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They say that hindsight is 20/20. As progress rockets ahead, many old ways fall to the past, and new, updated, more advanced ideas take their place. If we last long enough in one industry, we’ll be the adaptors, the originators of new ideas, and eventually, the changemakers who lead our teams into a new age. Advancement isn’t painless. Often, great ideas that were beloved by most have to be scrapped to make way for more efficient, more valuable, and sometimes less personal solutions. 

Those of us who can straddle the past and future are known as titans, towering figures who have fought through change, disruption, stress, expansion, recession, and calamities no one ever knew we endured. Taryn Lewis is a titan. With her expertly honed perspective, she’s become a storyteller for a different time and an advocate for teamwork and loving-kindness. 

“The work is the same, and the pace is the same, but I started in a simpler time. We had calculators and typewriters, so things naturally took longer, but we had longer to complete tasks. Now, things go so fast, and automation is so ingrained that we can complete our work much quicker, but with that comes growth, so there’s always more work to fill in the time. Much has changed in thirty-three years, but the nature of the company, the family feeling, that love and respect remains. We brought the best of the past into the future at CFI. People don’t love their jobs everywhere like we do here. CFI makes a difference,” Taryn explains. 

After three decades, Taryn certainly has a clear vantage point of CFI’s evolution. Her very first job was working as a bookkeeper for her father’s friend, building experience for her future position at CFI. It was initially a temporary position in the accounting department, and during her first interview, Alfred Kuehlewind offered her the position on the spot. It was the start of a long friendship that Taryn remembers as a blessing for a young, divorced mother of two. 

“We were very much a family here at CFI. Alfred and Linda were incredible people to spend your work day with. But beyond that, they were both such caring individuals. They did what no other job would have done, such as the following: Some months after I was hired, and still a temporary employee through an agency,  I found out that my oldest daughter needed a very serious surgery. Although I had not been with CFI long enough to be added to the Medical Insurance, Alfred added myself and my daughters, so that my daughter would be fully covered for the surgery. What a blessing!!! But these were the type of caring individuals that I was privileged to work for.”

Alfred’s passing hit Taryn hard. Their close relationship mirrored that of her father, and Alfred’s illness reminded her that time was short. Luckily, Taryn seized the opportunity to tell Alfred how much he meant to her before his passing.

“I was fortunate enough to have been able to talk with Alfred one last time before his passing. I was able to tell him just how much he meant to me, and how much I loved Him. Going through the experience of losing both my father, as well as Alfred, has made me so much more aware of how short our time is. This is why I now want to spend as much time as possible with my mother, daughters, grandchildren, and of course, my wonderful Husband, Fred. I know our time is a gift, so I try to use it wisely.” 

Taryn is unafraid to display her emotions, reminding everyone that grieving is a process that we must go through. But the future is bright. 

“I truly believe the Bible’s promise that we will soon be reunited with our loved ones here on Earth, as Jesus promised. This is what I look forward to, and this is what keeps me going.” 

As Taryn embarks on her new adventure, we are reminded of the legacy she leaves behind of family, friendship, dedication, and loyalty. It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with someone who staunchly defended the family atmosphere and ensured the joy she felt coming to work at CFI was available to future generations. Taryn represents the best of CFI at every turn, and we’re better for the time she’s been here and glad we got to spend time together. We hope her journey leads her back to us on occasion to stop in and say hello to the future generations trying to fill the empty space she leaves.