Chairman and CEO, Founder
Kenneth R. Kleve
President and COO
Michael F. Bader
Chief Inspiration Officer
When MaestroSoft was just a dream of two of its original founders, Jay Fiske and Johnny Johnson, they met a person who would change their lives, and the lives of countless others. Michael Bader was the inspirational force that gave Jay and Johnny the energy to "go for it" and launch MaestroSoft in 1996. With Michael added to the founding team, MaestroSoft was born.
Early in the life of MaestroSoft, Michael served as the Vice President of Marketing and developed the unique style of the company. He personally called each of our original customers and developed a friendship with each that caused customers to want to help us grow. Through a referral network of satisfied customers, MaestroSoft grew and became the leader in auction management software. Michael Bader, with his friendly way, and willingness to reach out to each and every customer, built a legacy for the company that continues today, where every customer is special, and valuable. Michael's attitude toward our customers created the "corporate culture" of MaestroSoft.
What many of these customers didn't know is that for nearly a decade Michael Bader had been fighting for his life by battling a series of brain tumors. Always the optimist, he saw the glass as half full, he found a silver lining in every cloud, and inspired others to keep their chin up when times got a bit tough. He never focused on his own needs because he was too busy looking out for the needs of those around him. Because of his constant concern for how everyone around him was doing, we named him the company's CEO - Chief Empathy Officer. No one would have blamed Michael for feeling sorry for himself as his battle with cancer became critical. He would have nothing to do with self-pity, however. He never wanted sympathy, he never asked for any special treatment. All he wanted to do was help others and make sure their needs were satisfied.
Michael never let business get in the way of having a good time, and he never let having a good time get in the way of conducting business. He had an incredible business sense, and had the common sense to know when it was good for business to "lighten up" a bit - which is why to this day if you visit MaestroSoft on a Friday you will find many of us wearing Hawaiian shirts. Michael taught us that Hawaiian shirts should be worn on Fridays or you would be made to wear a grass skirt and show us your best Hula!
Michael loved cars, all cars, but especially American cars. He owned three classics: a '57 Thunderbird, a '57 Cadillac Limousine, and a '63 Buick Riviera. He could play classical music of his own creation that could entertain and soothe your soul for hours, even though he could neither read nor write a note. His music came from the heart and often he would sit down at a piano in the lobby of a hotel and start playing until he drew a crowd. No one would know he was a guest, not a hired entertainer. His favorite quote was from Sir Winston Churchill, "Never give in..." and he never did.
Michael would remind us that at MaestroSoft, "we are saving lives through software." He truly believed that. It was his view that by supplying the best software in the industry, software that would help organizations significantly increase their revenue, we were at some level saving lives because that extra revenue, gained through efficiency, would some day find a cure for cancer, or help get a few more children adopted, or provide care for the needy. As the Chief Empathy Officer he made sure we all saw his vision, and believed in it as well. We did, and we still do.
On October 4, 2003 Michael lost his long battle with cancer. He has since been promoted from CEO to CIO - Chief Inspiration Officer. He will hold this title for our company forever. It has not been easy building our company from scratch, and without his inspiration and continual optimistic outlook many of us might have given up long ago during the tougher times. However, we needed only to look at Michael and see his fighting spirit, his optimistic outlook in the face of adversity, and his willingness to care for the needs of others first, to be inspired.
We all miss Michael, but he remains close to all of us for what he has given to us, and to the countless people who are helped from the funds raised through the use of our software.
We give thanks for having known him, and bestow the honorary title of CIO, Chief Inspiration Officer, for eternity.