1st Annual Jack Brooks Law Cypress Reunion BBQ

This past Saturday, June 14th, Brandee and I along with our good friend Natalie hosted the 1st Annual Jack Brooks Law Cypress Reunion BBQ at Vasona Lake Park.  The collection of great people and conversation was simply amazing!  I cannot thank everyone enough for their participation.

david sign
The group was outstanding and was well-representative of the great culture of our Company.  I am so personally proud to have such sincere and long-standing friendships with these people.  Therefore, I would like to highlight some of the fantastic new memories from this event:

A blast from the past – Early days of Law Cypress (Randy Savoy)

savoyA true testament of the great Law Cypress spirit is embodied in a long-time former employee, Randy Savoy.  Randy was the engineering manager even before I started at the Company in 1989.  He is absolutely a wonderful person and overall great guy.  He attended the BBQ with his son, Peter, who it was a great privilege to meet.  At the BBQ Randy shared some hilarious stories from long-ago which really helped to establish a fantastic story-sharing environment.

Although many of us hadn’t seen Randy in-person for many, many years, immediately when he showed up it was just like the old days when we were laughing, sharing stories and having an overall great time.

The longest distance traveled award (Mike Heiden)

mikeTraveling the longest distance to attend the 1st Annual Jack Brooks Law Cypress (LC) Reunion award goes to….drum roll please…..Mike Heiden who drove all the way up from Los Angeles to attend the event!

Mike is the epitome of friends and family for LC.  I personally knew Mike long before he became a LC employee and he was great fun.  I’m glad to report, after not seeing him in a long time, he has built a fabulous life for himself.  Brandee and I, as well as the others at the BBQ I’m sure, seriously enjoyed the conversations with Mike.  It was sincere, refreshing and funny.  Thanks Mike for making the long trip this year!  Next year you are going to have a serious challenge to your longest-distance-traveled award I’m sure.

Comic relief (Carol and Jenny)

carol_jennyAnother great memory from the event was Carol and Jenny, Kylie and Kaylee.  These diva’s know how to rock-the-house and they did not disappoint!  As everyone knows Carol and Jen are the core of the Law Cypress family.  It’s amazing to see that as more things change, the more things stay the same.  And this is certainly the case with our dear friend, Carol.


Going the extra mile (Bob Utley)

25yohThe incredible success of Law Cypress was certainly due to the fact that we had a great bunch of hard working people but a huge part of our success was also because of our terrific partners.  One person in particular that was an extremely important part of the Companies success was Bob Utley of Fujitsu.  Bob is best known for his charming personality and amazing magic talents but he also has fantastic business acumen.

It was a great pleasure to get to spend some time with Bob and his wife, Elisabeth, reminiscing about all the terrific times we’ve enjoyed together.  A very special treat at the BBQ was Bob performing several magic tricks for the children.  Although the target audience was the kids, I can tell you for a fact that the adults were also quite impressed with Bob’s amazing talent.

Bob’s positive contribution to the Law Cypress family is long-standing and much appreciated.  He was never an official Law Cypress employee but he is, without a doubt, one of the family forever!  Thanks Bob!

A friend of the Law Cypress family (Jim Hughes)

westint_logoAs a distributor of computer products, true success at Law Cypress could not have happened if it weren’t for our fantastic reseller and technology partners and there is no better representative of this group then Mr. Jim Hughes of Western Integrated Systems.  Jim is an icon in the industry and I was so personally honored to have him join us.

jim hughes photoJim always has great stories and experiences to share.  It is really fun to hear him tell his colorful tales.  Sometimes I think he might exaggerate just a bit (or a lot a bit) but the ‘bigger’ and more ‘fishy’ the tales get makes them all that better.

As an animal lover, Jim brought to the BBQ his two precious six-year old dogs to enjoy the park.  Being an animal lover myself naturally I wanted to introduce myself to his dogs but I was quickly warned by Jim to keep my distance.  Jim, being the consummate practical-joker that he is, was dismissed by myself as being a joke so I extended my hand to pet his dogs.  Naturally I did not believe that Jim truly had these vicious dogs and boy-o-boy was I wrong!  I’m glad to report that I still have all my fingers in-tact;  but barely.  Jim, I can never tell whether you are serious or not so thanks for always keeping me on my toes!

 A Jack Brooks protégé (Ivan Bermudez)

ivan bbqWhat would a ‘Jack Brooks’ event be without a little discussion about Jack’s proud football history as a great coach?  One of Jack’s star football players, long-time friend and one of many ‘sons’, Ivan Bermudez, made an appearance.  Yes, I said ‘appearance’.  You see, Ivan is a legend in his own mind and his time is precious so anyone getting to see him is a great pleasure.  Actually, I kid.

