The planning for Hallam-ICS Day 2018 began back in January. When the temps are in the teens and 20’s it is hard to imagine a perfect 72-degree, sunny June day in Vermont. Each year we review the purpose and goals surrounding a day like Hallam Day. Each year we receive the same feedback and come to the same conclusion that the time, effort, planning and expense involved is 100% worth it. How does that Mastercard commercial go?
- 1 Day
- 1 company
- 5 office locations
- 140 employees and guests
- 140 boxes of Red Kite Caramels
- 11 Planned Activities
- Over 2000 emails
- 100’s of hours of planning
- 1 video crew
- 15 hours of coming together as a company= PRICELESS
Our day began together over breakfast and a few inspiring words from the founder of Hallam-ICS, Dave Hallam. Dave shared some thoughtful words of wisdom about how to be a more conscious individual:
- Tell the truth as you see it.
- Take full responsibility for yourself and your commitments.
- Become more self-aware, to know the truth about yourself.
- Become more aware of others, to be interested in what is truly going with other people.
- Become aware of the impact you have on others, and to see yourself as others see you.
- Become more aware of how the world works, to truly become interested in the truth of things rather than in your opinion of things.
- Create a clear Vision of who you would be if you were the person I’ve just described. And what that would mean not only in your life, but also to the lives of the people around you.
It takes hard work and dedication to meet the sometimes-overwhelming demands that life and a business requires, and it's easy to forget whom you are or where you're going.
That seemed like perfect advice to take with us and start our day. To SEIZE the day in fact! With a video crew in tow to capture our day, we broke into groups and headed out to participate in 11 different organized activities. These activities provided the opportunity for all our employees and guests to come together and get to know each other better.
International Sailing School
The day could not have been more perfect for sailing. There were light winds of about 7-8 knots and the sky a perfect blue with billowy white clouds. Lake Champlain at its best. Most of the folks who signed up for sailing did so with the goal of learning something new and they did from understanding wind direction, boat direction, sail position etc. In addition to learning about sailing, new friendships were formed and old ones rekindled.
Burlington Segway Tours
It’s totally fun! Our crew arrived at BTV Segway feeling a little uneasy. Remember when you were a kid and the neighbor kid down the street brings over unicycle? They ride it like a pro, and you have to demonstrate your skills riding a unicycle when you know that you have none. “It’s easy, there’s nothing to it! Go ahead and take that first step…” A fleet of Segway vehicles were all lined up waiting. Everyone was a little nervous to say the least. It was like the scene in Avatar where you have to pick your flying dragon and bond with it. If you don’t establish a bond, it will likely eat you. Overall, a great time had by all and we are happy to report that there were no fatalities (or any bad incidents)! We probably didn’t look cool but we were going too fast to be too concerned. We toured all over the city, learned some history and new facts and took in some great views. As we finished up, we were allowed to “break ranks” and zoom around the parking lot which was extra fun.
Esc4pe Room Burlington
The name of the escape room was The Gauntlet. It was spy themed with a cold war era vibe. We had 60 minutes to enter a code on a keypad in order to escape the room. A large LED display over the door counted down the time we had left.
The success rate for the Gauntlet is only 28%, despite groups being able to ask for four hints during the 60 minutes. We started slowly as we steadily examined every item in the room. With only 3 minutes left, we finally solved the puzzle! This was team work and creative thinking at its best!
Lake Champlain Lunch Cruise
Our group met down at the waterfront to board the Spirit of Ethan Allen for a lunch cruise. It was a beautiful sunny day with a very nice breeze. We were fortunate with great weather to see great views of Lone Rock Point, Mt. Mansfield, Camels Hump, and the Adirondacks to name a few. By the end of the cruise employees had a delightful lunch and made great connections with fellow employees.
Burlington Brew Tour
There’s nothing quite like a little hops to break down the communication barriers! This was a great day filled with laughs. The tour guide was knowledgeable and interesting. Attendees learned a wealth of information on local beers and the micro craft in general. After being picked up at the Hilton we toured Switchback Brewing, Fiddlehead Brewing, Zero Gravity Brewing and Goodwater Brewing.
Richmond Community Kitchen
The folks at Richmond Community Kitchen were fantastic. We fed our bellies with self-made jambalaya and made great connections with fellow employees from a couple of different offices. The comradery that comes with cooking together is hard to beat.
