Monday Milestone #5 – June 5, 1997 Founders Meet – Italy Connection

By Ron Williams August 30, 2021

Every partnership has its beginning.  For the DucieClub Cofounders, Jetje and Ron Williams, it began Jun 5, 1997, during bible study in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy.  We were there as students for the summer semester of Texas A&M’s Study Abroad program.  Castiglion Fiorentino is a city in the Tuscan Region of Italy and about an hr. train ride from Pisa.  Which I visited 3 days later on my 20th birthday.  Jetje’s 1st impression of me that night was someone that talked A LOT and yet had passion behind what they were talking about.  Which comes out loud, clear, and forever when the Lebron James of the supply chain  gets to talking about DucieClub’s mission and vision .

For me I remember looking up during the welcome celebration the town threw for us at the multipurpose facility, and watching her on the dance floor and seeing time stop.  That’s when I knew that the person I just met, who probably thought I haven’t stopped talking since we left bible study, was someone that we would do great things together.  Almost 24 years later would of never imagined quite the fairy tale story we’ve shared thus far.

I still consider our 1st unofficial date was watching Michael Jackson, in Milan.  For the record she asked me to go.  In her defense, she asked a few other classmates as well.  Jetje remembers it as the guy she just met that in one bite ate nearly her entire McDonald’s burger on the way to the concert.  Then, drank her liter of bottle water in almost one swig, while leaving bun particles floating in the backwash.   Since then I’ve made good on replacing her McDonald’s meal and bottled water. Taking the usual to new heights, such as our skydiving proposal (my 25th birthday),  would be a running theme throughout our personal and professional relationships.  Guess you can say my head has been moonwalking in the clouds ever since time stopped in Italy.


Just so happened the one day our train didn’t operate to return back to school was the night of the concert. We (Jetje pictured) slept on the steps, bundled up with what we had, and camped out with the local community that were at the train station that night as well.  Like so many journeys in life and entrepreneurship you have to be flexible, make plans on the fly, and sometimes you just have to wait for the next train for your journey to continue.  No different than us continuing our CodeLaunch journey on the DFW CodeLaunch Train.  After falling just 1 round short of the Atlanta CodeLaunch Finals.

Do check back on Monday, September 13, 2021 (taking Labor Day off) to read Monday Milestone #6 – 6th Grade: 1st Taste of Excess Inventory Case Study – Hottest and Greasiest.  Hot enough that a jump in the Mediterranean Sea would have been a great way to cool off.  Thanks for reading the blog.