Ivan shared some great stories and memories of all the fantastic JB times.  He probably knows Jack as well as anyone and it was fabulous to hear Ivan’s retrospect on Jack as a person, husband, co-worker and friend to everyone.  Ivan, I would like to thank you, again, for sharing such awesome memories!

 Studs-R-Us and the ‘new gen’ of Law Cypress (Freddy Bermudez)

freddy bbqIvan’s cousin, Freddy, another ex-Law Cypress employee, arrived with Ivan at the BBQ.  Freddy had been associated with Law Cypress for a long time through his relationship with Ivan as well as friendship with many other LC employees.  Eventually I think Jack just made it official and hired Freddy on as an employee.  Jack was notorious for hiring ‘lost individuals’ and Freddy embodied this spirit extremely well.  *Just kidding Freddy*.

Freddy was a great addition to the LC team and his friendship is appreciated to this day.  At the BBQ Freddy enjoyed discussing his massive biceps, huge chest and thick neck with anyone that would listen.  I’m looking forward to seeing Freddy again.  See you see bro!

The secret ingredient behind the scenes (Natalie)

natalie_bbqI’ve mentioned Natalie a few times in this blog and now I would like to call her out specifically.  Natalie is a dear friend of Brandee and mine.  We have known each other for many years.  She is the proudest mommy ever to her beautiful daughter and watching them together is pure magic.

Natalie helped organize the BBQ event with Brandee.  Natalie (a.k.a. “Nat”) had a previous commitment that she had to attend later in the day so she couldn’t stay the whole time but, as she always does, stayed to help as much as she could.  Nat, and her ham-for-a-daughter, typically keeps us tremendously entertained by singing the Frozen song over and over, are two of the most terrific people you will ever find in your life.  Nat and Cookie – You are A+!


For those whom worked with Jack they know that one of his infamous phrases to utter was ‘so-and-so buddy!’.  So, as a final tribute and until next year, Jack-buddy! – looking forward to celebrating in your spirit next year!

jack with dogs

In all seriousness, Jack was absolutely a great people person and gave so many young kids opportunities to grow, learn and experience life without excessive coddling.  In spite of his tough exterior he was a man of great values, as many of you reading this already know.

It was such a fantastic honor for us to host this event in Jack’s wonderful memory but also a great celebration of the Law Cypress spirit.  I seriously cannot wait until next year!  Speaking of which….

 Next year’s event is already in-the-making (Lynn Law)

Brandee, Natalie and I would like to extend our greatest gratitude to the entire Law family for attending the event.  In particular it was tremendous to spend time chatting with Lynn.  She has graciously agreed to organize next year’s event already.  So everyone get your creative thinking-caps on and start sharing your interesting ideas for the 2015 BBQ!

Your input is requested

As we plan out for next year I think a more organized approach would be to use technology!  Yes, believe it or not, technology is our friend and many of us are in the technology business so we want to eat our dog-food *so-to-speak*.

Therefore, I am requesting that you contribute something virtually to this past event, as well as future events, by commenting, liking or suggesting something.  Your input in valuable and we want to take the spirit of Jack as well as the vision of LC into this next era with passion and pride so please contribute something!


Capturing Opportunity, Technology = Positivity

Kevin NealI am very fortunate and blessed to be where I am now with my career in the document capture and enterprise content management (ECM) industry. I would not probably have planned it this way but it has turned out to serve me and, more importantly I would hope, those whom I’ve work with well. I have had the honor of being asked to blog a few entries for AIIM’s new ‘document capture’ community and I would like to take this initial post to share a little bit about myself, Kevin Neal.

First, and as full disclosure, I work with Fujitsu as a Product Marketing Manager for our document scanners [Updated 12/5/13: I no longer work for Fujitsu]. That being said, I consider myself a well-rounded technologist based on my business experience rather than a “marketing guy”. You will find my writing and thoughts to be honest and sincere.

I have worked in the document image processing (DIP), errrr ummm, document imaging management (DIM), errrr ummm, I mean ECM industry for over 21 years now. I’ve seen the industry change (more than just industry acronyms) and evolve over these years into something that is now top-of-mind for organizations and even individuals alike instead of being an expensive, niche, hard-to-understand and difficult to deploy technology. I have a dry sense of humor and I can be quite sarcastic so I’m sure that you will sense these Kevin Neal-ism’s in my writing so I apologize in advance. I hope that I can contribute real value to this industry based on my work experience and perspective gathered over these years.

