A personal reflection . . . By Antonio Acosta
It was an unlikely get-to-together — the presidents of a telecommunications and concrete company, and a journalist.
What could this trio possibly have in common?
Bill Eckles of BEVCOMM and John Rivisto of Wells Concrete are successful businessmen, and then there’s Antonio Acosta, well, let’s just say I’m a writer at the Faribault County Register.
Despite our different professional backgrounds, we shared one thing — we knew David Piggott, executive director of Go Minnesota, who died on March 28.
On Friday, April 3, at 8:30 a.m. we were flying out of Fairmont Airport to attend Piggott’s funeral and pay our respects to a friend of just a few months.
It’s not the first time Eckles has flown cross country. This time the destination was Superior, Wis.
While Eckles piloted the plane, Rivisto assisted with radio communications. I was just a passenger, so it gave me time to think during a flight lasting less than one hour.
Why was I so compelled to go to Superior that day?
Eckles and Rivisto at least had an apparent reason.
As board members of the Faribault County Regional Development Corporation, they hired Piggott to run the non-profit development organization — now called Go Minnesota.
Piggott was a successful economic developer, so there was a natural bond with Eckles and Rivisto — also high achievers in their respective fields.
On the other hand, I had only talked with Piggott a few times — mostly for stories I was working on for the Register.
When we arrived at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church it dawned on me — Piggott and I had at least two similar qualities.
Near the entrance, pictures filled bulletin boards telling Piggott’s life story of 48 years.
There were baby photos, some when he was a small boy and those of a young married couple, he with his wife Colleen and their two daughters, Claire and Grace.
One picture caught my eye — Piggott sporting a curly, frizzy hairdo, much like what was known as an “Afro” back in the 1970s.
In another photo, Piggott appears to be strutting his stuff in attire that included what looked to be a brown leather blazer.
I, too, at one time had that back-to-the-70s look.
My kids say my hair was so kinky they wonder how my wife could have married me looking like that.
Businesspeople who knew Piggott might say he always spoke what was on his mind, at times being a little too honest and not mincing words.
I have been told I have that tendency also. And, sometimes it gets me in trouble.
On our way back to the airport to drop off a rental car, Rivisto and Eckles were reminiscing about Piggott.
Rivisto notices that the vehicle ahead of us is the hearse that’s carrying Piggott to his final resting place.
I couldn’t help but think, even though he was gone, he was still leading the way for friends of Faribault County.
Several days before Piggott left with his daughters on a trip to New York we talked about the direction the county was heading economically. The conversation shifted to his family.
When we parted, Piggott asked me to contact him when he returned from New York so I could interview him for a possible story.
Needless to say, that never happened.
David, I don’t know where you are right now.
We have all been told that one’s destination after death is either up or down.
I hope it’s the “good place” where you’ve gone. If so — I don’t know if it would help — could you put in a good word for me?
If we should meet again, remember, you owe me one. An interview, that is.
Something tells me we’ll start out talking about business and the successes of Go Minnesota, but it won’t end that way.
Maybe, I can tell you a little bit about my kids.