This is the first of two pieces I’ve written this week about the passing of Neal Patterson – the innovator, billionaire, visionary, and part owner of Sporting Kansas City. Oh, and he also was CEO of Cerner Corporation, the company I work for. This is normally where I would say that this information does not represent the views of Cerner, but I’m pretty sure it does.
I normally work at the Cerner office near the Kansas Speedway, but this morning, I had to work at Cerner’s World Headquarters in North Kansas City. As I walked to my meeting, I noticed several flowers placed at the center of the WHQ campus. WHQ is built outward from a central point. That point consists of a bronze picnic table. The picnic table signifies the meeting place for Cerner’s three founders, Cliff Ilig, Paul Gorup, and Neal Patterson, where they would devise a plan for a new company that would later become Cerner.
The second piece I wrote will appear in the Platte County Landmark this week, but this is a story I sent to Cerner’s “Memory Box” about Cerner’s Employee -1. This email box is open to the public as well as Cerner employees – firstname.lastname@example.org – and this was the story I submitted today:
In the early 1980’s, my mother, Donna Kamler, owned a secretarial service. She did typing, provided copy services, and assisted with filing and collating for small offices that might not have access to a clerical secretary in their business. The address of Kamler Secretarial Service was 2800 Rockcreek Parkway.
There were a few lawyers who used her copier. There were a couple of real estate agents that worked near her office, and then there were these three guys who worked for a company named PGI. Neal, Paul and Cliff would come in and make copies, get some typing done and I am certain that they enjoyed the company and conversation of my mother who could be a bit of a chatterbox.
I had to bring her up to 2800 for some reason a few months ago and it had been decades since she’d seen the Rockcreek Parkway office park which we now know as WHQ. She told me stories about how much she enjoyed watching the growth of Neal and Cerner throughout the years and taking such pride on helping them at the beginnings of their journey. She also joked that she was obviously owed some back stock options since she was their very first “employee.” She said that all three were very polite, “but also so busy – always in a hurry,” which doesn’t surprise me at all.
I never had the opportunity to meet Neal in the 4 ½ years I’ve worked here, but I was fascinated by his ability to communicate exactly what was needed through the passion that was evident in his voice. It is that passion that I take to work each day in my effort to keep our data safe and secure while the company works to change not just healthcare IT, but healthcare across the globe.
Rest well, Neal. You’ve earned it. All our best to his family.
The public has been invited to share their memories of Neal Patterson and his impact on the community. You can submit those at email@example.com.
[Featured Image from healthcareitnews.com]