End Point CEO and NYSE Bell Ringing
Wall Street. Back where it all started for me some 35 years ago. Only instead of being an employee of Oppenheimer and Company, I had the experience and honor of representing End Point as one of 7 companies chosen to “ring the bell” at the New York Stock Exchange, chiming in Small Business Week for JPMorgan Chase. (They work with 4,000,000 small companies.)
The morning started early by going through security checks rivaling the airport, except I didn’t have to take my shoes off. After getting my nifty credential, we went back to the street where the president of the NYSE gave a welcoming speech, pointing out the buildings that are still standing from when Hamilton, Monroe, and Aaron Burr all started their own banks. As well as where George Washington was sworn in.
All this while also getting free coffee from the main small business honoree, Gregory’s Coffee, and picture taking from the business paparazzi!
We then went inside the storied NYSE building and made our way to the trading floor. The surroundings were immensely impressive, as the stock exchange still inhabits a huge floor with gorgeous 40 foot mid-18th century ceilings high above, holding up all sorts of 21st century technology and equipment. In the center of it all is CNBC’s stage set, with the show Squawk Box airing live, and with the infamous Mad Money man himself, Jim Kramer, sitting in, talking about the impact the newly minted presumptive Republican candidate (to be nameless) might have on the markets.
At about 9:15, the 7 small business owners and the head of marketing and small market banking for Chase made our way to the real stage, a perch overlooking the entire floor where the actual apparatus for the bell ringing takes place. In front of four live cameras, we waited for 9:30 to hit, and then the bell was rung….rather, the button was pressed to start the day’s trading. (Sorry they use a button now, not an actual clapper to ring the bell.) Aired live, we shook hands, smiled for a national audience, passed around compliments and enjoyed the moment.
A few moments we went back down to the floor where we were able to float around and I could watch the operation of what is still the heart of the financial world come to life around me.
The Exchange has changed in all those years since my days in one important way: Instead of thousands of crazed floor traders frantically buying and selling millions of shares using ticker tape and hand signals, there were maybe a couple of hundred standing by their booths, watching millions of shares being exchanged electronically. Looking almost bored, they calmly talked with each other sipping more of Gregory’s coffee.
I’ll dispense with the rest of the details of the day and the ensuing reception. Rather, I shall now explain the importance of the event as it relates to End Point and to our clients and my own history.
The first day I was on the job in Wall Street, the chairman of the company said to me something that to this day still guides me as to how I run End Point and I have repeated countless times to whomever will listen. He said, “Rick, to have a good restaurant, you have to have a great kitchen!” So, he had me learn all aspects of the company from back office, to accounting, to the fledgling world of computers to the front office and to how to work effectively with employees and customers alike.
End Point may be one of the smaller of the “small companies” chosen by Chase this day. But, we were selected because we are a company that personifies good management, great engineering, unrelenting commitment to our customers, and a company that has great potential. Why? Because we believe in having a great kitchen! Our engineering staff is exemplary, our clients are fully appreciative of our partnerships with them, and we are doing all we can to be a model business.
While I may not have rung the actual bell this year, our banker and Chase has every confidence—as do I—that one day we will.