I’ve had the luxury of riding the same roller coaster ride for the past 8 years with the ever-so-talented Mike Fennessy. First, at Fishtank and now here at i.d.e.a. Below are 40 delightful reasons to tip-the-cap (and a drink) to ‘Iron Mike’ as he celebrates turning 40 this weekend:
40. Bday Trip to Mandarin House. There may only be a handful of chopstick-worthy San Diego Chinese restaurants that can compete. Mandarin House is one of them. Thanks to Mike’s bday, we’re on our way.
39. He quit smoking. I don’t even think gum was involved. #coldturkey
38. His Tattoo. The tat is prominent on his forearm. It says ‘Mom’. It’s pretty wow. Actually, pending how you look at it, sometimes it says,‘wow’.
37. He only asks smart questions. Mike has a little lawyer in him. His swift and appropriate deliberation is the shortest path to receiving smart answers from all.
36. He makes killer signs. Ask his daughter’s soccer team. How many >10-year-old girls soccer teams have a Euro professional footie emblem, crest and sign?
35. He's Irish. Aka, a fighter. Lunch pale mentality.
34. Loyalty. Loyalty. Loyalty. As mentioned above, we’ve been through a lot. There’s almost nothing more valuable than folks willing and able to fight through the fires.
33. He speaks geek. He knows enough about coding and technology to keep others honest. And what he doesn’t know, he has the friends who do. The fact that I don’t speak this language (at all) makes me appreciate this so much more.
32. His Scene It Record. Though he doesn’t hold the belt this very moment, he wins on a regular basis. If you don’t know the game, Google it.
31. He doesn't wear fake glasses. Oh, I’ve seen it before. It’s so so sad.
30. He doesn’t wear black turtlenecks or Burberry scarfs either. I really have nothing against either of these. The point is Mike isn’t trying to be something he isn’t. No Zoolander here.
29. His moral compass. He’s a gem. Period.
28. His reputation. Let’s cut to the case. For 8 years Mike has delivered. You can’t be wrong in this business. All it takes is one hiccup and your reputation is tarnished. I’ve been blessed to see him challenge himself – project after project – to be better and deliver at the highest level.
27. He loves his white space. A designer through and through.
26. He's older than me. Something I can celebrate.
25. His hairline. At 40, Mike is still full in the follicle category. Something I can’t celebrate.
24. His New Love: English Premier League. It’s about time, Mike.
23. The Girl Scout Cookies. Once a year his daughter makes the rounds and fats us all up with Thin Mints and Samoa’s. Bad for the belly, but good for the soul.
22. He studies his craft. Mike has about 12 tabs open on his browser when most walk into his office. He is a hawk when it comes to sifting through, studying and staying on top of his space.
21. Low maintenance. High production. Best of both worlds.
20. His work ethic. Good luck matching him. I’ve now lived through many Mike all-nighters (Sterling Doak knows what I’m talking about).
19. His work. Contemporary as can be. Right down to i.d.e.a.’s look and logo.
18. Bay Fennessy. I should have moved this upon the list. She’s his very sweet high school sweetheart.
17. He's not full of sh*t. Refreshing.
16. His inability to golf. Yet. Having worked on PUMA’s Fowler campaign, he’s picking it up. But for now, he’s still no good. Being no good means more time here at the office. Selfish of me? Maybe.
15. He can play I.T. Mike. Twice a month. Between my phone and my computer…
14. His sick days are on milk cartons. Maybe it’s being Irish, but he works through the colds.
13. The kid can throw back Greyhounds. Vodka + Grapefruit Juice = Happy Irishman.
12. His Awards. Awards don’t mean much from a sales standpoint, but they are validators from your creative peers in the business. Mike deservingly has a slew of them.
11. Is he my Robin? Or is he Batman? I don’t think it matters at this point. Leading your team often means providing your team with enough information so that they can get find the water and drink it on their own -- as if it were their idea. Mike does this to me all the time.
10. His ability to quote movies. See: Rain Man of movie land.
9. He's a joy to work with. His team loves him. And his clients love him.
8. He’s right. A lot. Like ‘a lot a lot’. Another reason clients love him.
7. It’s that extra 5%. Mike makes everyone's work around him better. Nothing leaves the building without his suggestive ‘spit and polish’.
6. The kid can bowl. And when i.d.e.a. gets their bowling team on, watch out.
5. Truth: He makes my life easier. The professional me and the personal me appreciate this. Having people who you work with who actually deliver on this is, frankly, gold.
4. His speed. For when the fire drills roll in…
3. He leads. Allways (not a typo) by example.
2. He's quite possibly a robot. We often joke that the last person to bolt at night should plug him in before leaving.
1. He's just so darn likable. He reminds me of Stanley in this Embassy Suites commercial. http://snurl.com/23o4oks
In honor of Mike’s birthday, we’re giving everyone the day off on Monday. Enjoy!