Business Tripping: Milwaukee, WI & Davenport, IA

Another day, another opportunity to head off on a…field trip…to learn a bit more about how our products are used, and those using them.  For this little excursion, I had to cross state lines into Wisconsin for the first time ever.  Despite being a Midwesterner, there is a lot this side of the lake that I’ve got yet to explore.  While not exactly tourism, it did involve a new city, and the whole experience was indeed ‘fun’.

One of our product lines is heavily involved in athletic surfaces, not limited to but especially baseball fields.  This time around we went and met with the head groundskeeper for the Milwaukee Brewers, took a stroll around the infield, and learned about some of the science involved in keeping it game ready.  I think it’s a common misconception that all they have to do is mow the lawn, but the amount of 24/7 attention paid to the playing surface would surprise most people, as it did me.  I was certainly impressed at the passion the head groundskeeper used in discussing ever attention to detail, and the reasons behind their maintenance decisions.  There was plenty of learning, but we squeezed in some picture time as well.  My two requests were to take part in a sausage race, and to go down Bennie Brewer’s slide, neither of which were fielded.
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A few weeks later a car full of us made the three hour drive over to Davenport, Iowa for the IECA Great Lakes/Great Rivers Chapter Conference.  While we were going to have a booth there to promote our products, there wasn’t going to be nearly the foot traffic of the Nashville show.  I did not take the following photograph (nor the next (or technically, the one above for that matter)) but this was the first time I had made it to the Mississippi River, I think.  There were a number of bridges, a floating casino, and lots of old houses in abutment to the bank.  It definitely had some of that old American charm, though I’d really like to see a bit more of the south for that.

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The real opportunity here was in the various educational seminars that we could sit in on.  We each caught a couple, including one where a coworker spoke on ‘Vegetating the Impossible’, which was really good.  Using a great deal of pictures, he highlighted some of our recent flagship projects, and showed the versatility of our product.  The Trump International in Scotland was a good example, as it needed to resist ridiculous winds during seeding on bare sand.

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On the second and final night of this conference, there was a charity bowling event being held for any and all that wanted to take part.  We were one of the larger sponsors at the event, but of course we wanted to take part in this anyway.  We had some troubles with the lanes, and even I knowing very little about bowling could tell that they were in dire need of upkeep.  This was tough for those in our group accustomed to rolling regularly, and hitting big numbers.  The lower scores, and subsequent expressions of frustration from my peers were particularly amusing to me.  There was however food and drink aplenty which more than covered any equipment shortcomings.  We followed up the bowling with a birthday celebration for one of the team before heading off to bed.

IMG_20140430_190608I’m happy to have been a part of this event, as it did offer up some good opportunities for learning, but also to bond with my coworkers over some road tripping.  Iowa too was another new state for me, and another pin in my map.  I can’t really imagine that I would have rushed to get to either this city or state of my own volition either, so going for work was indeed a bonus.

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