Driven To Excellence

Driven To Excellence
Issue 1 // 4th Quarter // 2012 Category:Development By: Mark Whitaker

Offering their best to bring glory to God.

Any company that has weathered the economic storm that has pummeled our economy over the last five to six years is admirable. A company that has been able to thrive during that time is remarkable. That’s exactly what has been able to accomplish since its inception in 1999.

Leading By Example was founded by a couple of young, energetic entrepreneurs that flat out refuse to accept anything short of winning. David Morken, co-cofounder and CEO, received his bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University and later graduated from the Notre Dame Law School and is a member of the Virginia Bar Association. He served 4 years in the Marine Corps as a Judge Advocate, criminal prosecutor and headquarters company commander. He takes his career seriously, and he takes his recreation seriously.

A word of caution: Think twice before challenging David….at anything! He is a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie and thrives on anything that requires endurance. Some of his adventures include competing in two ultra-marathons, finishing the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii in nine hours and forty three minutes and crossing the United States with a four-man cycling group in the Race Across America in five and a half days. He applies this same zeal to his family, his faith and his business.

When choosing a business partner, the Bible is very clear about choosing someone who is “equally yoked”. There is none who fits those criteria better than Henry Kaestner. Henry received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delaware, and worked for several prominent financial firms in New York, including Arthur Andersen and Merrill Lynch, before forming the partnership with David.

Henry shares the competitive spirit with David, and, whenever possible, spends his lunch break on his mountain bike shredding a favorite trail with some fellow team members or playing ultimate Frisbee in a vacant lot near the office. Henry maintains his role as Executive Chairman, while David is the acting CEO, in charge of the daily operation of the company.

Hanging Ten On The Cutting Edge is a telecommunications company that provides internet and voice solutions. They have over 6,000 customers worldwide, and include industry giants such as Google, Skype and Pinger. Their four products include: Bandwidth: bundled, high-speed internet services for business; Phonebooth: a phone service that provides all of the features required of a business for a fraction of the cost of traditional phone service; iNetwork: a wholesale, robust voice-over-IP, 9-1-1 and SMS service; and Republic Wireless: a breakthrough in wireless cell phone technology that utilizes WiFi, resulting in dramatically lower cell phone bills. The technology that has been developed for this product is sure to be a game changer in the enormous mobile phone industry. made Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest growing companies in 2003 and each of the next four years. David and Henry have both been listed in the Top Forty CEO’s Under Forty list. They have about 300 employees, about 80 of which were hired in the past year. They expect to add another 100 employees to their main office within the next five years. Success is the result of a tenacious desire to produce a superior product.

Walking The Talk

It only takes a few moments after talking with either David or Henry to realize that there is more to the success of their business than technical superiority or outstanding service. They are not driven to excellence for financial gains or industry awards and accolades, but to bring glory to God.

Early on, they agreed that in order to devote the time resources necessary to make it a success, they needed the company to share the values that they possessed personally.

That’s when they developed the “4 Core Values” that embody their culture:

  1. 1. Faith.

They firmly believe that their success has come from God, and that it’s for His glory that they work.

  1. 2. Family.

David and Henry cherish the time that they spend with their wives and children. They encourage their employees to prioritize family time. Without a strong, stable family life, it’s impossible to perform effectively at work.

  1. 3. Work.

The people at love what they do. The success of the company is proof of that.

  1. 4. Fitness.

Staying fit is a lifestyle. They foster active lifestyles and frequently will post YouTube videos of group excursions.

The stability of their company, in the midst of such rapid growth, is a testimony to the “lead by example” leadership model that Henry and David embrace. They have experienced virtually no turnover in their senior management team, which has been a key to helping them meet and exceed their goals. They allow leaders the autonomy make decisions and lead without being micro-managed.

Giving Back

David and Henry are firm believers in the Luke 12:48,

"…to whom much is given, much is required."Luke 12:48

In light of that verse, they have been instrumental in starting three outreach ministries; Durham Cares: a local organization established to match neighbors in need to charities that offer assistance; set up to connect people and organizations that offer their skills and talents to organizations and ministries in need; and CTI: an organization set up to assist ministries and organizations around the world meet their technology needs for little or no cost.

Coming from the financial industry, Henry has a keen eye for analyzing the value of a company. When comparing values of faith-based companies to secular companies, he realized that the faith-based companies were consistently being undervalued, making financing exceptionally difficult. He became active with a non-profit organization, Sovereign’s Capital, to offer financial assistance to Christian businesses. One of his passions is getting Christian businesses the tools they need to be competitive and succeed in the marketplace.

When asked about how maintains its competitive edge, Henry said “We provide superior products and services by hiring the best people and putting them into positions that match their passions and talents. We don’t always do things right, but we learn from our mistakes and get better every day.” They embrace Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”


You Might Also Like: