Get Ready for the Big Event – the Summer Solstice

Willwork Global Event Services is a leader in exhibition services and event project management.

Now in our 32nd year, Willwork is busy in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets across the United States, with our international business growing strong, as well – particularly in South America and the Pacific Rim.

Willwork operates offices in major metropolitan areas throughout the country.

It is the privilege of Willwork Global Event Services to service a client roster that includes some of the world’s largest, best-known, and most successful multinational corporations … as well as small enterprises with only a few employees and which are on their way to greatness and top-name recognition.

Of course, our business is providing the planning, labor, technology, multimedia, marketing support, and logistics services that allow for the success of events, exhibitions, meetings, conferences, and seminars.

And here on our blog – our blog Insights – we like to talk about all types of events, and exhibitions, and meetings, and conferences, and seminars.

The Big Event

How’s this for an event? What is going on tomorrow, the world over. It is one big astronomical and celestial event.

It’s the June solstice.

(By the way, and this is all sort of related, back on July 27 of last year, Willwork published in this space a post that is worth a read: “An Epic and Historic Show and Event Happens Tonight Across the Galaxy and Most of the Planet – The Longest Total Eclipse of the Century, the ‘Blood Moon,’ and Mars Easily Observed.”)

Okay, what is going on tomorrow in the Northern Hemisphere – that is the region of the globe north of the equator – and what is going on tomorrow in the Southern Hemisphere – that is the region of the globe that is south of the equator – are opposite of and converse to one another.

In brief, in the Northern Hemisphere tomorrow is the longest day of year and the beginning of summer – and tomorrow in the Southern Hemisphere is the shortest day of the year and the beginning of winter.

After tomorrow, in the Northern Hemisphere, a little bit at a time, the days get shorter – and after tomorrow, in the Southern Hemisphere, the days get longer, yep, a little bit at a time – until the summer solstice, which this year is December 21.  On that day, the Northern Hemisphere experiences the shortest day of the year, and the start of winter, and the Southern Hemisphere experiences the longest day of the year and the start of summer.

The June Solstice – and Midsummer

But in this post we are talking June solstice.

To obtain helpful information on the astronomy, the science, of the June solstice, please click here to be taken to a story, “All you need to know: June solstice 2019,” published three days ago at EarthSky.org, and written by Deborah Byrd, founder and Editor-in-Chief of that media outlet.

Since ancient times, in different parts of the world, across different cultures, humans have recognized and celebrated solstices with parties, rituals, and other events.

Around the globe, many countries observe the summer solstice alongside what is called Midsummer, an event that stretches over a few days, including the actual day of the solstice, and which, while largely secular in modern times has its origins in early Christian tradition. 

Midsummer is a particularly popular and highly-observed event in countries in the northern reaches of Europe, including Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, with the popularity and observance tied to and supported in that at this time of year, in that part of the world, it is an episode of almost around-the-clock sunlight, about 20 hours a day of sunlight.

The summer solstice is about rebirth, warmth, change.

Now consider the importance of the winter solstice, especially going back centuries when human-made light consisted of fire, and not much else. 

People celebrated the winter solstice not because it was the shortest day of the year, but because the days from there on in would get longer until late June. 

Yes, the winter solstice marks the beginning of winter, but it also testifies that the annual date of most dark has been reached, and what has commenced are the days getting longer and the nights getting shorter.

The Parties

Among the most enigmatic and famous human-created structures of prehistoric time – the massive rock formations of Stonehenge in Wilshire, England – may have been constructed (probably around 2,500 years ago) as a component of a calendar, and to set a date for the summer solstice.

It is fitting that one of the most iconic and festive annual summer solstice/Midsummer celebrations takes place at Stonehenge.

If you aren’t going to make it to Stonehenge for the party this year, you can still tune in to watch the soiree as it happens.

If you click here you will be transported to a Newsweek article published today which provides history on the summer solstice and links to media channels where you can pick up a livestream of the Stonehenge fete and fun.

We also share this link to an interesting and informative article, “13 Fascinating Summer Solstice Celebrations Around the World,” written by Valerie Stimac and published on June 8, 2018 at Space Tourism Guide, the website which Ms. Stimac founded and for which she serves as editor.

The cosmos … and we humans … are collaborating to throw one massive and celestial event.

Willwork Global Event Services asks everyone to think about, to try to tie in to the emotion, and immerse yourself … at least in some measure … in the wonder of the summer solstice, and of Midsummer.

Remembering and Honoring D-Day on Its 75th Anniversary; Solemn and Sacred Memorials, Museums, and Exhibits Tell the Story of an Epic Event and Great Sacrifice

Header photo is an overview of the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial (Image credit: American Battle Monuments Commission)

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.”

From The Order of the Day, a directive that Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower issued to all soldiers in the Allied Expeditionary Force on the evening of June 5, 1944

Willwork Global Event Services is a leader in exhibition services and event project management. 

It is our privilege and good fortune to have a client roster that includes some of the largest, best-known, and most successful multinational corporations – as well as recent startups with only a few employees, which you may not have heard about … yet … but give it time and you will.

In this space, and across our social media network, and in other of our communications vehicles and channels, Willwork talks a lot about the shows and events business, and the value, importance, and dignity of labor.

We promote and advocate for, here, the skilled trades.

We use this network and those vehicles, those channels, to tout and herald extraordinary personal and organizational achievement, and historic accomplishment, across all societal sectors.

Willwork employs and leverages the profile and reach of our blog, Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter accounts, and our hardcopy company newsletter and magazine, to commend the noble and the virtuous, whether practiced by a company, team, or person.

Oftentimes on this blog, we tie in historic events and great people to the business of shows and events.

For example, if you click here you will be taken to a post, “Museums and Exhibitions, and Tours, that Honor and Educate About the Black Experience in America,” published on March 1, 2018.

Clicking here transports you to a 2017 Memorial Day post about how miracle and extraordinary logistics – with logistics integral to the shows events biz – that were pulled off by American colonial freedom fighters in 1776, helped launch the United States and save a rebellion in its infancy.

On February 25 of this year we published here a post which was linked to the 500th anniversary, on May 2, 2019, of the death of Leonardo da Vinci – and that throughout 2019, this anniversary was being recognized and commemorated with tributes to Leonardo and his life, with most of these acclamations taking place in Europe.

In the post, which can be accessed in clicking here, we featured discussion of a vocation and artistic passion of Leonardo’s, not well known – and in which his output was brilliant – of creating and producing plays, pageants, exhibitions, and special events – work with which Willwork feels kinship.

And most and absolutely relevant to today, June 6, 2019, the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the launch of the Allied amphibious invasion of German controlled fortress Europe, we share a link to a post, “D-Day and Winning the Logistics,” published here on the 70th anniversary of the invasion.

Among all the exceptional, accurate, and fitting short-form and newspaper and magazine chronicling of D-Day and the fighting that followed over the next several days that, a column written by iconic and heroic war correspondent, Ernie Pyle, ranks with the best.

Mr. Pyle, reporting for Scripps-Howard newspapers, was embedded with Allied combat units in the European theater, and later in the Pacific theater, where he was shot dead by a Japanese machine gunner. 

The day after D-Day, Mr. Pyle made it to the beaches of Normandy.  His column, “A Pure Miracle,” published on June 12, 1944, was one of three columns he wrote about the D-Day invasion, all of which were published in Scripps-Howard newspapers. 

