Andy in the Passing Lane

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Bob reflects on shifting into a supporting role as Andy Powers leads the company forward.

Well, here I am, a little farther from the front of the Wood&Steel cover than before. As my dear friend Jesus Jurado, who lives in Tijuana and drives his Land Cruiser exploring and camping with me in Baja, and who retired a couple years ago from Taylor Guitars, says, “We gotta pull over and let the young ones pass.” And I’m happy to do it. Andy Powers is in the passing lane, and I’m pulling over to let him go around. You’ll be hearing what he thinks not only as our Chief Guitar Designer, but as President and CEO.

I’m increasingly hearing about quality sleep, how we have to know that we’re getting the right sleep in the right quantity. Everyone wants me to see a sleep doctor, so I did. I don’t sleep a lot of hours and haven’t for decades; I’m a five- or six-hour-a-night sleeper. I think I sleep enough, but they have me all worried about it now! Well, the doctor came in and asked why I’m here. I told him what I just told you. Then I said, “I just want to know if I’m asleep when I’m sleeping!” He laughed and said that’s a good way to put it, and he has ways to find out the answer.

That little expression gave me an idea to say something I thought you’d like to know about Andy. That is, Andy is thoughtful when he thinks. Lots of people think, but are they thoughtful, do they consider all the angles, can they form an opinion that seems correct? After they’re done thinking, do they present a way forward? The evidence clearly points out that many people don’t exercise quality thinking. But Andy does and does it very well.

I can’t name another major guitar manufacturer whose President and CEO is also their Chief Guitar Designer.

Everyone here at Taylor Guitars knows that, which is why we’re all thrilled to see Andy take the position of both CEO and President, which were Kurt and my positions respectively. I don’t know anyone at Taylor who isn’t happy and confident about this change, and so I thought you might want to hear from me so you could join us in welcoming Andy to the position. I can’t name another major guitar manufacturer whose President and CEO is also their Chief Guitar Designer. What this means to Taylor Guitars and our customers is that the business of guitars and the making of guitars will remain holistically intertwined, as they have been here for 48 years. This is good. Andy won’t sacrifice one for the other. We know this, and I wanted to share that with you.

As for me, I’m still here nearly every single day. Yes, I get to take a little more time away now at the age of 67. I have lots to offer, but the best thing I can offer is to pull over to let some others pass. And I get the privilege of being an advisor or sounding board, and sometimes even heading up a project. There’s still a lot of meaningful work and fun left for me — things I can do to help Andy along his path and help our employee-owners build the company. And for the most part, Andy seems confident that I can work independently without doing too much harm! I do love to help. I also know my way around the campus and even know a few shortcuts.

Seriously, though, when I hired Andy 11 years ago, I told people that I’m living to watch him soar. I’m still doing that today and can’t think of a better thing to do for years to come.

Congratulations on your new responsibilities, Andy. You can count on my help and support!