Stephen Richards, one of our longstanding Board members, recently passed away and I wanted to reflect on his contributions to Cray and the impact he had on me personally.
Steve joined Cray’s Board of Directors in 2004, soon after I joined the company. He came to us with some incredible experience from his roles as COO and CFO at McAfee, and a number of other senior positions at companies such as E*TRADE, Bear Stearns and others.
At Cray, Steve served on our audit committee and had recently taken over leadership of our compensation committee.
Steve was not only extremely intuitive and level-headed, he was also an amazing teacher and mentor – in his own unique way. When things were going bad, he’d always find something good to talk about. When things were going well, he’d always make sure you kept yourself in check and focused on the long term and what is ahead.
One of my favorite stories about Steve was during a time when things weren’t going so well. He called me a few days after a Board meeting to see if I had a few minutes just to “chat.” Steve then told me something I won’t forget (and something I have told to others many times since). He said, “If you keep on doing the right things for long enough, and don’t waver from that path, things will come around and eventually turn in your favor.”
That surely happened at Cray, and I’m very appreciative for those times when Steve reached out and gave me and many others at Cray, that extra push. He played an important role in Cray’s turnaround, as well as in the success and momentum we have today.
Steve was an avid hiker and he shared with us many stories about his hiking adventures around the world. He also was a big sports fan and we spent a number of Saturdays going back and forth on text and email about the various PAC12 football games, especially when he could give me a hard time about my beloved Washington State Cougars.
But first and most important for Steve was his family. He was so proud of all of them and he loved to share their successes and adventures with us.
On behalf of our Board and all the employees at Cray — we’ll miss you, Steve!