We are a people-first organization.
My dad, Bob Cassling, who started everything 34 years ago, cared first and foremost about people. I know many of our newer employees and customers did not have the opportunity to meet my dad before he passed away a few years ago, so I wanted to share a little bit about him.
Bob grew up in a small town in South Dakota. His dad was a farmer and later ran a local grocery store. Bob loved growing up in rural America. That might be why he was so passionate about serving healthcare organizations, especially in outlying areas where they are often the lifeblood of their communities.
He enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War, trained as a navigator on bombers and became a liaison for a base commander. When he was discharged, he completed his bachelor’s degree at Iowa State and met my mom, Rita.
For the next several decades, Bob worked at Picker International, a medical device manufacturer. He started as an equipment service man, moved into sales and then into management. But he was service-focused through it all.
By the time he was in his 50s, he was discontent—fed up with how the large corporation treated customers. He knew he could provide better service and, instead of planning for retirement, he founded Cassling Diagnostic Imaging in 1984. He had such a great reputation for putting people first that customers and employees alike fled Picker and followed him to CDI.
One of those employees was Eldon Gruber, a retired Cassling field service engineer who worked at Cassling for 30 years. Bob and Eldon once visited a customer who was very upset. The story goes that the customer’s tie happened to be off-center. Bob stopped the man, fixed his tie, and the customer immediately calmed down as Bob talked to him. He just had a way of putting people at ease.
Bob was like a father to many Cassling employees. Joe Matthews, Vice President of Service, once told me my dad called him into his office in the late 1980s and talked to him about not taking advantage of the company’s 401k plan. He genuinely cared about Joe’s future.
While my dad was a hard worker, he also was a dedicated family man. He attended scores of swim meets and coached our baseball team. I have many fond memories of packing into our station wagon and heading out on family vacations.
The reason that me, our leadership team, and every single team member is here working today is because of Bob and his passion for serving the customer. All of our CQuence companies have this focus. The Bob Cassling Service Award recipients, Martie Chauvin and Kayla Engel, are proof of this.
Bob passed away in July 2014 after battling prostate cancer for 17 years. My hope is his influence on our organization will continue to be felt for another 30 years.