|Our longtime helpers|
Here are the folks we've depended on over the last 3 decades of our little cottage industry, some of whom have been with us for over 25 years. They've been loyal, supportive, cheerful, hardworking and in tune with our passion for fine quality work and personal freedom. These are treasured friends, as well as appreciated workers, and they have helped us maintain the excellence of every aspect of our operation. Several are also Kadon stockholders.
The laser shop:
Working at home:
On the road:
Gone but not forgotten:
Josiane Smith is the office manager and production coordinator. Her ability to keep track of countless steps, items, tasks and orders is a gift. More than once, though, we caught her writing memos in ink on her palm, to remember to take home. "Slips of papers can get lost," says the supreme organizer. She runs the gamut from gluing to sewing in turning components into finished products. In the shipping department, Josie wields the tape-gun with the gusto of an Annie Oakley. After seeing to it that all others are assigned their particular projects, "everything else" is done by moi, the French-born Mrs. Smith notes. When not tackling Kadon stuff, Josiane does yoga, works in her lush garden, and converses with her three loving felines, Flash, Annie, and Panda. She lost her beloved husband, Dave, in May 2002.
Rita colors in the Game of Solomon game mats and pitches in with other production as needed, helping us heroically to meet deadlines and rush jobs.
There is a marvelous view from her kitchen across the rolling farmlands of Carroll County, Maryland, serene and fertile. A warm, old-fashioned family feeling permeates Rita's home, populated variously by up to 9 cats, her husband, Tony, an extended family of sisters, cousins, brother, nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors, a son, a daughter, daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren. In the summer the action moves to the large swimming pool and patio out back. Permit us to name-drop: Rita's son, Steve Krauth, has his name on the credits of the animated film, "Prince of Egypt," for doing computer magic for Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks in California.
Thomas G. Atkinson came on board on Labor Day, 2004, through a serendipitous meeting with Kate at the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston. Turns out he'd known of us and been buying our puzzles for at least 10 years.
From the first moment, he fit like a hand in a glove, and we wondered how we had managed all those years without him. He looks wonderful in costume at our Renaissance Festival booth, and his familiarity with our products quickly made him a fine teacher. His many talents involve him in every facet of our designing, wood and laser production, presentation and logistics.
Thomas has been making costumes since shortly after his birth (his "Baby With Bib and Carrots" was voted "Best Use of Roots and Tubers" at GerberCon '64). He attended his first Con in 1976 and has been a permanent fixture since. His costumes include "The Empire State Building," "Chernobyl Clean-Up Crew," "2010 Pajamas," "Winter's End (Potted Plant)," "Spaceman Spiff," "Lot's Wife," and a score of re-creation outfits, including Star Wars and Star Trek. Here we see him in his Jedi Knight garb.
Thomas is one of the world's greatest Star Wars fans. He started collecting Star Wars toys and memorabilia when the first movie came out in 1976, and he has not stopped since. His collection forms the basis of The Star Toys Museum, of which Thomas is Curator. In 2007, a portion of his collection was on exhibit for several months at the Geppi Museum in Baltimore. An all too short interview about his collection is on YouTube.
Thomas has a great affection for the classic tangrams puzzle, and his car is instantly recognizable by the several designs attached to it with magnetic pieces. The designs change with the seasons, including a Christmas tree and Santa Claus. His former car sported a Star Wars paint design and was on exhibit in Baltimore's 2007 ArtScape parade. Its brazen theft in 2010 left a lasting sense of loss.
Empowered by the State of Maryland to perform weddings, Thomas officiated at the marriage of Eric Bare and Meshele Merchant. It was a beautiful and poignant ceremony.
Thomas lives at Meerkat Meade with his spouse, writer Don Sakers.
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