A Man, a Giant Pumpkin, a River – and a World Record

(Header image: Todd Sandstrum en route to the world record)

Willwork Global Event Services, founded in 1987, is a leading exhibition services and event project management company.

In our social media posts, we like to talk about and point to events, exhibitions, conventions, parties, soirees, shows, and festivals … of all types.

Indeed, here in this space, among the topics we have featured and discussed are the summer solstice, celebrations held for championship professional sports teams, “Blood Moon,”  World’s Columbian Exposition (more commonly called the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair), Halloween and scary-themed expositions and events, world’s top flower shows, and giant and spectacular Christmas trees.

This being the first week of October and early fall, we thought it particularly appropriate to herald an event which is built around and promotes a fruit – a cultivated and domesticated fruit that is member of the winter squash family.

Yes, we are talking about the pumpkin – a native of North America, originating about 7,000 BC, in an area that encompasses present day northeastern Mexico and southern United States.

Getting back to squashes – the pumpkin is also a gourd, which is an ornamental squash, even if pumpkins are also a favorite food source, whereas most ornamental squashes are edible, but intensely bitter.

Willwork Global Event Services has a direct tie to a big-time event involving a pumpkin. 

Actually, we refer to a world record involving a pumpkin – a really big pumpkin – that was established by a native of Easton, MA, the town where is located the Willwork Global Event Services corporate office.

The Easton native is Todd Sandstrum, a gentleman who was also living in Easton when, on September 3, 2016, he set the global mark.

Mr. Sandstrum – a third-generation farmer, agricultural steward and education advocate, and environmentalist – made it into the Guinness World Records when he skippered and paddled a 1,240-lb. pumpkin, carved and fashioned into a boat, eight miles on the Taunton River, a waterway in southeastern Massachusetts.

The Taunton River is 36 miles long, from its origin in the town of Bridgewater, MA to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean in Mount Hope Bay at the border of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Starting in the city of Taunton, the Taunton River is tidal for the final 12 miles of its journey to the ocean.

Success came for Mr. Sandstrum a year after his first pumpkin-paddling world record attempt – also on the Taunton River.  In that effort, he made it about 3.5 miles before shallow water halted his progress.

Yet, that 3.5-mile trek was recognized as a world record by the World Record Academy.  Guinness, though, did not certify the mark because of insufficient documentation.

Todd Sandstrum’s second try for a world best would be thoroughly chronicled, with local media covering the event. 

Mr. Sandstrum set his pumpkin boat in the water in Dighton, MA.

His final destination was Battleship Cove, a maritime museum and war memorial set in Fall River. MA at the intersection of the Taunton River and the Atlantic. 

Approximately four hours and 13 minutes after he set off from Dighton, hundreds were cheering from the shoreline, and news cameras clicked and rolled, as Todd Sandstrum pulled his pumpkin vessel up next to the USS Massachusetts (which is permanently anchored at Battleship Cove) and affixed a kiss to the famed and iconic battleship.

Mission Complete – Todd Sandstrum kisses the USS Massachusetts (image credit: Marc Vasconcellos for the The Enterprise)

One for the record books.

To learn more about Todd Sandstrum’s world record, please click here to be taken to an Enterprise newspaper story, smartly titled, “Good gourd! Easton man paddles pumpkin boat, squashes record,” written by Cody Shepard, with photos by Marc Vasconcellos.

Willwork Global Event Services Holds Tight to and Honors its Organizational Roots as a Labor Company

Since We Launched More Than 30 Years Ago, Excellent and Winning Highly-Skilled Labor Has Been Fundamental to Our Success

“When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers.”

COLLEEN BARRETT

“Labor is the true standard of value.”

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

(Header image: On break, Willwork Global Event Services workers perform yoga.)

Willwork Global Event Services, founded in 1987, is a leading exhibition services and event management company.

We work in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets across America. We operate offices in major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S.

Willwork also has a growing international presence, with projects in Brazil and the Pacific Rim keeping us particularly busy.

