Wakefield Company Connected To Workplace Massacre Flourishes
WAKEFIELD (CBS) – Almost 12 years ago, a crazed gunman claimed the lives of seven people in a workplace shooting the day after Christmas in Wakefield. Many people thought the company itself, Edgewater Technology, would also not survive. But as Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve found out, it is considered one of the fastest growing public companies in the country.
Walk the halls of Edgewater Technology with CEO Shirley Singleton and you see a successful business. You will also see a small memorial plaque.
It was eleven and half years ago when a troubled angry employee, Michael “Mucko” McDermott murdered seven co-workers. He was drugged up and firing an AK-47. He was furious the IRS was collecting back taxes from his paycheck.
“It was very long period of time. It was very frightening.”
Executive Assistant Peg Lynch was there that cold December day and only survived by hiding under a desk.
“It is certainly something that is with us all of the time,” she says. “I mean I think of our seven colleagues and friends all of the time, pretty much everyday.”
In the months and years following the workplace massacre, the company lost ten million dollars or one third of its business. There was talk of changing the company name but CEO Shirley Singleton said no.
“I understand through the rumor mill that people were making bets on how long we were going to last and that just made me want to survive even more,” she says.
But this homegrown company did more than survive. It flourished. Today there are four times as many workers. Last year revenue went past the 100 million dollar mark. And recently the Boston Business Journal named it the 19th fastest growing public company in the country.
CEO Singleton says with regards to the workplace violence, “After you have that happen to you nothing else looks as daunting.”
And now tomorrow company executives will all be in New York chosen for the distinct honor of ringing the closing bell at the NASDAQ exchange.
Singleton says, “We miss our friends, we think about them all the time and we wish they were here celebrating with us.”
In Wakefield, a single cherry tree honors those who died, planted by a company that somehow survived.
Michael McDermott is serving seven consecutive life sentences in a Massachusetts maximum security prison.