Team Member Spotlight Q&A with Mike Kamish
Updated: Sep 14, 2020
This week we sat down with Mike Kamish, CEO and founder of Continual Care Solutions, to ask him ten questions about himself and the company. Mike previously founded Bio-Optronics with his wife, Jan. Mike hopes to bring that same innovation to the health and human services non-profit world by developing a cohesive software solution designed exclusively for them. Check out his most recent blog article, A Philosophy of Entrepreneurship: Do Something That Matters.
1. What is your role at Continual Care Solutions?
I am the founder and CEO of Continual Care Solutions. As CEO, my role is in many respects that of “chief cheerleader” and I like to think, “chief visionary”. My job is to develop a vision of where we want to be as a company next year, the year after, and then five years from now, and then put together a team to translate that vision into reality. It can be a challenging at times, but having been CEO for much of my life, I’ve learned to accept the uncertainty and the “roller coaster ride” of small business and have come to embrace it and enjoy it.
2. Why did you decide to join the Continual Care Solutions team?
After exiting my prior company, Bio-Optronics, my wife Jan and I were at a crossroads. We could retire and hang out the rest of our lives, or we cold take on a big project about which we both felt a lot of passion and could invest emotionally in. Taking on the big challenge and starting another “adventure” is the choice we made – and the way we did it was by starting Continual Care Solutions. Was it the right choice? Of course you never know for certain until you can look back in hindsight – but after a career that has spanned four decades, I can honestly say that I have never regretted taking on big and challenging projects or dealing with an uncertain future. Somehow, and sometimes in surprising ways, things have always worked out for the best. That seems to be the case here so far. In a relatively short time, we’ve been fortunate to be able to connect with a really great team made up of some really wonderful people and we’ve been able to connect with some really great customers. A successful start to this new adventure! 3. What is your favorite thing to work on as part of your job?
I like building puzzles and seeing how the image starts to emerge as the puzzle is built up piece by piece. That’s the part of my work at Continual Care Solutions that I like most. I like to see the software solution start to emerge as it is built, piece by piece. But what is especially fun for me about what I do, that unlike a puzzle where when the pieces are together the story ends – with Continual Care when the pieces are together the story is just beginning. That’s when people start using it and start to reap the benefits. It’s very personally rewarding for me to see people using “my baby” and that it brings them value.
4. What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far?
The lessons I’ve learned over the years probably sound like clichés, but for me they ring true:
Passion carries the day. People who truly want to achieve something can overcome many obstacles and there are many times when the only difference between success and failure is because the person leading the charge wants it so much that they cannot even conceive of failure. Their passion can carry the whole team.
People can rise to the occasion. Certainly, there are exceptions, but for the most part, when given the opportunity and a supportive environment, employees, colleagues, and customers can do incredible things. In many cases they’ve been beaten down by past job and life experiences – but with the right support they can truly bloom.
Honesty and friendship are ultimately all that matter. Some of my former customers are now among my best friends. It isn’t because we agreed on everything – but it's because we treated each other with respect, empathy, and absolute honesty. Some people in business think you have to out maneuver someone to “win” but in my view, when the dust settles on our lives, none of our “deliverables” mean anything – what does have meaning is our friendships and that’s true for us and our customers too. So, lets share the journey and make it a nice one for all of us.
5. Before working at Continual Care Solutions, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
Prior to Continual Care Solutions, my wife and I were founders of Bio-Optronics. When we started “Bio” we were pretty much a custom software house – so I had the opportunity to experience a huge variety of intellectually challenging projects and to meet all sorts of interesting people. During those early years I worked with the FAA on a system to put out fires on aircraft, I developed controls for a plutonium purification facility, I worked on security systems for museums and high security government facilities, a baseball card printing factory, I developed a process for mass producing Vitamin-E, I worked in operating rooms and copier factories. The list goes on. It was a really fascinating and interesting career and I was blessed with meeting many really smart and passionate people.
6. If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
I have always had an interest in art. I read about it, I dabble in it as an amateur painter, and I love going to art museums wherever they can be found. If I had to do another job – I think I would like to be an apprentice for a successful artist. There are a few I have followed over the years and have connected with via email. I think it would be really exciting for me to be a student of one of those talented people and perhaps pick up a few pointers that I could use in my own work.
7. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have few hobbies that I like to spend time on … there are certain authors that I like and have read all of their books multiple times, I do some painting, I have a pretty extensive Sherlock Holmes pastiche collection and look to read those, I am an amateur builder of very elaborate wooden ship models and part of a model ship building club, and up until recently I spent 10 years studying the Japanese martial “Iaido”, the art of the Japanese sword. Those are all important and fun interests for me, but of everything I do, I like most to be hiking and simply being with my lovely wife Jan, and when I can, with my daughter and daughter in-law Jen and Kelly. It seems that we have endless things to talk about and share, so whenever I can, that’s where I want to be.
8. Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
That’s a tough question because I can think of four great vacation destinations. Each with very close and wonderful friends that made the experiences very rewarding and memorable. One of those trips was renting a house in Cornwall, UK, in a little quaint fishing village on the side of a cliff overlooking the English channel (that was originally prompted by watching the TV series “Doc Martin”). Another was travelling the Canadian Northeast of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island with dear friends. Canada is a great place to visit and there is much to see and experience including the amazing tides of the Bay of Fund. A third was exploring Utah and the American West with another group of friends and not only experiencing the great American National Parks like Zion and Arches, but also driving off-road ATVs up my friend’s family mountain and finally understanding what is meant by free-range cattle and sheep. And the fourth favorite was an outgrowth of my shipbuilding hobby, that led my wife and I to get to know a great family in Portugal who took us in as family members and gave us a great experience over two trips to Portugal and one by them to the US (and with more to come). Each one of those trips is a story in itself because through this unique journey of life, we have somehow managed to develop great friends in far off places and have been able to maintain and build on those relationships.
9. Where is your favorite place to eat?
People tease me and Jan about this – but one of my favorite places is the Landmark Diner in East Rochester, NY. Pre-COVID I think we went there five times a week. Its simple diner food – but one of those places where when you go there enough “everyone knows your name”!
10. What makes Continual Care Solutions special?
In addition to being an entrepreneurial Software as a Service (SaaS) company with the mission of developing a compelling product and sustainable business, Continual Care Solutions also has a very special and personally meaningful ‘mission-driven’ aspect. We are trying to improve the lives of those at-risk and vulnerable by providing the tools that the front-line care workers need to succeed. That’s a pretty cool mission! And it feels great because instead of just talking about “if only we could change the world”, we are taking tangible steps to do that. It’s overwhelming at times and humbling at other times, but always inspiring and always special!
To read Mike's blog article, 'A Philosophy of Entrepreneurship: Do Something That Matters', click here.