At INTERSECT16, I defined what the GRIDSMART Man is when we recognized Tim Smith with J.O. Herbert Co., Inc. as the Ultimate GRIDSMART Man for 2016.

The GRIDSMART Man is not always a bloke, the GRIDSMART Man might be a doyenne, because the essence of the GRIDSMART Man is a conviction, a principle, a strong belief in doing things right and fair. The GRIDSMART Man wears a solemn gaze as he tackles his work. An unfailing look of quiet confidence pronouncing competence never leaves his face. He carries an aura that does not need validation or approval from anybody, because he is in control and his air makes that clear. He understands technology, but only appreciates it when it actually does something of value.

The GRIDSMART Man works hard and independent. He values demanding responsibilities, but he appreciates the Simple, he pursues the Flexible, he knows the best means to get’er done. The GRIDSMART Man boldly punches his own trail, because he knows where to go and how to get there. Not a follower, but a leader by standard. He recognizes there is more than one way, so he demands the best way. He is as Transparent as the ocean is wide. What you see is really what you get. He is simply a good man with good values.

Our first GRIDSMART Man awards went to Amanda Brown and Tim Kinnon with Mr. Tim Smith being named the “Ultimate GRIDSMART Man.”

Today, I add Kori Lautner from Great Schools Partnership in Knoxville, TN to this illustrious society. Kori does unequivocally amazing things for a school at risk.  Kori works for Lonsdale Elementary, where 88% of the students are minorities. 78% of these children live in poverty (national average is an unacceptable 25%). Kori and her equally devoted peers do amazing things to serve these children who go through the day with indomitable spirit and huge smiles despite their situation. Kori makes a lot of these smiles happen.

So, Kori and Tim Smith as GRIDSMART Man mismatched bookends. Tim is a strong, powerful looking man, who can honestly scare you if you don’t know what a great, compassionate and intelligent man he is. Kori is petite with a perpetual smile. They were born in generations separated by some classic rock in the middle.

On the exterior they look a lot different. But real GRIDSMART Men know that a cover does not define a book. These mismatched bookends both aggressively defend their customers (Lonsdale Families and Virginia DOT’s). Neither Tim nor Kori will ever let their customers get a bad deal or have a bad day if they can help it. They go to whatever measures necessary to protect customers, even if protecting the customers might hurt them. Both Kori and Tim never say “it is good enough.” They always work hard and steady to make it better and better and better.

We say the GRIDSMART Man “boldly punches his own trail, because he knows where to go and how to get there.” That describes our supposedly mismatched bookends. Tim and Kori understand what needs to happen in their worlds and they will get you there and do it the right way and with integrity. The GRIDSMART Man is transparent. There is nothing phony or superficial about either of these bookends. They are honest about what they are doing, about what they want and about how they take care of business.  They are also honestly good people. They never seek the spotlight, both are humble and get their satisfaction from a job very well done.

At GRIDSMART, one of our core principles is “always do what is right.” Tim and Kori are part of our inspiration for that. Doing right seeks the same and GRIDSMART is drawn to these two.

So, an NFL Linebacker looking dude and a high school Homecoming Queen looking Doyenne on the outside, GRIDSMART Men on the inside. Not so different after all. Bookends with a lot of Principles in between. At GRIDSMART, we believe that Principles make all the difference in the world. In the end, Principles is what we all bank on. Thank You Tim and Kori for being GRIDSMART Men. We salute you and we appreciate you both more than you will ever know.

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After much deliberation, and with much remorse, GRIDSMART has decided to cancel INTERSECT this year. The safety of our employees, distributors and customers is of utmost importance.