During the last week of a production cycle at Inc., heads are pretty much down. But in an office that boasts more windows than walls and sits well above the skyline in Lower Manhattan, it's almost impossible not to look out from time to time. On January 15, when we lifted our heads, we saw something we're unlikely to see again: a jet plane mostly submerged in the Hudson River, about two miles north of us. A flotilla of boats surrounded it, and on the wing stood a row of tiny figures. At the very tip, we later learned, was Clay Presley, the CEO of Carolina Pad.
It happened that we were just then working on a story about Presley. He is one of the five entrepreneurs featured in "The Ultimate Business Makeover". We discovered that Presley had been aboard US Airways Flight 1549 when one of his staff members called our attention to a photograph of the rescued passengers. He later told me that though this flight had been the most sobering experience of his life, he had been sanguine about the outcome throughout the ordeal. He also said that "in about three seconds, you realize what's important: family, your spiritual relationship, and the people here at the office." There are many reasons to admire the people we write about here at Inc. They are generally optimistic and almost always smart; they have good ideas that they put into action. They also have a high regard for their employees. Presley closed our conversation by saying that he hoped we didn't give him all the credit for the successful changes at his company, that they were the result of a companywide effort. Duly noted.