Good afternoon everyone, and thank you all for being here. I'll try to keep this short. We'll be back at our desks watching cat videos in no time. (Laughter, hopefully) First of all, I wanted to congratulate the team that finally got Consolidated Fishhook to sign on the dotted line. That's a big win for us, and a major account that will help propel sales through the end of the fiscal year. Stanley McBride, Ellen Stashluk, and Rob Werth all did great work to bring that one home. Let's hear it for them. (Applause, probably)
Now look, I know there have been some rumors going around, and a lot of nervous talk. And we're going to put all that to rest. I've always considered myself a straight shooter, and on occasion that has gotten me into a tricky spot, but I would never run this company any other way. When Jim, Victor, and I started Merrick & Foster in 1980, we had a vision. I can stand here with pride and say that because of everyone here, that vision has been fulfilled. Advanced Solutions for a Changing World: It's been our tagline since day one, and we mean it.
Today, that world is changing once again. We have brought you all here to announce that yes, it is true. Merrick & Foster will be acquired by AdvancedTechDyne. We will join ATD's family of industrial conglomerates, delivering the same level of excellence that our clients have come to expect over the past two decades. The move will open doors for us that were previously shut, and provide us with a vast set of resources. However, there will be certain adjustments to our day-to-day routine.
• As you might expect, we will have an additional layer of oversight. This is nothing to be concerned about, just bear in mind that there will be fresh eyes on expense reports, inventory, client correspondence, personal email, etc.
• The work environment may shift towards a more formal tone than usual. All of you know I like a vibrant workplace, and the last thing I want is a bunch of androids in suits. But some of the more visible elements of cubicle personalization may need to be toned down. No more cat videos, I'm afraid! Dress code will be strictly business casual, no jeans or sneakers. Rowdiness or outbursts within the office will be monitored.
• Sorting through changes to our insurance will take some time. (Concern, possibly) Let me be clear, AdvancedTechDyne has an excellent benefits package, and no one is going to lose a single vacation day. Health coverage should remain more or less intact. Prescription medications may be switched to brands produced by ATD's pharmaceutical divisions. Starting immediately, payroll will be handled by ATD's offshore financial institutions. Direct deposit may present some issues, if your bank does not accept Kruggerands or bearer bonds.
• Many of you will be assigned an ATD consultant who will evaluate your daily work over a six-month period. These consultants will sit with you at your desks, and observe unobtrusively. Please avoid interacting with them, and do not ask them their names. Should they offer any suggestions, you are strongly advised to consider them.
• You'll be happy to hear that everyone is getting a computer upgrade! That should clear a lot of open Help Desk tickets for Reggie and the guys, am I right? The new computers are much faster, and have some additional security features. Some new computer equipment will be loaded into the second floor conference room, which unfortunately will be closed indefinitely. Supplemental IT staff will be coming over from ATD to service this equipment, as well as the new desktop machines. Reggie and his staff will focus on non-essential tech issues going forward.
• Not to sound glib about the cat videos, but there will be no access to YouTube or Facebook, or to any part of the Internet. We will be operating on a fully integrated internal network, with no hard connection to the outside. Also, any company-issued laptops must be returned immediately. If it is deemed critical for you to have one, you will be issued a damage-resistant model with advanced encryption.
• AdvancedTechDyne favors advancement from within. Available positions will be listed on the intranet. Those of you on a management track would do well to learn German, Farsi, and Mandarin. All employees should identify family members or friends who could be viewed as a security risk. If you are unsure what comprises a security risk, err on the side of caution. Do not be alarmed if you see your position listed on the intranet, this is likely a formality.
• Representatives from AdvancedTechDyne will occasionally be onsite. Please give them a warm welcome, and whatever they need, including the use of your desk or car. For your own safety, do not remain in the office past 6:00 PM.
• Some of you may be wondering about our leadership structure. Rest assured, I will remain as CEO of the Merrick & Foster division of ATD. However, the board of directors has been dissolved, and will be replaced by a panel of shadow directors who will pass along orders when necessary. Jim will remain in his role as CFO. Victor and his family have already relocated to an undisclosed location, where they are being cloned for research purposes.
• The best news of all is that your jobs are completely secure, pending a physical examination and a battery of mental and emotional tests. To be eligible, you must sign the waiver form and be fingerprinted within the next thirty minutes.
There is a breakfast spread and coffee out in the hallway. (Applause, definitely)