In this excerpt from the column, Mr. Pyle beautifully, succinctly, and simply tells the reader the reason for the column, while also setting and framing the piece against the awesome and mountainous achievement and sacrifice:

“In this column I want to tell you what the opening of the second front in this one sector entailed, so that you can know and appreciate and forever be humbly grateful to those both dead and alive who did it for you.”

Willwork recommends and points to another column of Mr. Pyle’s, one that was published in late summer 1943 from Sicily, where Mr. Pyle was covering the Allied fighting of the Italian campaign, the quest to win back Sicily and Italy from Axis control.

The column, “Mapping and Engineering the War,” honors and expresses a bit of marveling at the skills of the American soldier mapmakers and engineers, and their contributions to winning the fight. 

We submit that many employed in the shows and events industry, particularly those who plan floor layouts and work with blueprints, and those who design and engineer structures and exhibits, would hold a special reverence and appreciation for what mapmakers and engineers produced in a combat zone.

Here in the U.S. and abroad, with a fitting and necessary concentration on the northern coast of France, there are graves, cemeteries, and memorials honoring and remembering those who fought, and those who fell, on D-Day and in the ensuing push into Normandy and then further into the French countryside.

Photo of the original copy of Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Order of the Day (Image credit: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)

Operation Overlord was the code word that the Allied commanders assigned to the assault that would launch from the British Isles and cross the English Channel.

There are also many wonderful and expertly curated museums that maintain D-Day exhibits, with one U.S. museum dedicated to the telling of the D-Day story, and the sacrifice of Americans in the battle.  

Special events and remembrances of the 75th anniversary of the invasion and extended battle for Normandy are being held at cemeteries and museums in the U.S. and France.

Willwork has selected and shares here information on memorials, museums, and exhibitions that give tribute to, preserve the memory of, and chronicle what happened on June 6, 1944.

The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-Me, France is remarkable, beautiful, stirring, and a place that commands reflection and solemnity.

Graves at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

Cared for and under the custodianship of the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is the most visited ABMC cemetery, with an annual attendance of one million.

Here is an excerpt from the “Overview” page of the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial section of the ABMC website:

“The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located in Colleville-sur-Mer, on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 as the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. The cemetery site, at the north end of its half mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of more than 9,380 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. On the Walls of the Missing, in a semicircular garden on the east side of the memorial, are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.”

On the grounds of the cemetery and memorial is a $30 million visitor center dedicated on June 6, 2007, the 63rd anniversary of the invasion.

The visitor center has been recently renovated and reopened just this past Saturday.

To learn about the design of the “interpretive exhibits” at the visitor center, please click here.

As well, within the visitor center is a theater that regularly plays On Their Shoulders, a movie about three Americans who died in the battle to take Normandy and the surrounding countryside, and are buried at Normandy American Cemetery.

When considered as a percentage of a community’s total population, there is not city or town in America that suffered a bigger loss on D-Day and the broader Normandy campaign than did Bedford, VA.

Bedford had a population of 3,200 in 1944.  Nineteen of its sons died on June 6, 1944 in the D-Day invasion.  Four young men from Bedford died in battle in northern France after D-Day.

It is wholly fitting that Bedford is the home of The National D-Day Memorial.

National D-Day Memorial (Image credit: National D-Day Memorial)

President George W. Bush dedicated the National D-Day Memorial on June 6, 2001.

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans “tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.”

A permanent exhibit at the National World War II Museum is the “The D-Day Invasion at Normandy.”

Located only about 25 miles northwest of the Willwork headquarters, in Natick, MA, is the International Museum of World War II, a museum of 7,500 artifacts, and which holds a mission to provide a global perspective on the war.   

Clicking here takes you to the section of the International Museum of World War II website where you can view some of the artifacts in the museum’s D-Day collection.

The Normandy Tourism and Visitors Bureau devotes a significant component of its operations to D-Day tours and publicizing other D-Day related events and places.

Everyday should be a day in which we keep in mind and honor those who sacrificed, some who sacrificed all, to preserve and defend liberty.

And at this time in history, with this anniversary upon us, we should commit special reflection, and extend special gratitude, to the young men who 75 years ago today – through sea, air, and ground – secured that foothold on those beaches of Normandy, and commenced the beginning of the end of the barbarism and oppression of Nazi Germany.

Klein Tools and SkillsUSA Partner to Develop and Launch a National Program that Celebrates, Promotes, and Supports Young People Starting Their Careers in the Skilled Trades

Followers of our Insights blog know that we are inclined and like to tie in winning athletic teams, and winning athletes, to our posts about tradeshows, events, marketing, and promotions.

For sure it is helpful to study the parallels between championship sports squads and other championship groups.

And among the many topics that Willwork Global Event Services has discussed in this space is the big problem of not enough … not nearly enough … qualified skilled tradespeople available to fill jobs that companies desperately need filled.  

Willwork Global Event Services has reported on and presented in this space solutions to solve the skills gap problem – and we have cited and pointed to examples of programs and policies that are successful in training, educating, and preparing people for careers in the skilled trades.

If you click here, you will be taken an Insights post, published on June 26, 2014, in which we explain and focus on how companies can solve the skilled trades deficit, with some of those solutions found in the way that Willwork grew to a position of industry leadership, and how it continues to operate and build on that leadership.   

Another Insights post, published on September 27, 2017, and accessible by clicking here, highlights the mix of effective and innovative academic, vocational, civic, and private enterprise programs that are developing skilled workers for the hospitality industry.

In today’s post, we herald a program and initiative that takes a page from the theater, pomp, and glam of the institution of major college sports recruiting – specifically when blue-chip high school recruits announce their college choice – to boost and give wholly-deserved attention to high school seniors who after graduation are continuing their career in a skilled trade. 

The program, that initiative, is SkillsUSA National Signing Day, a national event held for the first time on May 8.

SkillsUSA National Signing Day was created by SkillsUSA, a national nonprofit that promotes the skilled and technical trades, and which uses and makes prominent as its motto, “Champions at Work.”   Title sponsor of SkillsUSA National Signing Day is Klein Tools, the preeminent maker of hand tools for the electrical industry, and also a major supplier of tools for the maintenance and construction trades.

Nearly 3,000 students at 300 high schools across the United States took part in SkillsUSA National Signing Day.

SkillsUSA National Signing Day is modeled on the NCAA National Signing Day in which senior high school athletes who are highly recruited by major college sports programs make a commitment to the school they plan to attend by signing a letter of intent.

Many of the signings receive strong media coverage, and involve the blue-chip recruit donning a baseball cap emblazoned with the logo of the school to which he or she has committed. 

At SkillsUSA National Signing Day, high school seniors who have studied and trained in the skilled trades, sign a certificate declaring what trade they have chosen for a vocation.

And just like their fellow students who are heading off to college and collegiate sports, the students who are heading directly into the workforce and into the skilled trades pull on baseball caps – with these caps bearing the SkillsUSA National Signing Day logo.

(Imged credit: USASkills and Klein Tools)

Throughout the day on May 8, broadcast on the Klein Tools Facebook page were look-ins at SkillsUSA National Signing Day events going on across the United States.

To publicize and build the profile of SkillsUSA National Signing Day, a celebrity athlete was signed to appear and speak at one of the high school signings.

And, indeed, this athlete was just the right fit for the spokesperson job in that, among all his achievements and big moments in sports, he himself signed a letter of intent … to play football … for an NCAA Division I program.

