Alyssa Biscomb went looking for a job. She was hired, made some close friends and, ultimately, found the love of her life in Scott Schuldt.
Scott was a partner at ATC Scientific, the North Little Rock company Alyssa wanted to work for in 2008, and during her interview he was all business.
"The company was small. I think I was the fourth or fifth employee that they hired," she says. "He was very focused, taking things very seriously."
Alyssa's had worked in the microbiology lab at Arkansas State University, Beebe, and her experience made her a good hiring prospect for the job of lab analyst.
It briefly occurred to Alyssa that Scott was attractive, but she didn't think of him as a romantic prospect. She had been dating her boyfriend for seven years. And Scott was engaged to be married.
"He got married not too long after I started working there. My boyfriend and I went to his wedding," she says.
Then Alyssa's relationship fell apart, and Scott's marriage was short-lived.
Alyssa's mother suggested she find "a good guy" like Scott. Alyssa had watched Scott, her friend, suffer through the end of his marriage and filing for divorce, and she was processing her own breakup as well.
"We both had some healing to do," Alyssa says.
She pondered and then dismissed her mom's idea of Scott as a potential partner.
"I said, 'There's no way. He's so mature and responsible, he would never date an employee,'" she says. "There was no policy against it but I was like, 'I'm never going to put him in that situation because it would be awkward.'"
Alyssa and Scott both grew up in Louisiana. Each time she visited her grandparents there, she brought back peaches for the lab's employees.
"He's an amazing chef, and he said, 'Bring me some peaches and I'll make peach pies for the staff,'" she says.
He invited her over to help him with the pies, and they made peach margaritas that night, too. Not long after that, they had dinner together.
"We hadn't really said anything specific but we both kind of understood it was not just friends getting together anymore," says Scott of that first date.
Scott proposed just three months later.
"That three months, we kept it secret at work because we wanted to make sure it was really going to be something before we rocked the boat," Alyssa says.
Alyssa thought they were going to Ashley's at the Capital Hotel to meet Scott's best friend and his wife.
They had looked at rings by then, but on this evening, he redirected her attention to the other couple, musing about whether they were going to share exciting news about expecting a baby.
She wondered why the restaurant hostess led them through the restaurant to the beautiful wooden door leading to the wine cellar.
"He opened the door, we walked down some stone steps and I could see all of my family -- my mom and my grandparents drove up from Louisiana, my brother was there, and all of his family," she says. "Scott immediately got down on one knee and pulled out a spreadsheet."
Scott is fond of organization and makes many spreadsheets, but this "spreadsheet" was actually crib notes.
"I had a prepared speech, but that was a pretty momentous occasion and I had my little cheat sheet," he says. "It was just me being a nerd about it."
Scott says he and Alyssa had gotten to know each other well while working together and being friends through such challenging times. Each had learned, from past mistakes, what they wanted out of a relationship and found it with each other.
Alyssa says the proposal was perfect.
"My grandmother had helped pick out the ring and we had a lovely I-don't-know-how-many-course dinner in the wine cellar with all of our closest family," she says.
They were married on Oct. 12, 2012, on the lawn of Scott's best friend's home in the Heights.
The newlyweds spent the night at the Capital Hotel and then honeymooned in Mexico.
"Since then a lot has changed," Alyssa says. "Scott has slowly been buying his partners out, and I've moved around a lot in the lab and done a lot of different jobs and helped create some management positions, and I was the first to step into those roles. Today I'm the production manager."
Alyssa is a valuable part of the company, Scott says.
"I'm the 100% owner now and she's my right-hand person," he says. "She runs most of the operations and I run most of the business. She's done every job and learned every thing and done it very responsibly with dedication to the company."
Working together can be challenging but has its benefits, says Scott, who as a small business owner, sometimes finds it tough to find downtime.
"You've got to really like the person," he says. "I always say if my No. 1 goal is to take care of you and your No. 1 goal is to take care of me then we're both taken care of and we both feel the love and those kinds of things."
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The first time I saw my future spouse:
She says: "I thought he was quite nerdy. He had just started a new business and he was so focused and he was really grilling me on those questions."
He says: "I thought she would make an excellent employee."
On our wedding day:
She says: "My grandfather walked me down the aisle. He passed away two years ago and when I look back that was one of those special moments in my life."
He says: "We thought we had hired people to set up everything but it turned out that that was not the case and they just sort of dumped the stuff and I was like, 'Guys, were not watching football, were going to set all this up before my future wife gets here so she doesnt have to deal with it."
My advice on a long happy marriage:
She says: "Compromise and patience and understanding go a long way. Know whats worth pushing boundaries and what isnt."
He says: "People should invest in their future in more permanent ways than whats involved in a real wedding, in a single party, because what you spend is ridiculous. And communication, honesty and respect are important."