Culture Club

The Pedestal Source/Xylem Design Culture Club is not for fans of obscure 80’s bands.  It’s not that kind of Culture Club.  But we did have our second meeting of what we call the Culture Club last week.  While it’s certainly an opportunity to hang out and have a meal with our ultra-cool co-workers, and to discuss a few of the ins and outs of the pedestal display business,  it’s really more about sitting down as a group and not only discussing what the culture of our company is, but moving towards the definition of what the culture will be.  This is achieved through defining our values; first individually, then collectively.  Each employee has been given a long list of values and asked to rank each one in order of importance.  Then, after everyone’s thoughts and opinions are heard, our fearless leader Greg Glebe will take a lot of the input and formulate it into the “Stone Tablets” that reflect his values for the company.

The #1 rule of the Culture Club is this:  Leave Your Ego At The Door!  The ego is always and only self-serving. We value serving each other and serving our customers and vendors.  The #2 rule of the Culture Club is this:  Don’t forget about rule #1!  This is part of what we call the “basic” values: honesty, integrity, kindness, respect, and humility. Without the starting point of these basics, the discussion of our cultural company values is a moot point.  So when our employees bring these basics with them, we have a good, common starting point.

Greg came up with the idea of the Culture Club, and believes that by defining what we value, we can move more intentionally towards nurturing a culture that draws the best out of everyone.  As the meeting progresses, certain values rise to the top. Values like:  “Wowing the Customer”, “Over-communicating”, “A Fun Work Environment” and a desire for “Continuous Self-Improvement”.  As we move forward with our Culture Club meetings, we hope to move closer and closer to defining what that culture will look like. Because ultimately, culture is the key and values are the constant point of reference that great cultures are built on. Making pedestals may be the nuts and bolts of our business, but our mission is so much more.

How the High Park Fire Affected Us at Pedestal Source

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No alarm clock can awaken you with the sense of panic that the smell of thick, heavy smoke can do. But in the early, pre-dawn hours of June 10th, that’s exactly what Pedestal Source team member Emily awoke to; and she knew what was coming next. Indeed, the eerie silence was broken at 5am with the phone call to evacuate. In utter shock that the fire could actually be that close, she took only what couldn’t be replaced, and left her home not knowing if she would see it again. The days that followed were filled with stress, anxiety and a helpless feeling of knowing there was nothing she could do. Hoping that going to work would provide some normalcy, it only added to the stress. Her office window faced directly towards where her house was, complete with a view of the billowing smoke and a constant reminder that her house could be a pile of ash by now.

Here in Fort Collins, CO we have recently had our world shaken by the High Park Fire. The images of devastation have been hard to view, and the stories of loss have been heartbreaking. And while we all have joined in the sentiments of many of our community members in thanking the firefighters, it wasn’t until this past weekend that I really understood what I was being thankful for.

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My family and I decided to take a drive on Sunday to view some of the burn area. I was immediately struck by how seemingly random the fire was, but at the same time how selective it seemed. Burned vegetation yet a wooden fence untouched. A row of mail boxes with a random one melted to the ground. Blackened, charred, dark as coal trees in one spot and not 20 yards away the greenest and most normal looking, unaffected trees you’ve ever seen.

And the houses as well. We saw our share of destroyed structures, but in the case of so many houses, the building was spared. With Emily’s house, the fire came within 200 yards, and in some cases in her neighborhood the fire burned right up to the foundation, but didn’t burn the house. After giving this some thought, you realize what this means. These houses had most likely been protected by firefighters. House after house still standing amongst the charred forests and burnt brush covered hillsides.

Now, it’s easy to understand all the signs. Just on my short drive alone I saw dozens of signs trying to express the un-expressable to the firefighters and emergency personnel. Incredible gratitude. Thank you indeed. Yes, okay. It’s their “job” right? But the unpredictable nature of fire automatically puts these men and women in harms way. They risked their lives to save someone else’s memories. Someone else’s hard work. Someone else’s reality. For that, our community can express no adequate words of thanks.

Community. Although just a bunch of individuals, together we make up a collective consciousness that keeps us bound together on a certain level. Here at this company, we join in with our community in saying “thank you”. We say it because we know the firefighters would do the same for any us. Emily’s relief of her house being spared was tempered of course by knowing so many people were not so fortunate. But it’s the same community that thanked the firefighters that now helps the devastated, less fortunate ones pick up the pieces. It’s what community does, and we’re proud to be a part of it. 

