Poetry in Motion
Meza had hired James Snider only a year before, to replace another general manager who didn't work out. "He didn't see it [the recession] was affecting us," remembers Meza, a big man with a stubbly beard and tousled salt-and-pepper hair. "But I saw how it would-and soon. Also," he adds with a smile, "James is very paternalistic. He's like a mother hen with his employees."
"It's a strength and a weakness," admits the fresh-faced Snider, who's thirty-three but has the self-possession of someone twice his age. "I didn't feel we'd exhausted every other possible option. And I felt like we'd invested a lot in these employees-and that they'd invested a lot in the company."
Snider was the manager, but Meza was the owner-and if Snider couldn't cut costs, he would. "I told him I was coming back [to run the company]," Meza recalls of the October 2008 showdown. "And that was enough to get him to make the moves that had to be made. He learned the hard way."