As well, the athlete knows something about the importance of the skilled trades in that his father worked for more 40 years as a union electrician.  

The famous and fab athlete is Jimmy Garappolo, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who is a mega talent on the football field, has matinee idol looks – and is very rich.  If you are a pro football fan you’ve read and heard about the money – and you know that in February of 2018, Mr. Garappolo signed a contract with the 49ers that will pay him $27.5 million annually for five years, with $74.1 million of that guaranteed and … oh yeah … a $35 million signing bonus.

Tony Garappolo, 62, is the father of Jimmy Garappolo.  The elder Garappolo and his wife, Denise, brought up six kids in a suburb of Chicago.  Growing up, Jimmy Garappolo and his brothers sometimes accompanied their dad on his electrician jobs.

In Tony Garappolo’s work as an electrician he used Klein Tool Products.

In fact, that Tony Garappolo had been a career electrician was a primary motivating factor in Klein Tools approaching the business agents of Jimmy Garappolo to pursue a deal with their client to be the featured guest and headliner for SkillsUSA National Signing Day.

And it is also important to note that Jimmy Garappolo has been highly selective and cautious in signing to promote and serve as spokesperson for companies and products and services, and he has passed on many opportunities. Yet the Klein Tools and SkillsUSA National Signing Day initiative and its mission were those that resonated strongly with him, and which he was eager and enthusiastic to get behind.  

To leverage the star power of its spokesperson, and the most relevant career of the spokesperson’s father, SkillsUSA and Klein Tools featured the Garappolos in a live appearance at a SkillsUSA Signing Day event in the heart of Silicon Valley and the San Francisco 49ers fan universe.

The location was Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE), a science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) high school in San Jose.

SVCTE has an education and training curriculum that prepares students for college and for the skilled trades and other occupations.

While Jimmy Garappolo was the featured speaker, his dad also spoke, and the quarterback explained the influence of his father in his life, emphasizing Tony Garappolo’s work as an electrician is fundamental to and a keystone of that influence.

Both the elder and younger Garappolo mentioned the excitement that Jimmy and entire Garappolo family experienced on National Signing Day when Jimmy signed a letter of intent to play for Eastern Illinois, a mid-major NCAA Division I football program, and one of only three colleges, along with Illinois State and Montana State, to offer him a scholarship.  Yes, with hindsight, it appears a bit remarkable that Jimmy Garappolo didn’t generate more interest from D. 1 football programs.

The seated audience of Silicon Valley Career Technical Education students wore hard hats.  Each had his or her name announced, stood up and – accompanied by the clapping and cheering of Jimmy and Tony Garappolo, SVCTE teachers and administrators, and family and friends –walked up to a table at the front of the room and exchanged the hard hat for a baseball cap, and then sat and signed a letter declaring which skilled trade the student would pursue.

Following is a Jimmy Garappolo comment excerpt from a San Francisco Chronicle story about the SVCTE event that was published on May 9:

“This can help set the path earlier in kids’ lives — they want to be in trades and they can get started in high school. It can require a blue-collar mentality, and some people don’t have that — but I’m glad I grew up that way.”

Please click here to be taken to the full San Francisco Chronicle story, “49ers’ Jimmy Garappolo and dad laud trade-bound students,” written by Eric Branch.

Willwork Global Event Services applauds the innovative thinking and teamwork of Klein Tools and SkillsUSA in creating SkillsUSA National Signing Day, an institution that will grow and expand, that will rise in prominence – and will continue to effectively serve the end goal of encouraging young people to pursue careers in the skilled trades, while also boosting the prestige of those careers.

Willwork Global Event Services will continue to do its part as a backer and developer of skilled tradespeople –and we will continue to share here stories about smart people, smart companies, and other smart organizations that are doing the same.

50 Years Ago, Today. the Boston Celtics Win Their 11th NBA Championship, and 11th of the Previous 13 Seasons

For Bill Russell, the Championship is his 11th NBA title, and for Sam Jones, Playing in his Final game, It is His 10th.   For Both Men, All the Championships are Won with the Boston Celtics

The 11 NBA Championship Rings That Mr. Russell Won are the Most By Any One Player.  Sam Jones is All By Himself in the Number Two Spot in this Category with 10 Rings

Continuing with our Facebooks posts that celebrate noteworthy anniversaries, today we trumpet what is described in the headlines of this post.

But, of course, there is more information to add.  Please consider that this remarkable championship run included winning eight consecutive league crowns: 1959-1966.

As well, as we have noted on social media before, Willwork CEO William F. Nixon has a strong link and connection to the Boston Celtics.

Mr. Nixon’s career, prior to moving into the tradeshow and events biz, was as high school history teacher and sports coach. In fact, Mr. Nixon is one of the winningest high school basketball coaches in Massachusetts history, an accomplishment that gained him induction into the Massachusetts High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

In his work and training as a basketball coach, Mr. Nixon was employed at many summer basketball camps at which he worked, learned from, and talked hoops with. several Boston Celtics, including Sam Jones, Tom “Satch” Sanders, Don Nelson, Larry Siegfried, Bailey Howell, Wayne Embry, Hank Finkel, Paul Silas, and Steve Kuberski.

Of all the Celtics, it was Sam Jones with whom Bill Nixon worked most often and closely.

If you click here, you will be taken to a post, titled, “A Shared Love of Basketball – and Teaching and Improving the Lives of Young People,” published in this space on February 29, 2016, that focuses on and features the work that Mr. Nixon and Mr. Jones did together as basketball mentors and coaches, their shared love of mentoring and coaching young people, their friendship, and parallels in their lives.

(And of note, Bill Nixon’s school basketball coaching was a substantive component – along with his achievements in coaching high school football, track and field, and baseball – of his election to the his induction to the hall of fame at his alma mater Stonehill College, and also the Oliver Ames High School Athletic Hall of Fame, with Oliver Ames being his place of work for more than 40 years.)

We also are obliged to mention, all relevant to this post, that the Boston Celtics are now engaged in – and are down two-games-to-one in the best-of –seven-game NBA playoff series – to maybe the best team in the league this year: the Milwaukee Bucks.  Game 4 is tomorrow night at the Boston Garden.

Yet we are focused here on 1969, not 2019.

Of the 17 NBA championships that the Boston Celtics franchise has won, the 1969 win is one for which a good argument could be made that it is the most special.

We explain.

That year, Boston, with a regular-season record of 48-34 (.585), claimed the final of four spots in the Eastern Division playoffs.  

The top seed in the Eastern Division were the Baltimore Bullets, which had the best regular-season record in the NBA that year at 57-25 (.695), followed by the Philadelphia 76ers at 55-27 (.671), and then the New York Knicks at 54-28 (.659).

Boston sort of limped – actually literally limped – into the playoffs.  For the team’s top star, center and player-coach, Bill Russell, was hampered by a sore knee.  And shooting guard, Sam Jones, in his final season, was playing with a strained hamstring.  (Mr. Jones had not been playing well, and had lost his starting position to Larry Siegfried.)

Increasingly, during the regular season and into the playoffs, the Celtics had been relying on  shooting-guard/small forward, John Havlicek, and power forward Bailey Howell. 

A new team dynamic for the Celts was developing, and had not yet gelled. 

This was not another installment of Celtics domination. 

Maybe next year, perhaps, Boston would be back on top.

Surely it wouldn’t even make to the finals this season.

