By Paul Jacques
I first met Paul Ekstrand over 20 years ago. I was a new CIO for a large national non-profit that had never had a CIO before. One of the first people I hired had a side gig working for Paul doing Web Development, an area that we needed serious help with… and fast. I was immediately struck by Paul’s honesty and transparency; never overpromising and always delivering. We quickly became friends as well as colleagues. Throughout my career, every time I landed at a new company or headed up a new non-profit board my first call was to Paul. “Hey, these guys need major web help.” Usually followed up with, “By the way, they have no money.” Paul’s response was always the same: Do not worry, brother, we are on it. And he and his team always were. Paul made me look a lot smarter than I am and for that I will be eternally grateful. We also soon realized that we both have a love of music – specifically, 80’s hard rock and metal. Prior to COVID, we saw many great concerts together and now that we are getting back to normal, I cannot wait for that to continue in full force!
I have seen and known Paul as an exceptional businessman, friend, father, and human being. His love for his family is inspirational, and his faith is solid as a rock. Meeting Paul and becoming friends with him has been the greatest gift that I have received from my 20-plus years in business. His thoughtful, measured response to all the many “variables” that arise in the working world has been a true lesson in patience, tact, and nuance.
Paul Ekstrand is the living embodiment of “Service Above Self” and the 4 Way Test of Rotary. In business, in his personal life, in all things – he is honest, ethical, faithful, and inquisitive. My friendship with him has enhanced my life in ways I cannot describe. Simply through his actions, words, and demeanor I have been inspired to be a better human being. I got him into this thing called Rotary and now, as your new President, you can see the man I know and love. His impact on the club, as in all other areas of his life will be profoundly positive and make a lasting impact. Of that, I am sure.
El Rodeo note: Paul Jacques sponsored Paul Ekstrand into LA5 in November 2012. Thank you, Paul Jacques!