So, twenty-one years ago, in 1989, I started in this industry with “first-hand” experience (literally) observing document scanning technology and working with leading vendors such as ViewStar, Calera, Caere, Xionics, LaserMaster, TDC, Keyfile, Watermark, Cornerstone, Artist Graphics and others that have since been acquired and molded into new current leading ECM vendors. This “first-hand” experience was me working in the shipping and receiving department at Law Cypress Distributing Company so it doesn’t sound as glorious as I spun-it in the first sentence, but it was an introduction to the technology and vendors none-the-less. I was quickly promoted to Inside Sales at the Company where I helped support our sales team. I also worked with the marketing team to create our first print catalog (yes, print catalog – remember Al Gore was still inventing the Internet in those days). In retrospect I look back on that as an extremely valuable project because I became familiar with the different parts of a document capture solution and how they fit together and complement each other. In addition to the warehouse and inside sales positions I held at the Company I also managed the Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) and evaluation departments and this experience enabled me to test and troubleshoot all sorts of imaging equipment which was another invaluable experience. I left Law Cypress in 1993 only to return in 1999 but in a completely different capacity, as their Network Administrator.

During this time period between stints at Law Cypress, I held various sales and marketing positions at Bell Microproducts and International Computer Graphics, both of which have since been acquired. I was very proud of the success at both companies and it gave me great perspective on how overwhelming understanding even the basics of document capture and imaging can be for someone who are unfamiliar with this technology. You see even though both Companies sold IT products, document imaging was such a departure for our people internally as well as our customers that it took a lot of patience to eventually realize this success. This patience and trying to explain very technical things in a easy to understand fashion is what I gained most from this experience and I try to share in a similar matter to this day.

Fast forward to around the 1996 -1999 timeframe. I found myself completely out of the document capture business, yet still involved intimately with technology. Quite honestly I was frustrated with our industry at the time. Why? While the industry was growing and the technology was becoming better the truth is it was too expensive, too complicated to implement, too sophisticated to learn and way too niche. There were no big name IT players helping drive adoption of our technology an most of the technology was cutting edge type products only being embraced by true early adopters http://www.apte…net/. I don’t think the likes of Microsoft, Google, IBM, Adobe and others truly appreciated the value of “enterprise content”. Of course nowadays, each of these vendors has woven their products and services tightly into the ECM landscape through a series of acquisitions or flurry of product development recently which are directly related to document capture and/or managing business content. During these few years out of the document capture industry I worked as a consultant for a small company doing network installations and troubleshooting. Unbeknownst to me at the time this would turn out to be extremely valuable in my current position due to the fact that network-attach peripherals such a network scanners and multifunction devices seem to be all the rage. In conjunction to working as a consultant I also started my own web development company where I learned, mostly the hard way, many technical things not specific to document capture but are closely related.

As I mentioned earlier in this post I returned to Law Cypress in 1999 as their Network Administrator managing both the computer network and telephone system. I managed the network for the corporate location as well as several remote offices. Again, I could not appreciate how valuable this experience was at the time but, in retrospect, isn’t cloud computing somewhat similar to managing infrastructure, applications and communications over a network (internet)? Yes, I think the concept is somewhat similar and fortunately I can fall back on this experience for a basic understanding of concepts although the underlining technology might be different. It’s helped me to have a solid foundation of technical understanding. This experience has also given me great respect for the challenges of managing IT infrastructure. This is one of the reasons that I preach ease-of-use as a priority for vendors and one of the reasons we must strive as an industry to develop products that are highly functional, yet easy to use. IT departments know that they want to, and should, deploy document capture technology for the obvious benefits but most simply do not have the time or resources to add complication to their already difficult jobs.

I didn’t intend for this blog to be an summary of my entire business career but I did want to provide insight and background on myself. I think it’s important that readers of my posts understand I am speaking from experience and I can respect how document capture technology can affect, either positively or negatively, organizations. If an organization is attempting to change their whole way of doing business from paper-based process to electronic process this is not something to be taken lightly. A successful document capture and ECM strategy can drastically help organizations be more efficient, cut costs and improve process. While an unsuccessful implementation could become a burden with terrible consequences.

I hope you enjoy reading my, as well as my fellow bloggers, posts. I am always open to constructive criticism. I’m not always right – believe it or not – and I’m always willing to have a healthy debate about any topics. I look forward to your feedback and comments.

In summary, I hope you can appreciate my perspective and this is why I remain extremely positive in these challenging economic times. Because technology that improves efficiency, cuts costs and helps improve process can only be a good thing (when well understood) and that’s what we hope to deliver at http://www.aiim.org/Community/Blogs.