Then again.  

In the first round of the playoffs, in the best-of-seven game series, Boston beat the second-seed Philadelphia 76ers four games to one, which earned it a date in the NBA Eastern Division finals against the third-seed New York Knicks, which had surprisingly, swept the top-seed Baltimore Bullets.

Boston won the Eastern Division playoff finals in six games.

The Boston Celtics were now the NBA finals against their perennial rival, the Los Angeles Lakers, a squad that had star power to match the Celts, with center Wilt Chamberlain having been acquired of the 1968-69 season from Philadelphia, and Elgin Baylor at forward, and Jerry West at guard.

Los Angeles had finished the regular season with the best record in the Western Division at 55-27, which tied it with the Philadelphia 76ers for the second-best record in the NBA overall.

Los Angeles defeated the San Francisco Warriors in six games, and the Atlanta Hawks in five games, to make it to the finals.

What team did Boston beat in the 1968 NBA finals?  Why that would be the Los Angeles Lakers.

In fact, prior to 1969, the Celtics and Lakers met seven times in the NBA finals, with one of those meetings coming in 1959 when the Lakers were the Minneapolis Lakers.  (The 1960-61 season was the Lakers’ first in LA.)

Boston won all of those previous seven engagements with Los Angeles.

During the 1968-69 regular season, Boston and LA met five times.  LA finished on top in that exchange, winning three of the games.

Most smart basketball minds felt that the Lakers would easily beat the Celtics.

LA was a better team.  It also had, by having a better regular-season record than the Celtics, the home-court -advantage, with the format the same as it is today: the first two games would be at the Los Angeles Forum, the next two at Boston Garden; then, if necessary, Game 5 was in LA, Game 6 in Boston, and then back to the Forum for Game 7.

On April 23, the day before the series opened, the New York Times ran a story with the following headline: “Lakers Rule as 11-5 Favorites Over Celtics Because of Wilt.”

Not many were surprised when the Lakers won the first two games. Both were squeakers though.  Bill Russell chose not to double-team Jerry West in either game, and Mr. West found ample opportunity to score, putting up 53 points in Game 1 and 41 points in Game 2.

Coach Russell went with a double-team on Mr. West in Game 3 on Sunday afternoon at Boston Garden.  Mr. West was off his game, but John Havlicek was on his, scoring 34 points, in a contest in which the Celts often had a double-digit lead, ultimately prevailing 111-105.

Two nights later, at the Garden, the Celtics were just about finished – until they weren’t.  The game was error-laden, with 50 turnovers, the final of which came with seven seconds left on the game clock, and LA leading 87-86, when Elgin Baylor stepped out of bounds while holding on to a rebound under the Boston hoop.

Bill Russell called time out.  It was down to one shot.  Make it and the series is knotted at two games a piece.  Miss it and the Celtics are down to elimination and heading back to the West Coast.

Coach Russell knew who he was going to; Sam Jones.  The ball was inbounded to John Havlicek on the right wing, who then passed to Mr. Jones coming off a triple screen.  Mr. Jones gathered the ball in the middle of the court, about 22 feet out, and jumping off the wrong foot arched a shot that rolled around the rim, hit the backboard, then fell through.

LA won Game 4 at home at the Forum, 117-104.  The Celtics evened the series at the Boston Garden with a 99-90 win.  In the game, Bill Russell continued to neutralize Wilt Chamberlain, and Mr. Chamberlain scored only eight points. 

On to Los Angeles and the deciding Game 7.

Boston went into the game with all sorts of motivation.  Let’s remember that it was a surprise that the team even made it to the finals. 

Then there was the decision of LA brass to harness to the ceiling of the Los Angeles Forum thousands of balloons that would be released when the game clock struck zero and LA had more points than did Boston. 

And, yet, even more of the Boston fires were stoked when Sam Jones found a sheet of paper courtside, which he shared with his teammates, on which were detailed the Laker schedule for a post-game championship celebration, with the University of Southern California (USC) band playing, balloons falling, and media interviews with Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor, the biggest names on the 1969 NBA championship squad. 

In the locker room before the game, Bill Russell told his team; “There’s a lot of things that’s going on. But one thing that cannot go on. The Lakers cannot beat us. It’s not something that can happen.  But it’s going to be fun to watch them get those balloons out one at a time.”

For emphasis, Mr. Russell also told his team:  “Those balloons cannot fall tonight.”

They wouldn’t.

In his final NBA game, Sam Jones came up big, scoring 24 points.   Jerry West continued to put up crazy numbers, registering a triple-double:  42 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists.

Entering the final quarter, Boston was leading 91-76.  At the 7:05 mark, Sam Jones fouled out of the game, with Boston leading 101—89.  In tribute to Mr. Jones, leaving the court for the final time, the sold-crowd of more than 17,000 at the Los Angeles Coliseum rose in ovation.

With Sam out, LA came back.

There were a little more than five minutes left and LA had pulled to within seven at 103-96.  It was then (at the 5:13 mark to be exact) that Wilt Chamberlain, who was having a solid night, with 18 points (on seven-of-eight from the floor), banged his knee while pulling in his 21st rebound.  He exited the game, and Lakers coach Butch Van Breda Kolff replaced him with another seven-footer, Mel Counts.      

The Lakers were within a point, 103-102, with two minutes on the game clock, when Wilt Chamberlain told Coach van Breda Kolff he was ready to go back in.  Mr. Van Breda Kolff told Mr. Chamberlain, “We are doing all right without you,” and chose to keep Mr. Chamberlain on the bench.   

The score was still 103-102 with 1:33 left when Laker guard Keith Erickson slapped the ball away from John Havlicek and it ended up in the hands of Celtic forward Don Nelson at the foul line, whereupon, just ahead of expiration of the 24-second clock, Mr. Nelson tossed up a floater that resulted in the ball making one of the most memorable, and remarkable, two-point journeys in NBA playoff history – hitting the back of the rim and shooting 10 feet almost straight up before falling through the hoop.  

Boston by three. 

With 46 seconds on the scoreboard, Larry Siegfried gets called for shoving. 

LA still had a chance.

But on the next LA possession, Mel Counts drove the baseline and Bill Russell took the ball away.   Mr. Russell passed the ball to Mr. Siegfried. 

Thirty-four seconds to go. Boston 105 – Los Angeles 103.

Siegfried was fouled while shooting,  Twenty-four seconds are on the clock. Siegfried sinks both foul shots. 

Boston is up five.  

With the game clock equaling the 24-second shot clock, provided that the Celtics can hold on to the ball, and make fall shots, the title is theirs … again.

The Lakers still cannot score, for John Havlicek steals with the ball with 22 clicks of the clock remaining.  He is intentionally fouled by LA guard Johnny Egan with 15 seconds to go.  Havlicek makes the front-end of two shots.  LA grabs the rebound on the second miss.

A Johnny Egan jumper is off.   Elgin Baylor snares the rebound and is fouled while attempting a hook shot.  Seven seconds to go.   Boston leads by six.

Baylor makes both foul shots.  The Boston lead is four.

After a Celtics timeout, Mr. Havlicek at half-court, inbounds the ball to Bailey Howell, who holds the ball a few feet past midcourt on the Boston end.  Five seconds … four seconds … and Mel Counts slaps the ball loose to Mr. Egan.

Johnny Eagan drives to the basket.  Two seconds … three seconds … one second … Egan scores a layup.

