Des stopped just outside the conference room door and peered in, hoping to get a sense of what all the yelling was about before he made his entrance. He was completely startled by the amount of anger he felt radiating from the people in the room.
A Filipino-American woman with short, straight, brown hair—Janet Bantay, COR-Med’s chief talent officer—was standing with both hands flat on the table in front of her, her head jutting up and directly toward a tall, balding, thin man in his mid-40s, wearing rimless, round glasses over a long, sharp nose. This was Peter Durso, the head of R&D, known to everyone as “Spec,” which was short for “specifications.” Spec was mirroring Janet’s posture right back at her, even down to the jutting head, like bulls staring each other down. It was obvious that each was furious with the other.
Behind them at the table sat Mateo Torres, COR-Med’s executive vice president of sales, with his head down, staring at a smart phone in his lap. He was the youngest of the group—perhaps in his late 20s or early 30s. He had meticulously coifed brown hair, a chiseled jaw covered in trendy stubble, and was dressed snappily in a herringbone sports jacket, crisp black slacks, and a light blue dress shirt with French cuffs and silver cufflinks. Mateo, whom everyone called “Matt,” seemed surprisingly untroubled by the tension in the room.
At the back, behind the others and next to the picture window, Des spotted Karl Schneider, head of IT, whose ...