Our comprehensive service roster includes general contracting, exhibition management, exhibit installation & dismantle (I & D), audio-visual design and production, development of customized and specialized sales and marketing software, logistics, graphics and sign production, warehousing, permanent installations, museum installations … and more.

Yet in many ways, we are still the company that, when founded more than 30 years ago offered one service – exhibit I &D labor – and in a relatively small geographic area: Southeastern New England

Today, like in the beginning, elemental and integral to all we do is excellent and dependable skilled labor.

Essential to our success – and to our ability to do things properly job after job, and assignment after assignment – are people who work hard and are focused and care about and take pride in the services and products they deliver. 

Honest and caring labor is a high virtue.

Nothing important or great is achieved with hard work and fervent and focused commitment to the task.

Recognizing and honoring this truth means that Willwork Global Event Services also understands that our most precious and valued resource as an organization is our employees.

We look at and strive to operate our company as and in a team and family dynamic.

We make available training and mentorship to help our employees become standout employees – which enables Willwork to best the competition, and opens up professional opportunities and allows for professional advancement for our employees. 

Willwork Global Event Services crew poses for a photo

It was in 1998 when we created and founded Willwork University, a pioneering form of training for workers in the shows and events industry. 

Now, we know, it is a sort of hackneyed term – that of “work-life balance” – but Willwork is all about that balance.

We work hard … for sure.  But we dare say that we have a lot of fun as well

And Willwork knows that every person, and every family, has different challenges    Willwork commits effort and deep consideration to being flexible and accommodating in helping our employees meet challenges and handle the unexpected and the … yes … sometimes emergencies that arise.

These realties are what inspired and established the Jay Bird Memorial Fund – named for a Jay “Bird” Pellegrino, a much beloved Willwork employee who passed away in 2013, at the age of 53, from diabetes complications – a Willwork internal fund that offers our employees support in the form of cash and other resources in times of crisis and deep need.

Willwork employees after the work day.

Willwork finds satisfaction and encouragement in that so many of our employees have been with us for a long time.  We are also heartened in that many people in the industry seek out and pursue a job with our company.

Among the many reasons that Willwork Global Event Services will continue to grow and render our clients increasing value and increasingly exceptional service … and build on our position of industry leadership … is our respect for and the deep appreciation we show our employees.

This will never change.

Happy Labor Day to All!

Fifty Years Ago Today, the United States – and Three Men – Completed Maybe the Greatest Scientific and Logistical Achievement to Date

IBM – A Longtime and Highly-Valued Willwork Global Event Services Client – Played an Essential, Integral, and Broad-Ranging Role in Putting Men on the Moon and Bringing Them Back Safely

Events and Exhibitions are Taking Place Across America to Celebrate and Honor the Epic Voyage of Apollo 11

Face of Plaque That U.S. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin Set on the Moon on July 20, 1969 (Image credit: NASA)

“We choose to go to the Moon! We choose to go to the Moon…We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”

PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY, speaking at Rice Stadium on September 12, 1962

Willwork Global Event Services – founded in 1987 – is a leading multinational exhibition services and event project management company.

Among those companies and organizations that are our valued clients, and for which it is our privilege to service, are among the world’s largest and most successful corporations, and also small enterprises with only a few employees that you may not have heard of … but you will, soon enough.

On our blog it is our custom to herald and tout extraordinary achievement in our own industry, and also in sectors and activity closely aligned, and which hold a kinship with, our business – for example, construction, engineering, computer science, logistics, and industrial design.

If you click here you will be transported to our Memorial Day 2017 post that featured an astounding and epic execution of logistics that helped launch our nation.

On this blog we also like to talk about exhibitions and events, whether made and produced by humans, or nature and the cosmos … or a combination of these entities.

Willwork has surely used this place to celebrate and point to the most impressive shows and events – those that are celestial and galactic, and are performed in the skies above us.

Please click here to be taken to post we published, on July 27 of last year, about the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st Century, one which brought with it a “blood moon,” and which played out across most of the planet in the evening sky of July 27-28.