And there is no time left.

Boston Celtics 108 – Los Angeles Lakers 106.

In the locker room after the game, in an on-air interview with ABC Sports, Sam Jones said this about the championship, and of his exit from the game of basketball as a player:

“This is one of the greatest.  I knew it was my last game, and I didn’t have to save up for next year or anything.   I tell you this ball club is great, a lot of pride.  I want to thank the fans back home in Boston. They’ve been wonderful.

For sure, as Sam Jones noted, the fans back home had been wonderful.

Then, again, the Boston Celtics and Sam Jones had given those fans lots of reasons, all sorts of reasons, and so, so much, for which to cheer.

Willwork Global Event Services Delivers an Encore Celebration of the World’s Best Flower Shows

“Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower.”

ALAN KAY

Last year, on April 6, we published here a post, “As Spring Continues to Bloom, as Warmer Days Approach, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Takes a Look at a Selection of the World’s Best Flower Shows.”

With spring and efflorescence ascendant, with days getting longer and things warming up, and with land and water and sky excited with renewal and birth, we publish another post about the best flower shows on the planet.

Featured here are events not included in last April’s post.

We start out with the Harrogate Spring Flower Show, an exhibition that the North of England Horticultural Society (NEHS), a philanthropic group started in 1911 that promotes agriculture, holds annually in the town of Harrogate in the northeast region of England. 

In its infancy, the NEHS produced yearly flower shows, with the events suspended during the two world wars, and in the periods of austerity and rebuilding that followed the wars.  It was in 1953 that the NEHS first ran the precursor of today’s show, which the society attests is the “biggest exhibition of flower arranging and floristry in Britain.”

The date of the 2019 Harrogate Spring Flower Show is April 25-28.

Yearly, the NEHS also runs the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show.  This year’s fall installment runs September 13-15. 

In the United States, late May through early June is the time of lilacs (Syringa vulgaris).  And during the period of peak bloom of this beautiful and fragrant flower, several lilac festivals take place in the United States and Canada.

Launched in 1949, the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival is an annual 10-day event that starts on the second Friday of June and ends on the third Sunday of the month.

Lilacs on Mackinac Island (Image credit: LuAnn Brandon/Midwest Living)

Mackinac Island, 3.8 square miles/9.8 kilometers in size, is located in Michigan waters, in Lake Huron. The island is a popular year-round tourist and vacation destination.

What gave rise to and is fundamental to supporting and maintaining the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival is that the island is a microclimate, with this climate friendly and hospitable for the growth of a variety of lilacs.

Holland is a land of flowers and flower events.  And, of course, the preeminent flower of Holland, the flower most associated with the country, is the tulip (Tulipa). 

Please click here to be taken to an article, “History of tulips in Holland,” published at Holland, the official tourist guide website of the country.

In bloom every spring is the Keukenhof, a magnificent park of flower gardens located on the estate of Keukenhof Castle, just outside of Amsterdam.  Kuekenhof Castle was built in 1641. In 1847 the castle’s gardens were redesigned into an English landscape style which has mostly been maintained to the present. 

Tulips at the Kuekenhof (Image credit: Kuekenof)

The Kuekenhof spring gardens originated in 1949 when 20 prominent flower bulb growers  came up with the idea to turn an area of the grounds of Kuekenhof Castle into a spring showcase of flowering bulbs.  Kuekenhof, the spring flower event, debuted in 1950.

This year, Keukenof is open from March 21 through May 19.  During this period, more than seven million bulbs, and a total of 800 varieties of tulips, will flower in the park.

Actually, throughout the spring, the Kuekenhoff serves as a host for more specialized events with their own brand, specific focus, and identity, such as the Tulip Festival Amsterdam .

The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival has been held every year since 1994. 

In that this show is held at the Epcot Theme Park|Walt Disney World Resort (Orlando, FL), you know that it is flower and garden event offering many fun and interesting attractions for people of all ages.

Kermit the Frog Topiary and gardens at Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival (Image credit: Laughing Place)

For a partial description and introduction of what takes place at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, here is an excerpt from a photo slideshow/story, “The 10 Most Amazing Flower Shows Around the World,” written and produced by Lindsay MacNevin, and published at the travel and tourism website EscapeHere.com:

“This annual show is one that genuinely caters to the entire family and nowhere else in the world offers as much interaction for the little ones. Fanciful topiaries of Disney characters make up the bulk of the exhibits here at Epcot and both parents and kids will delight seeing their favorite character covered in flowers. Experts are on hand to teach parents more about design and send them home with tips and tricks for their own gardens. The themed flower and display gardens are simply beautiful to admire while the kids are busy in the interactive play areas.”

Every two years in the spring, the two-day Battaglia dei Fiori (Flower Battle) takes place in Ventimiglia, a city in northern Italy that is about four miles (seven kilometers) from the Italian/French border. The event started in the early 20th century, and maintains a strong kinship, and emotional and cultural tie ancient times and festivals that celebrated, the rejoiced, in the passing of the cold and dark and the arrival of warm and light.

On the first day, actually night, of the Battaglia dei Fiori, gorgeous and ornately designed floats made almost entirely of flowers, parade through the streets of Ventimiglia.  Following the parade, that night, there is more celebrating, including a fireworks display.

Parade at the 2013 Battaglia dei Fiori in Ventimiglia, Italy (Image credit: Franco Magnetto/Sanremo News)

As for that “battle,” it is one of friendly and literally colorful, and also perfumed, strife held on day two of the festival.  Floats again move through the streets, and people on the floats, and those in bands and folk groups walking behind the floats, engage in throwing flowers at each other, resulting in the air alive with beauty and pleasant fragrance, a combination which transmits and transitions to a carpet of the same.

Willwork hopes you are motivated, at least in some small part, by this post to go out and … yes … smell the roses, and enjoy and find happiness in flowers in many other ways, as well.

Willwork Global Event Services Clients Are Out Front in Developing and Applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Improve and Make Better the World in Which We Live

Willwork Global Event Services is an international leader in exhibition services and event project management. 

Our client roster includes the world’s largest and best known and successful companies, midsize businesses with winning reputations, and small, recently started enterprises that you may not have heard about … yet … but you will. 

And all our clients, regardless of the amount of their revenue, geographic reach of their operations, or height of their renown and profile receive the same uncompromising and personalized excellence in service and attention to detail.

On this blog, and through our other communications channels, Willwork Global Event Services, from time to time, heralds and calls attention to innovation, technology advances, new products, and new services that our clients develop and bring forth.

To that end, and in keeping with this practice, today we are talking about Willwork Global Event Services clients doing some of the most advanced and useful work in what is, arguably, the most exciting area of technology and human invention: artificial intelligence, or AI.

Now, it seems that there is wide variety of interpretation and definition as to what exactly, what specifically, is AI.  The way that Willwork looks at and perceives AI, and this is a broad description, it is technology that can, in a manner similar to human intelligence, compute and operate, think up better practices, and solve problems.

As for other interpretation and definition, we recommend a story, “The Key Definitions Of Artificial Intelligence (AI) That Explain Its Importance,” written by futurist and bestselling author Bernard Marr, that was published at Forbes on February 14, 2018.

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Two of Willwork’s clients are IBM and Kronos, both leading multinational technology corporations. 

