Mike Fanning’s 20th anniversary at the company
Dear Mike,
Dear Fanning Family,
Dear Colleagues,

On August 3rd of this year it was exactly 20 years since you started working for us. I would describe the way you have charted your course at Hänel by saying: “Everything has a purpose.”

You were recruited by Mike di Blasi; he is the one credited with having "a good nose" for the right person when he hired you. You started off with us as a salesman. Jeff Rader, your subsequent boss, recognized instantly that here was a young man who was developing major talents – already with experience despite his young age – and he supported you on this journey; and from him you learned and perfected many skills. Brian Cohen, your current boss, couldn't imagine the company without you, and the respect he has for you in your present position as Hänel's Director of Sales North and South America is enormous. You find it easy to establish relationships with people and are well liked by all types of people thanks to your down-to-earth and friendly manner.

He has the necessary ambition for sales, doesn't want to lose, but always to win, and on top of that he is hard-working – a true workaholic. His motto is "The early bird catches the worm". Mike loves all the products and solutions from the extensive range of Hänel products. In this respect he is always an incredible asset and very much appreciated by his colleagues from all over the world at international Hänel conferences.

Ups and downs bind people together. There may have been some teething troubles at the start of Hänel USA's activities, but even when the financial crisis took hold, you coped masterfully with this phase of the downturn, so that Hänel USA always prospered over these past 2 decades and became the force on the North American market that it is today.

I think we can be proud of the fact that we handle some things differently than other companies, and Mike Fanning plays a major part in implementing this philosophy.

As far as the terms identity and family are concerned, you have a strong identity with your wife and your children, and you also draw strength from this family. I am always delighted each year to see a new photo of the Fanning family, and to see how it has grown and flourished. Without these photos at Christmas, I would feel something is missing.

What makes Mike Fanning special? He puts "people center stage", with all the strengths and weaknesses that every person has. Performance and humanity are not contradictory, but complement and reinforce each other. So we have good reason to be proud of the very low staff turnover we have had over the decades. "Never change a winning team" is one of Mike's slogans.

This approach of putting people center stage is also carried over into our relationship with our clients. Mike Fanning wouldn't be the salesman he is if he didn't know this and make full use of this strength of his. Just like everyone, customers have feelings, emotions and motives, which means that even today the decisions they make are based 80% on gut feelings. And in this respect Mike Fanning has shown superbly how to build a bridge of trust to customers. So in these 20 years with Hänel, Mike, you have built many friendships with your customers, earned the esteem of your staff, your colleagues, your boss Brian, and not least of myself personally. I greatly value you, your integrity, your ambition and your dedication, the skills you use in the interest of the company, and over the years you have grown close to my heart.

And of course, where would we all be without our staff and colleagues? Without all of you these successes would not have been possible. So my thanks today go to all of you for your unfailing hard work in the interests of the company and the community.

Although in the past few years much has been said about vision, I would like to say at this point that I believe it is more the mission - the task of every one of us - that drives us forward rather than the vision. The mission is the actual vision. Or in other words, our task is to tackle the challenges of the present day with vigor.
And in this, Mike Fanning has excelled. His efforts could perhaps be described best by a quote from Hermann Gmeiner: "All the great things in our world happen only because someone does more than he has to."

Dear Mike, you are one of those who have played a key role in the development of this company and have been a major factor in its success. For the work you have done over these 20 years, for your outstanding performance and for the excellent and constructive cooperation for the benefit of the company and the community, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks. You have rendered our company exceptional service. For the future I wish you – not entirely selflessly – continued enjoyment in your work and life, health and creativity.

Yours in friendship,
Joachim Hänel
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