When you reach a certain age, your friends start to retire. Every group of friends has a guy (or a girl, as the case may be) who is the “pioneer”—the first to retire. He or she reports back to the circle of friends on how it feels. What Medicare and Social Security is like to experience on your own. How you fill your days. Sleeping in. Going to the coffee shop with your fellow retirees. Working on all the projects, hobbies, and activities that you’ve been putting off for the many, many years. My friends started to retire a few years ago and they describe retirement in fairly glowing terms ranging from “not that bad” to “the best part of my life.” It’s a weird feeling—something akin to realizing that it snuck up on you. But I’m at that point in my life where friends retire.
And of course, when WORK friends retire, there’s the whole dynamic of what will work be like without your friend. Will it still be as much fun? Will you stay connected or will you miss the regular coffee breaks, the phone calls, the work trips, and the regular interaction with someone that has been an integral part of your life—not just your work life, but your life in general.
My good friend Jim Moyer retires this month from HQAA. Director of Survey Quality, Jim has been with HQAA almost since Day One. He was my first “recruit” back in the day when I was tasked with finding some surveyors to help inspect our beta site customers and the first few dozen DME organizations that signed up with the then-fledgling accreditation agency. HQAA was the new kid in town in the accreditation world, and Jim was one of the pioneers who put the reputation on the name and helped brand HQAA as customer focused, helpful, consultative, and efficient. That was about fifteen years ago (IMPOSSIBLE—SOMETIMES PAINFUL—TO BELIEVE!).
My friendship with Jim predated HQAA and went back to meeting him as a consulting customer for a friend’s DME organization. My friend owned a DME and made the smart choice to put Jim in charge of accreditation. Jim became my contact person for the project, which spanned a couple months, multiple Ohio locations, and countless road trips, coffee stops, and working dinners. I was extremely impressed by his attention to detail, how quick he could learn something new, and what excellent people skills he had. More importantly, over the course of that project, we became fast friends. And have stayed friends ever since.
Jim puts his stamp, his name, his brand, his work ethic, and his friendly demeaner into and onto every project he tackles. Whether its work related, community service related (he’s a fixture in his local United Way), projects around his beautiful piece of property in Ashtabula Ohio, or simply helping friends and family, Jim’s 100% there, 100% engaged, and 100% quality. I quite simply have never met anyone with all the attributes it takes to succeed or help others succeed rolled into one: the tenacity to finish a project, the integrity to do it right, and the optimism to take a project on in the first place. That he is titled “Director of Survey Quality” is about as apt a title as ever existed.
Jim was around as an assistant director for many years, and his list of accomplishments at HQAA include devising scoring tools and documentation forms, establishing an on-line library of resources for surveyors, mentoring and training new surveyors, managing far flung projects ranging from scheduling to customer service to maintaining staff competency. As director, he weathered staffing ups and downs, a global pandemic, and vast changes in the DME industry in which he spent his career. All with a calm, focused, and friendly disposition.
Jim’s wife—who he rightfully describes as a saint—will be glad to have him home. They enjoy two wonderful sons, daughters in law, a host of grandkids, and a nice little farm with a quaint pond with a cabin on it. His kids, his community, and his local friends will all be glad to have him home. We’re glad for them and glad for him that he’ll be there, but HQAA customers, staff, and especially the surveyors that he worked so directly with, will all miss him big time.
Jim: enjoy retirement. And stay in touch—especially with your buddy 50 miles south.
I searched through countless pictures of Jim and I to find one that encapsulated our friendship. There are pictures of us from all over the country, at trade shows, vacationing with our wives, traveling together for work, in Iowa, Ohio, and everywhere in between. The one that I thought showed Jim’s true spirit is this one.
Jim and I were scheduled to do training in Iowa. I don’t remember the year, but it was quite a while ago. I got sick and ended up in the hospital. I called Jim from the hospital to let him know I couldn’t go on the trip. Jim’s immediate concern was me. Was I going to be okay? How long would I be in the hospital? Did my wife Mary need anything? What could he do to help?
Before he headed to Iowa to do the training, Jim had to come down and make sure I was okay. A few hours later, he and his wife showed up at the hospital. The visit was a pure, unselfish act typical of Jim. It made me feel a lot better. Knowing you have a friend like Jim has that effect on a person.