IBM, founded in 1911, is of course one of the best-known and most successful companies in history.  The computing and information technology giant employs 380,000 and has a presence in more than 170 countries.  IBM is an AI pioneer.  Indeed, its Watson computing system is the smartest and most famous AI technology platform on the planet.

Kronos is the world’s premier developer of workforce and human capital management software and services.  Established in 1977, Kronos software and services are used in more than 100 countries.  Kronos has created its own AI platform.

IBM and Kronos recently joined their AI platforms to create a powerful AI talent management system.

On January 15, in this space, we reported on and talked about the collaboration in a post, “Two Willwork Clients – IBM and Kronos – Join Their Artificial Intelligence (AI) Platforms to Create One of the Most Empowering Talent Management Systems for 2019 … and Beyond          .” 

A primary and specific benefit of this AI system is explained in the following excerpt from the post:

“As stated in a Kronos media announcement, the IBM-Kronos ‘collaboration will help improve the engagement, performance, career development, and retention of hourly workers and simplify the complex task of managing this important segment of the global workforce.’”

Willwork fully understands the importance of managing and supporting hourly workers, for hourly workers are a major portion of our labor staffing. 

Consider that last month, Willwork Global Event Services provided the general contracting for the 2019 edition of IBM Think, the company’s biggest annual technology and business conference.  

Held February 12-15 in San Francisco, this year’s IBM Think brought in 26,000 attendees and hosted 2,000 business sessions.

The event took place across multiple venues, and required Willwork to hire 910 laborers who worked for us on an hourly basis.  This worker call, by the way, involved the most laborers ever in the history of the San Francisco shows and events industry. 

Most appropriately, 2019 IBM Think featured and focused on AI, which in the halls and operating culture of IBM is referred to as cognitive computing, or cognitive technology.

Willwork Global Event Services has other clients improving the world through use and application of AI.

One of those other clients is Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary of Amazon that sells use of its powerful cluster of cloud computing applications and services on a pay-as-you-go basis.  AWS is big business. This past October, Forbes reported an estimate that AWS revenue constitutes more than 40 percent of all Amazon revenue.

On March 4, AWS announced, with this announcement promptly and prominently reported through many news outlets, that AWS is providing its AI technology and a $2 million research grant to a globally-renowned and top-ranked hospital to help the hospital employ AI to better administer and deliver day-to-day patient care. 

The hospital is Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a Boston-based Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital.  

Actually, BIDMC and AWS had a working relationship prior to the AWS AI agreement taking effect. Since 2016, BIDMC has used AWS services to run a large portion of its data center.

This AWS partnership and venture represents the continued and strong movement of tech companies and AI platforms into the $3.5 trillion healthcare market.  AWS is a leader in this expansion.  Google, also a Willwork Global Event Services client, is another tech titan that is out front in delivering AI to the health-care market.

Please click here to be taken to an article brief, “Amazon Web Services working with Beth Israel Deaconess on AI push,” published on March 5 at Healthcare Dive, a publication that covers the healthcare industry.  Author of the brief is Meg Bryant

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Every day brings something new and something remarkable in the field of artificial intelligence. 

AI will give us important and accurate answers even to questions we had not thought to ask.

Willwork Global Event Services will continue to report on and share here the winning and extraordinary contribution of our clients in the arena of artificial intelligence.

A Story of the Irish and of Boston and of Labor

(Header image, courtesy of Boston Discovery Guide, is of the Boston Irish Famine Memorial. The two statues in the memorial, designed by Robert Shure, tell the story of the starved and destitute of the Irish famine, and of Irish immigrants who are settled in America and have found comfort and prosperity.)

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a leading national exhibition services and event management company.

We were founded 32 years ago as an enterprise which provided one service exclusively: exhibit installation & dismantle (I&D). 

In 2019, Willwork offers the full roster of exhibition services and event management: general contracting, exhibit I&D, audio-visual design and production, graphics, logistics, wireless lead retrieval and sales management technology … and more.

Yet, still, so much of what constitutes Willwork Global Event Services, is that of a labor company.

When Willwork started, when we offered that one service, exhibit I & D, we did so in only one rather small geographic are:  Boston and the surrounding suburbs.

Today, Willwork works internationally, and operates offices in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States.

Yet, still, so much of our story … our lineage … is one of Boston.

There exists a deep and rich synthesis … one that is self-nurturing and self-sustaining … of Boston and labor.

Integrated deeply, and tightly entwined with, Boston and labor is the legacy and culture of the Irish.

Boston is the most Irish of American cities.

That Hibernian influence reaches powerfully and with wide expanse into the Boston suburbs.

Then, again, outside of Ireland the most Irish nation is the United States.  

A little more than 10 percent of all Americans hold Irish ancestry.

In the Boston area that figure is a slightly above 25 percent. 

What state has the highest percentage of those who are Irish?  Massachusetts of course.

We mean, really, our professional basketball team is named the Celtics.

Wholly appropriate, with St. Patrick’s Day  on Sunday, to comment and reflect on the connect between the Irish and labor and Boston.

The origin of St. Patrick’s Day is in the early 17th century when the Catholic Church decreed March 17 to be a feast day in observance of the estimated day of the year in 461 (also estimated) that Saint Patrick (born circa: 385) died.

St. Patrick is the primary patron saint of Ireland and is credited for bringing Christianity to the nation.

Over the years, St. Patrick’s Day became as much a cultural event – a celebration of Irish ancestry and customs – as a religious one.  What also developed is that holiday was celebrated with more pageantry and enthusiasm among the communities of the Irish outside of Ireland than in Ireland itself.

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Irish were already well established in America even prior to the colonies winning their independence.

Indeed, a good quarter of General Washington’s troops had Irish heritage, with credible estimates placing at 50 percent the number of men with Irish lineage serving in Continental Army regiments from Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Indeed, on March 17, 1780, at the Continental Army encampment at Morristown, NJ, General Washington used the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day to commend to his troops a measure of happiness and celebration. The soldiers needed a pick-me-up for they had endured a brutal winter of arctic cold and mini-mountains of snow at the camp in Morristown.

Please click here to be taken to a story, “George Washington’s Revolutionary St. Patrick’s Day: When General George Washington needed to boost sagging patriot morale, he enlisted a rarely celebrated holiday—St. Patrick’s Day—to the cause,” written by Christopher Klein and published on the History website on March 15, 2013.

Yes, the Irish had already done their part to found and establish our republic when, starting in 1820 – with the U.S. needing workers for labor intensive industries and for the construction of massive public works projects, among them the Erie Canal – Irish immigration to America ramped up and the Irish crossed the ocean and gratefully accepted hard, difficult, and often dangerous jobs.

Natural and man-made disaster in Ireland, which commenced in 1845, precipitated a massive increase and flow of the Irish to the New World.

As reported at Wikipedia: “From 1820 to 1860, 1,956,557 Irish arrived, 75% of these after the Great Irish Famine … of 1845–1852, struck.” 

The famine was caused by a fungus-like organism that wreaked destruction on the growth of the potato, which was far and away the primary source of nutrition for the Irish.

Making the famine worse … much worse … was that the Irish were still under English rule, and Britain did next to nothing to help their subjects. What is more, the English exported grains such as wheat, oats, and barley from a starving Ireland back to the mother country.

Before the potato started growing again in 1852, the famine had killed a million Irish through starvation or disease. During the famine years another, close to another 1.5 million left Ireland, with most of those who survived the voyage across the Atlantic arriving in Boston.

