2019 Annual Meeting Notes

Thank you for participating in the Little Engine Ventures Annual Meeting 2019. Your encouragement will propel us another year. 

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Below are a few of my highlights from my notes. I’d love to hear yours. 


The new location matched our style. Thanks to DJ Powder and Nami’s for support. Compliments to Mike Witteveen on maintaining a beautiful, historic building. 


The trade show provided partners a sampling of products, services and teammates of each company. I continue to appreciate the role this plays throughout the day. I liked that it was in the middle and we made people move through it. I also enjoyed seeing two people hug that didn’t realize the other would be there. Powerful. 


The opening video set the presentations in motion. More nice things were said than could be included. Maybe we should have included more? Mikel and I are not actors.


My welcome speech didn’t suck. The tone was set: Partnership is best. It allows us to sustain a dozen acquisitions in three years, endure past employee’s prison shanks, restructuring out my brother-in-law, and a climactic rash that became the butt of many jokes throughout the remainder of the day. We keep it real. 

Daryl Starr welcomed partners


Joe Dunn was a hit. Tons of positive feedback from partners. “How’d you find him?” Joe shared Magic Glass’s turbulent second quarter and plans for remainder of the year. Overall, the group was more encouraging than fearful. That meant a lot to me. 


I dove into Recycle Guy’s restructuring and used RG as an example of teaching managers to use the Business Model Canvas as a map. Brickyard clipped dividends. Culture Index quantified teammates. We could have gone deeper on this aspect. 


Taking an early break was good. 


Mikel Berger led Table Discussions. He focused the group on partnership experiences. Although I was not seated at a table I could hear and see lots of laughter. Feedback afterward was positive and strong. People enjoyed the assigned seats. 

Mikel Berger led table discussions


Brad Smith provided a status report on Fountains Square Brewery. Things have improved. He also gave the New Day Craft entry story. The LEV reputation is working thanks to a solid team and honorable leadership.


The second break worked, too. 


Adam Wright gave an update on Lafayette Tool & Die. We’ve done price increases and hired people. Things are going well. Brad established a process to “download” Larry’s brain. The company purchased a building. It is completely leased and now available for sale. We should triple our money in a year. I probably shouldn’t have said “you’re welcome.”


Josh Richey shared updates on Boden working in vegetables. Spectrum has ongoing distributor growth. How quickly can we triple this company? Later I told people that Josh likes to poke me on ideas like this. I like his style. I also like managing our risk. We will work to grow at a pace that doesn’t put our equity at undue risk. 


My rank-sort slide accidentally circled our need for more cash twice… or was it an accident? 


Joe Dunn gave us an overview of Skydive and thanked his teammates. I’m so glad we own this company. We ended with an adrenaline filled promo video and a call to action—buy tickets.


Lobster rolls were good. I heard mixed feedback on the other entrees. Mikel and I ran an abbreviated Q&A and we adjourned early. We lost less people by keeping it dense. A decent sized group moved to Nami’s.


Overall the Little Engine Ventures 2019 Annual Meeting was another great event. I’m already looking forward to next year, Thursday, July 23, 2020.