For most people, a job offer signals validation, respect and the hope of new beginnings. It’s exciting to know someone feels you are worth the investment, regardless of whether you take the job. For Karl Kingsley, his most recent job offer meant more than this – it meant redemption.
Karl worked at ADEC for 40 years, from 1972 to 2012. When he started out, he was in a position similar to today’s ADEC Industries Group Leaders at ADEC’s parent agency, Aux Chandelles, before the merger that formed the organization we are today. He was a high school math teacher who had taken some time to study at the Mennonite seminary, and he was in search of a position that met his varied strength areas.
His path to landing this job wasn’t easy. He had five interviews, and he scored seriously low on a psychological test the CEO believed was the key to hiring good employees.
“They called me after I took the test asked, ‘If you took it again, would you answer the questions the same way?'” Karl remembers. He assured them he would, as they voiced their doubts over his score. “I always liked that their ‘ideal person’ who had scored the best only lasted a year or two.”
Once Karl was in, he was all in. He soon joined forces with ADEC legend Cary Kelsey as the agencies merged and he and Cary held similar positions. They worked with clients in both classrooms and on the floor, teaching employment skills, as well as academics. Eventually, it became evident to their supervisor both of these men had management potential and were going places at ADEC.
He called them into his office and said, “I need one of you to work in the industrial side as a manager, and I need the other one to focus more on educational things. I don’t care who does what. You decide.”
With that, he left Cary and Karl to make the decision together. Both of them remember it is a career-defining moment where they each knew immediately where they wanted to focus their efforts.
“My life’s mission helping people,” Karl explained of his passion for the work. “But I like working with my hands. I majored in and taught math prior to ADEC. This job was such a good match in every way for me.”
For 40 years, Karl grew and worked at ADEC Industries, forming it into the place it is today. He managed engineering and sales for AI for the bulk of his career. He developed bids, conducted time studies for jobs, created processes and meted pay.
“In 40 years, I don’t remember a bad day here,” Karl said.
In 2012, this work came to a sudden halt as Karl began to have headaches and just didn’t feel like himself any more. His wife and friends finally brought him to the emergency room.
“The ER said it was a brain tumor,” Karl remembers. “They didn’t know what kind it was until it came out. It was the worst kind. The doctor said it’s considered terminal, and most patients don’t survive two years. I did radiation and chemo, but, well, I didn’t die. I’m still here.”
For a while there, Karl thought his best days were behind him. Treatments left him weak and feeling ill most of the time, and his diagnosis hung heavy. He spent time with his wife, Karen, and tried to enjoy his children and grandchildren.
But, from time to time, there was a nagging thought about his work at ADEC that had come to a sudden halt. He had no chance to wrap things up or share any of those details you collect in a lifetime spent in one position.
Five years after his diagnosis, Karl is feeling good.
“Some people may experience things on a new level [after cancer], but I had a very good life before, and I’m having a very good life now,” Karl shared.
As of December, Karl is back at what he calls his “second home.” He’s serving as a consultant for ADEC Industries on a part-time basis, sharing from his rich store of experiences and knowledge as ADEC navigates changing legislation and new jobs for ADEC Industries workers.
In Karl’s office, time studies lay scattered open as he researches processes, takes phone calls and works out of his old files. He’s clearly in his element.
“Coming back here is . . . I don’t know what the word is I’m looking for,” Karl pauses and thinks for a moment before smiling as he says, “Redemption.”
Photo by Rod Tackett | Communications Specialist