Many did not survive the passage in the disease-ridden coffin ships.  In 1847, 85,000 Irish embarked on the 3,000 mile trip to America. Of that number, nearly 25 percent died and were buried at sea.

And for those Irish who made it to the U.S., a rotten existence continued. Not as bad as in the famine ravaged homeland, but surely not a happy life.

What underwrote and fueled much of the unhappiness was that, unlike the Scotch-Irish, mostly Protestant, who came to America in the previous century to a country that was solidly Protestant, these Irish were Catholic, and the Catholics met with high-level distrust and prejudice from the ruling Anglo-Saxon elite.

But the Irish would not be cowed and would not be destroyed. In Boston, in New York, in Philadelphia, in Chicago, in Providence … and other urban areas … they crammed into unhealthy tenements, endured sickness that killed high percentages of their populations, and took on the most back-breaking, dirtiest, and exhausting work, often for low pay.

The Irish went to work.  They worked hard.

Irish legacies commenced and took root in America.

They took root in Boston.

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Willwork cites two distinguished Americans whose story in this nation begins within the mid-19th century mass arrival of the Irish in Boston.

It was in 1848 that a Patrick Kennedy, from Dunganston in Wexford, Ireland, immigrated to the U.S., arriving in Boston. It was the launch of an extraordinary family legacy in America.

On January 20, 1961, the great-grandson of Patrick Kennedy – John F. Kennedy – was sworn in as president of the U.S.

(JFK is one of several U.S. presidents with Irish lineage, starting with Andrew Jackson and going right on up to Barack Obama.  If you click here you will be taken to a place at the website of DoChara: An Insider’s Guide to Ireland where you find a history of U.S. presidents who certainly had Irish ancestry, and a few whose family tree might have branches in Ireland.)

Around the same time – 1848 – that Patrick Kennedy became an American, an Irishman named John Brady came to Boston and went to work – as a laborer.  In Boston, he met Bridget Bailey, who had also fled Ireland.  John and Bridget were both 22 years old when they married and started a family … in Boston.  

And so it began, in Boston, the Brady experience in America. This experience takes us today and the great-great grandson of John and Bridget Brady. His name is Tom Brady, and he is professional football quarterback of some renown.   

Willwork recommends a Boston Globe story, “Tom Brady’s roots run deep into 19th-century Boston: Little did John and Bridge Brady know that their marriage would one day lead to the birth of one of New England’s most revered sports figures,” written by Bob Hohler and published on March 4, 2017.

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Like almost all those who comprised the early Irish diaspora in America, the going was difficult and hard and tough.  As we already stated, the Irish took on the toughest and most difficult of jobs.

And they went at it hard and with determination.

Digging.  Raking. Mining. Sledgehammering. Washing. Rowing, Scrubbing. Welding. Driving. Paddling. Hoisting. Pulling. Planting. Hoeing. Shouldering. Cooking. Chopping. Painting. Lifting.

In this way, and through their labor – their sacred labor – the Irish helped build and reinforce the structures and physical underpinnings and foundation of nation.

Heavy in representation were the numbers of Irish who built our canals, our railroads, our buildings, our streets, our houses.

In Boston, as the Irish continued to make a way and a living through manual labor, they also started to acquire areas of power – areas they would expand upon and use to achieve and rise in other sectors.

Politics, the Irish found, was one particularly agreeable pursuit.  They excelled at building societies of political and voting influence.  They formed political machines.  Charismatic and dogged Irish “ward bosses” cobbled together loyal constituencies.

It all made sense – for the votes were there. Influence just needed to be harnessed.

In 1885, 40 percent of Boston citizens were Irish. 

On January 8, 1885, Boston swore in its first Irish-born mayor: Hugh O’Brien

Following is commentary on the significance of this transitional event excerpt from an article published at Mass Moments:

When Hugh O’Brien was sworn in as Boston’s first Irish-born mayor in 1885, it marked the beginning of a new era in Boston politics. The city had long been controlled by native-born Protestants—generally called “Yankees”—most of whom had a stereotypical view of Irish immigrants as poor, ignorant, undisciplined, and under the thumb of the Catholic Church. But the Irish-born population of Boston was exploding, growing from 2,000 in 1820 to 7,000 by 1830. By 1855, it was 44,000; 25 years later, more than 70,000 Irish lived in Boston. By 1885, the Irish were over 40% of the city’s population. They were the largest group of foreign-born residents and outnumbered the native-born Yankees.

Please click here to be taken to the full article.

The Irish held on to power.

Another significant date in that legacy of Irish influence took place on March 4, 1895 when John Francis “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald was sworn in to a two-year term as mayor of Boston. 

Honey Fitz and his wife, Josie, had four children, among them Rose Elizabeth.

A political dynasty was nascent, then fully emerging, when, on October 7, 1914, Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald married Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.

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Today the Boston Irish are still making a living as laborers, including being strongly represented in the skilled trades and in the meetings and conventions industry.

They are also leaders and influencers across all sectors of society: … in meetings and conventions … and in education, banking, medicine, coaching, the arts, sports, the clergy, construction, agriculture, media … and … yes politics.

The current mayor of Boston, the 54th in the history of the city, is Martin J. “Marty” Walsh

Mayor Walsh was born in Boston, and is the son of John and Mary (O’Malley) Walsh, both Irish immigrants.

This Cultural Treasure, Once a Traveling Exhibition, is the Only Museum in the United States Dedicated to and Focused on Preserving the History of Black Dolls

(Header image, courtesy of the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture, are of dolls that are among the more than 6,000 in the museum’s collection.)

Willwork Global Event Services is a leading international exhibition services and event management company.

Willwork Global Event Services works in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets throughout the United States.  We also work internationally.  Indeed, our international business is growing fast. 

We launched in 1987.  Our corporate office is located about 25 miles south of Boston, in South Easton, MA, a section of the incorporated town of Easton.  Willwork Global Event Services operates offices in major metropolitan areas across America.

On our blog, and across our social media channels, we take the opportunity to tie in, and integrate, current and historic events and anniversaries to the business of Willwork Global Event Services: exhibitions and events. 

This we are doing today with a post in honor and commemoration of Black History Month, an ennobling and important national annual event.

February is Black History Month.

Last year, on this blog, we gave tribute to Black History Month with a post titled, “Museums and Exhibitions, and Tours, That Honor and Educate About the Black Experience in America.”

Beyond, and in addition to the subject matter described in the title of the post, the post included background on Black History Month and how the event came to be.

For Black History Month 2019, we are taking a look at another exhibition that honors and educates about the black experience in our republic.

Aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman doll at the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture (image courtesy of NBDMHC)

In conducting research for this post, we were pleased to learn about a trove of a celebration of black culture in Mansfield, MA, a town that borders Easton (again, the community that hosts the Willwork headquarters).

At 288 North Main Street in Mansfield resides the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture, a museum (and we submit a museum is a type of exhibition) that is, as described on the organization’s website, “Celebrating black history through the eyes of a doll collector.”

The National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture (NBDMHC) s the only museum in America dedicated to and focused on preserving the history of black dolls.

Founder of the museum is Debra Britt, 65, a Mansfield resident.  Ms. Britt is one of eight children who grew up in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. She started collecting black dolls as a child.  Ms. Britt, who worked at the South Station post office for 21 years, has collected a lot of dolls.  She founded a nonprofit museum which took the dolls on the road and made them accessible to the public.

