Registered Rep.: How did you meet?
Bruce Valliant: A blind date set up by one of Mary Ellen's clients and still dear friends. We met over dinner, and ended up having a heated discussion on the merits of research analysts and their impact on the technology industry. I was a national accounts manager for a satellite communications firm; Mary Ellen was with Paine Webber.
RR: Name a professional mentor and briefly describe the impact that person had on your business?
BV: John Tholen, Raymond James Sales Management. He continues to help us look at our respective roles as business owners from an outsider's perspective. In a move nothing short of brilliant, he asked Mary Ellen to present at RJ's national conference. The presentation helped us look at our business more objectively and to see its true strengths through the eyes of others.
RR: Describe your working relationship in three words or less?
Mary Ellen Valliant: Stay on task.
RR: Most recent sailing trip you went on and what you liked most about it?
BV: I helped a client take his 40' sailboat to St. Croix from Annapolis last November — steady 55 knot winds and 35 foot seas — while Mary Ellen stayed in the offices to experience the market carnage. The cold and damp, not to mention rudimentary survival (three boats were abandoned along our route), help you obtain laser-like focus.
RR: How did you celebrate your 25th anniversary?
MEV: Silver roses, champagne and a ring from Tiffany's.
RR: Who packs lunch and cooks dinner?
MEV: Bruce has always packed our children's lunches. Dinner is usually spontaneous.
RR: Do you leave work at work?
MEV: Are you kidding? But we are learning.
RR: Do you think any of your three children might join the family business?
MEV: Yes, but only after they come to realize their parents haven't completely lost their minds. Seriously, there is a good chance one will, but only after some institutional seasoning elsewhere.
RR: Who has the bigger and/or nicer office?
BV: There is an old saying, “when momma's happy, everyone is happy.” Momma has the big office.