Snow Farm Vineyard Bike Ride
After parking at the Sandbar State Park and trying to organize the group of 9 we quickly realized it was like trying to herd squirrels so we divided into smaller groups and started our ride. The breeze from the water was chilly (after all, the water is still 50F). Within the first mile, one of our rookies got a flat tire. Fortunately, he was with a group of experienced riders and the tire was changed without too much trouble. We biked on to Snow Farm Vineyard where the group came back together for a catered lunch and vineyard tour. After the tour, we all rode together on a generally northerly route along Lake Champlain. Nice views, good roads, no more flat tires, light breeze and warm sun. After a few hours and many fantastic views, we all arrived back to the starting point with smiles on our faces.
Burlington Paint and Sip
Getting to know fellow employees, co-owners being an ESOP, on a personal level is definitely one of the highlights of the time together.
We all seemed to go into the painting activity with a bit of intimidation having no painting experience but that made us enjoy the time even more.
Then the group chatted about various things but weddings and wedding plans came up as two people in our group were getting married the following week. The studio was cute and comfy. We all learned that art should be a personal expression and you can see that a few of us went a little “off-script” …some choosing vertical rather than horizontal and some leaving out certain parts of the painting like the windmill. We learned that it’s each person’s unique take on life that makes us such a great team.
Arbortrek Zipline Tour
The thrill of jumping off a platform that is 100 feet in the air and whooshing through the woods among the trees is exhilarating. Team building, trust building and creating fond memories together certainly strengthens a company. The day was filled with laughs and leaps of faith!
Sterling Pond Hike
We hiked with colleagues and colleague’s partners and family. We had wives, partners and a child on the trip. We learned the trail we hiked is a favorite skiing trail of Ian Moldovan, which seemed crazy to the non-skiers in the group. The footwear contrast between Vermont residents and those from non-Vermont places was striking, the authentic Vermont people had sneakers, sandals and hand-me-down boots; people from other states had fancy footwear. We all enjoyed Bill Neuburger’s “30 Minutes of Engineering – The Summit Edition” where he explained to us in great technical detail the typical make-up of a mountain’s snow making system as well as the chair lift construction process. It was an awesome day with a lot of great people.
Williston Golf Course
We learned that some folks are much better golfers than they claim to be! The course was beautiful. And the weather perfect.
We had a film crew (a one-man crew) with us for part of the day. After some coaching, one of our team members agreed to be interviewed. We chatted with the camera guy a little bit afterwards and asked him if he’d like to hit a ball or two and he took us up on the offer. Not bad form!
We had a cozy group of 6 who gathered at Sacred Mountain Yoga Studio for a custom-made yoga retreat. Our instructors were Jane Michaud and Jane Lanza. The day started with Immunity Boost Flow yoga. This warming vinyasa sequence was intended to raise a healthy amount of heat and energy to relieve stress, tension and fatigue. We broke for lunch and returned to Sacred Mountain for an afternoon of restorative yoga. It was an incredibly relaxing afternoon!
Part of what makes working at Hallam so great is that we are 100% employee owned. It seemed fitting that the annual ESOP Conference was held the same day as Hallam-ICS Day. Employees who attended this learned about the unique benefits and challenges of employee ownership. This full-day event featured 19 informative workshops one of which included our own President and CEO Keith Flaherty.
At the end of our action-packed day we came back together as a company for dinner. We all had stories to share about our day and general catching up to do. Days like this are what fuel us as a company and strengthen us. It helps us to shorten the hallways between our 5 offices spread across Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and North Carolina. 5 States, 104 employees, 1 inspired company bonded by history, knowledge, fond times and a shared desire to bring great service to our clients.
About the author
Tricia works remotely from Florida (or wherever her motor home is currently parked) for Hallam-ICS in the role of Social Media Coordinator. She comes to Hallam with a background in Office Management and previously owned a small bakery specializing in custom decorated sugar cookies.
Read My Hallam Story
Hallam-ICS is an engineering and automation company that designs MEP systems for facilities and plants, engineers control and automation solutions, and ensures safety and regulatory compliance through arc flash studies, commissioning, and validation. Our offices are located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and North Carolina and our projects take us world-wide.