Story of racial inequality in America told in a dollhouse (image courtesy of NBDMHC)

How did the NBDMHC come to take residence in downtown Mansfield?

A portion of an answer to that question is found in the following excerpt from a story, “In Mansfield, a one-of-a-kind collection of black dolls,” published on September 29, 2017 in the South regional section of the Boston Globe:

“For years, the nonprofit museum was a traveling exhibit, more than 5,000 dolls, carried to battered women’s shelters, soup kitchens, and schools; stored in boxes and tubs in her attic, basement, and garage.  But eventually Britt …  and her two sisters tired of packing and unpacking and lugging boxes around. Britt’s husband, a retired Boston police officer, was losing patience as the dolls overtook the couple’s Mansfield home.”

What to do with a collection that kept growing and growing?

In 2012, a saving solution was realized when Ms. Britt found affordable and vacant commercial space on North Main Street. 

Tribal dolls (image courtesy of the NBDMHC)

Please click here to be taken to the full Boston Globe story, which is written by Hattie Bernstein.

Today the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture has more than 6,000 dolls.  It runs a busy schedule of educational programs, workshops, readings, tours, discussions … and more.

The renown and profile of the museum continues to rise.

“Learning from Toys,” a story about the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture, by Nell Porter Brown, was published in the May, June 2018 issue of Harvard Magazine.

Willwork Global Event Services is confident that the National Black Doll Museum of History & Culture will continue to attract more and more attention and interest, and will continue grow and expand its reach and influence and value as a curator and teacher of black culture. 

Marvel Comics action hero General Okoyne doll (image courtesy of NBDMHC)

Happy Birthday, The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – A Warrior for Civil Rights, Racial Equality, and the Dignity of Workers

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

THE REVEREND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.(

Today the nation celebrates and honors the birthday of one history’s greatest and most noble warriors for human rights and social justice, and among its most powerful, effective, and unrelenting emissaries for peace.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, GA.  (In 1934, Michael King, Sr., a Baptist minister, had both his and his son’s name changed to Martin Luther.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. would give his life for the causes for which he battled and which he trumpeted.  He was felled by an assassin’s bullet in Memphis, TN on April 4, 1968.

Soon after Dr. King’s assassination, a movement to establish a federal holiday in his honor was launched.  In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation that created the national holiday Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – often referred to as MLK Day – was first observed in 1986, even as it would not be until 2000 when all 50 states observed the holiday.  MLK Day is held every year on the third Monday of January, with that date chosen to reconcile closeness to Dr. King’s birthday and the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

Dr. King’s life mission for human rights, for social justice, was often directly and deeply entwined in the rights of workers and in ensuring that workers were treated fairly and with respect, and were justly compensated for their labor.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services was, of course, founded as a labor company.  Yes, more than 30 years ago … in 1987 to be exact … we launched as an enterprise which provided one service exclusively: exhibit installation & dismantle (I&D) labor for tradeshows and events.

Today, we are national leading exhibition services and event management company – which still provides the highest quality exhibit I&D labor.  We are still very much, like we always have been, a labor company.  Labor is at our core.  Labor undergirds all that we do.

Willwork find immense satisfaction and fulfillment in that from coast to coast hundreds of skilled laborers make a very good and secure living with our company.

Willwork values tremendously our workers – who, collectively, form a workforce rich in diversity – and the exceptional effort they deliver to our clients day after day, job after job, project after project.

Willwork is committed to providing our hardworking and talented laborers with opportunity and education and career development.

Willwork surely esteems highly MLK’s mission in life – a mission a major component of which was dedicated to standing up for the laborer.  It was a heroic mission – for Dr. King fully understood that in continuing to do his work and pursue his mission he was putting his life at risk.

Memphis sanitation workers on strike, March 28, 1968 (image credit: Richard Copley)

All too often something that gets lost in the discussion of the life of Dr. King, and of his accomplishments, is the reason that he was in Memphis on that fateful April day in 1968.  He was there to support the city’s African-American sanitation workers who were striking to obtain fair and safe working conditions.

In Memphis, the night before he was murdered, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to sanitation workers assembled in Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ).  This speech is famously remembered as MLK’s “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop Speech.”  If you click here you will be taken to a page at the website of American Rhetoric where you will find the complete text and an audio-recording of Dr. King’s speech.

(The header image of this post is of Dr. King delivering the speech to the sanitation workers.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. concluded the speech – the last speech of his life – with this haunting and prophetic passage:

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!

“And so I’m happy, tonight.

“I’m not worried about anything.

“I’m not fearing any man!”

Debate resounds, and is energetic and active in America, about just where does our republic stand, how far along are we, on the journey to arriving at the “Promised Land” that MLK described and envisioned.

Yet we dare say that The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in America.

He believed that if we dug deep, if we worked hard, if we were honest with ourselves, and if we were courageous, then the U.S. will arrive at the Promised Land.

America has it in us.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King!

Two Willwork Clients – IBM and Kronos – Join Their Artificial Intelligence (AI) Platforms to Create One of the Most Empowering Talent Management Systems for 2019 … and Beyond

(Image credit: TrendWatching Pulse)

 

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

Here in the new year, 2019, we have entered our 32nd year in business.

It is the privilege and good fortune of Willwork to count as our valued clients, companies and other organizations across just about all business and commerce sectors. Our clients include some of the largest, most successful, and most established multinationals … and small, recently launched enterprises that you probably have not heard of … but you will, just please give it a little time.

All Willwork clients receive our same uncompromising excellence in service and attention.

For this early-in-the-new-year post, we felt it appropriate to highlight and feature a recently-started collaboration of two Willwork clients.  It is a collaboration that represents one of the most exciting and empowering commercial uses today of artificial intelligence (AI)  – the next great and transformative dimension in computing and machine intelligence.

IBM and Kronos are the collaborating Willwork clients.

IBM is synonymous worldwide with computing and information technology.  Founded in 1911, it employs 380,000 and serves 177 countries.  Over the years, its employees have been awarded five Nobel Prizes, five National Medals of Science (USA), five National Medals of Science and Innovation (USA), and six A.M. Turing Awards.

Nicknamed Big Blue, IBM pioneered AI and performs the most advanced work in the field.

Kronos, among its fellow international technology leaders, is a relative baby, having been founded in 1977.  It is also the world’s premier developer of workforce and human capital management software and services.  Kronos employees 5,300.

The IBM-Kronos collaboration – announced on November 4 of last year – joins the AI-powered solutions of IBM Watson Talent with Kronos’s Workforce Dimensions to help companies best manage talent and human resources.

IBM Watson Talent is powered by IBM’s famed Watson, the smartest AI computing and machine-learning system on the planet.

Workforce Dimensions is built on Kronos D5™,  the vanguard for intelligent cloud-based HR computing platforms.

As stated in a Kronos media announcement, the IBM-Kronos “collaboration will help improve the engagement, performance, career development, and retention of hourly workers and simplify the complex task of managing this important segment of the global workforce.”

Please click here be taken to the full announcement.

Beyond this project being a cooperative effort of Willwork clients, we are also keenly interested in the project because hourly workers are a large segment of the Willwork workforce and business.

Expect the IBM-Kronos collaboration to deliver winning and major results on a regular basis.

Willwork will report and provide updates in this space on the results of the collaboration– and how the teamwork of IBM and Kronos are empowering and enabling organizations to optimize and make most efficient their talent management and HR operations.