June 29, 2018

It's a Parking Lot Party!

On June 8, ES&S associates in Omaha hit the lot for an afternoon of barbecue, bouncing and balloons.

Picture this—you’re standing in the sunshine with a couple of coworkers, koozie-d drink in one hand and a fudgy Omaha Bakery brownie in the other when suddenly, SPLAT. CEO Tom Burt has launched a water balloon into your group.

Easy to imagine? Try VP of Voter Registration and DIMS Victor Williams riding a tricycle around a chalk racecourse—oh, that’s right, you don’t have to. We got it on camera.

The company picnic is an event ES&S associates look forward to with wild anticipation and whetted appetite—what’s a picnic without food? For years, Hardware Support’s Gregg Cryer has been setting up his grill in nearby Elmwood Park, prepping a spread of delicious barbecue for the afternoon’s party on-site. This year, however, he pulled the LC’s Barbecue truck around to the back parking lot.

“This year’s party was planned not by one department, but by associates from all over the company. Their input was instrumental in putting on an event that speaks to our company’s values (especially “Have Fun”) and celebrates our wonderful talent. In the process, we discovered not everyone was able to make it out to the park, and it became our goal to make this event accessible to as many Omaha associates as possible. We couldn’t be happier with the turnout—almost double that of last year!” said Lot Party committee president, Krista O’Malley.

As early as Thursday morning the big white tent could be seen rising from the asphalt as Lot Party associate volunteers began to prepare for the big day. By Friday at noon, the ES&S west parking lot had been transformed into Party Central with the addition of inflatable rides, yard games like cornhole and ladder-ball, and a schedule of events to cater to every interpretation of fun.

While attendees mingled and snacked on party favorites like pulled pork and coleslaw, Benefits and Compliance Manager Tia Bailey announced the winners of raffle prizes: lawn chairs, ES&S store credit, and cold, hard cash. Software Development’s Dirk Zwart heroically hoisted the loudspeaker onto his shoulders to give everyone a better chance of hearing their names called above the chatter.

With lunch concluded, lot partiers filtered out toward the activities. A schedule kept everyone on course—who would want to miss seeing Finance Intern Henry Yocum take first place at knockout or a chance at winning another round of prize-drawing—while water balloons being discreetly passed around by party organizers kept everyone on their toes. (Meanwhile, the inflatable “wipeout” ride kept the marketing team flat on their backs.)

While the party provided attendees an opportunity to get away from their desks and screens, it was clear that competition and fun are values ES&S associates don’t leave at the office door. Values like “Work Hard,” “Talk Straight” and “Have Fun” are emblazoned on the walls and hearts of team members across the company, and if there was one Lot Party activity that summed it all up, it was the final tug-of-war match.

The same fire and determination seen in the eyes of the EVS 6000 certification team could be seen burning in the eyes of this summer’s interns as they positioned themselves along the tug-of-war rope. The same knowledge and expertise that drives our leadership to chase big goals were driving their managers as they spread out along the rope on the other side. When Tom Burt shouted “GO,” the same determination to deliver exemplary results could be seen on faces on both sides of the line.

Laughter, too. The same laughter that echoes in the halls and offices of ES&S could be heard in the lot when the flag crossed the line on the managers’ side—and as the interns demanded a rematch.

“Events like this are such a great example of the culture we have here at ES&S,” commented Tom Burt. “While we are dedicated to our work and to reaching our goals, we are also enthusiastic about having fun - both in the office and in life. Our greatest assets and resources are our people and by investing in them as people first, we invest in the success of this company.”