is enough for me. Why don't you turn them over to security to have them checked out. You'll need to get together with my HR director to work out salary packages for them. His department can draw up the offers and make sure they know our benefits and relocation packages in addition to all the rules and regulations."

"I'll take care of that today, Sandy. I would like to have Margaret and Joe on board as soon as possible. Margaret can evaluate each of the boys to make sure they are receiving the right educational programs. I want her to make sure the boys are getting the correct training and have a balanced program that does not put them in any undue pressure for their overall activities and education. She can also help direct Joe to coordinate the daily activities for the boys."

"Great, Dan, it looks like you've got everything under control. I'm glad that our staff will be in place in the near future. Pete called earlier to let me know that he and the boys will be ready to leave Thursday morning, so our mini vacation is on. I've already told the chef to fly over on Wednesday to stock the galley with the provisions he will need for the trip. Pete will talk to the captain. This will be the first time we will be sailing with the new crew."

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To be continued
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