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View our Pinterest board dedicated to the High Park Fire here

Buying or Renting Trade Show Pedestals: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

The start of the trade show is 2 hours away. The set up is going great. Everything so far is looking spectacular. Everything except… Except the fact that the pedestals never arrived from your exhibit supplier. OK, don’t panic. Take a deep breath. You can just set the product up on the floor. Um, no. I know! Steve can hold them, he is sometimes called the human pedestal around the office anyway… Wait! Boxes! Cardboard boxes will hold them! No… the product weighs 40 pounds – an accident waiting to happen. Alright Steve, get your haz-mat suit on we’re down to dumpster diving – just find something we can use as a pedestal!

Has this ever happened to you? Maybe it’s a slight over-dramatization. Or maybe not. Either way, no one wants to end up in a frustrating situation like this. That’s why renting vs. buying display pedestals has turned into one of the classic dilemmas for trade show planners. The lasting impression that you want to present is one that is aesthetically pleasing. Having all of your pedestals show up on time should be the least of your worries. So naturally when considering all aspects of your exhibit the question arises: should I rent or should I buy the display pedestals for the upcoming trade shows? Whether you’re a large Fortune 500 company or a small company with a local and regional focus, budget concerns will figure prominently in marketing decisions, especially where the ROI can be somewhat tricky to assess. There is no doubt display pedestals play a significant role in the look and feel of your trade show exhibit. But is it really necessary to invest your money in purchasing your pedestals? Here are five questions every event exhibit planner should ask themselves when considering whether to rent or buy the display pedestals for a trade show.

1. What are my quality requirements?

You put so much time and energy into the planning and preparation of your trade show exhibit. The aesthetic quality of the display pedestals must be top notch. The last thing you want is for this to be a wild card in your exhibit setup. So how do you ensure that the pedestals you will be using meet your high standards? Renting can offer you a tremendous amount of flexibility if your shows are seldom and if it’s acceptable that the quality and style vary a bit from show to show. However, if you have very specific needs for style, color and size, buying will allow you to control all of these aspects. It also allows you to inspect the pedestals for quality control days or weeks before the show to ensure the condition. It can be incredibly frustrating to realize at the last minute that there are damaged or missing pedestals in your rental inventory!

2. What are my time constraints for the upcoming show?

We’ve all had the last-minute trade show entry. Perhaps you have overlapping shows or need additional pedestals for a larger space. The reality is that you just may not have the time to put in an order to purchase pedestals. In these cases, renting gives you the flexibility to work on very short turnaround times. However, many quality pedestal manufacturers have pedestals in stock or pedestals that can be custom-made and shipped within a couple of days. This allows you to remain consistent with the style and color of your other exhibit pieces.

3. What do I need to consider as far as storage?

Let’s be honest: storage is an added long term cost. Sometimes it feels like you need a small warehouse just for your trade show materials! For some, this is just not an option. You can’t keep overhead costs down if you have to figure out how to store bulky trade show exhibits. Renting, however, alleviates this problem altogether. Allowing storage space to be the rental company’s concern solves a big headache. With that said, it’s probably worth the time to really consider just how much space you need to store your pedestals. Many pedestal manufacturers are aware of this problem for businesses and offer portable, collapsible pedestals that allow for easy storage and travel. Suddenly, space will become a non-issue.

4. How often will I be using the pedestals?

This question is really the crux of the issue regarding renting or buying your trade show pedestals. Do you have only one show per year that you attend? Or occasionally do you have two or more shows happening simultaneously that you need to add additional pedestals to your stock? Then renting may be the best option for you. There is simply no need to purchase and store pedestals that get so little use. But maybe you are the trade show king, a real road warrior attending multiple trade shows a year. Perhaps your pedestals do double-time and you need them to display items in your office. Then buying would be the best option. Your pedestals will pay for themselves in no time, and as stated before, you get to control the quality, style and color.

5. What’s it going to cost me?

This is where the rubber meets the road and obviously goes hand in hand with Question 4. Many portable trade show display pedestals can be purchased for as low as $75 and will pay for themselves within 3 or 4 shows. Renting pedestals does offer flexibility especially where storage is concerned, but can become expensive over the long run. Again, the question of cost will be answered by analyzing how much you will be using your pedestals.

The question of renting vs. buying spills over into many aspects of your business, especially when it comes to your marketing materials. In addition, perhaps there are some general philosophical questions that need to be asked: How important are trade shows to your business? Are they part of your long-term marketing strategy? If so, the materials you use will say a lot about your company on the big stage. Consequently, your pedestals will say a lot about you as well. Hopefully, these guidelines will serve to aid you in making the best decision for your unique situation thereby resulting in achieving the right balance between aesthetics and economics.