Back on June 20, we published here a post about the June solstice, the annual mega event that our solar system holds, and which marks for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere of Planet Earth, the longest day of the year and the commencement of summer.  In the post, we only discussed solstices on this planet.  Yet the other planets in our solar system also have solstices … and seasons and equinoxes

We will stay here with discussions of the Moon and Earth, and cosmos … as we most certainly should – for 50 years ago this month the United States of America pulled off just maybe the greatest scientific and engineering feat in the history of humanity, fulfilling the first component of a goal that President John F. Kennedy had set for the nation in 1961: to within a decade be the first country to safely land humans on the Moon.

And … for sure … there was a second component of the mission: to safely return the humans to earth.

Successfully completing the roundtrip would amount to an even greater scientific and engineering achievement. 

To meet President Kennedy’s challenge the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) founded and operated the Apollo Program.

Of course, when President Kennedy tasked America with beating out all nations to be the first to make it to the Moon and back, he … and the country he led … only had one competitor in mind: the Soviet Union.

IBM and Journeying to the Moon and Returning Home

America won the race. 

Winning the race for the country were brilliance, courage, daring, focus, and a workforce of 400,000 that, as explained in a July 16, 2019 Associated Press story, written by Marcia Dunn, “stretched across the U.S. and included engineers, scientists, mechanics, technicians, pilots, divers, seamstresses, secretaries and more who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to achieve those first lunar footsteps .”

It is easily imaginable, and the concept is solidly credible, that without the technology and computing power of longtime and highly-valued Willwork Global Event Services client IBM, the U.S. maybe have been the runner-up in the space challenge.

Following is an excerpt from an IBM online collection of stories and photos about the company’s contribution to Apollo 11 and the broader Apollo program:

“Some four thousand IBMers were involved in the Apollo program: pioneering the technologies; building the computers; writing the software programs that launched the missions and guided them safely back to Earth, and inventing the miniaturized circuity that converted a mainframe the size of a refrigerator into something the size of a suitcase.”

Clicking here takes you to that story and photo collection.

Indeed, as NASA flight director Gene Kranz declared: “Without IBM and the systems they provided, we would not have made it to the Moon.”


With a model of the Apollo 11 lunar module in the background, IBM Houston programmers – Susan Wright (left), Mitch Secondo (rear), and David Proctor – surveys equations they have programmed into NASA computers (Image credit: IBM)










Triumph of a Nation

Ultimately, and for sure, Apollo 11 was a national effort.

It was a national effort the final stretch of which took place across eight days in July of 1969.

To the Moon – July 16, 2019

(Note: all times in this post are expressed in Eastern Standard Time.)

Fueled and powered by a Saturn V rocket, the Apollo 11 spacecraft launched from the coast of Florida at 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969. Aboard Apollo 11 were astronauts Neil Armstrong, who was the mission commander, and Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.  The Apollo 11 spacecraft was composed of two sections: the command and service module Columbia and the lunar module Eagle.

It took a little more than three days (76 hours precisely) for Apollo 11 to travel 240,000 miles and enter the orbit of the Moon on July 19. 

The Landing – July 20, 1969

Here is a description – excerpt from the History article, “1969 Moon Landing,” – of the events of July 20:

“ … at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle, manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the command module, where Collins remained. Two hours later, the Eagle began its descent to the lunar surface, and at 4:17 p.m. the craft touched down on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, a now-famous message: ‘The Eagle has landed.'”

At 10:39 p.m., five hours ahead of the original schedule, Mr. Armstrong opened the hatch of the lunar module. As he made his way down the module’s ladder, a television camera attached to the craft recorded his progress and beamed the signal back to Earth, where hundreds of millions watched in great anticipation.

At 10:56 p.m., as Mr. Armstrong stepped off the ladder and planted his foot on the Moon’s powdery surface, he spoke his famous quote, which he later contended was slightly garbled by his microphone and meant to be “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Mr. Aldrin joined Mr. Armstrong on the ground of the Moon 19 minutes later, and together they took photographs, planted a U.S. flag, ran a few simple scientific tests, and spoke with President Richard Nixon (1913-94) via NASA’s Houston command center.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin also set on the Moon a plaque bearing an inscription. We have provided, above, a photo of the plaque and the inscription.

It is estimated that about 20 percent of the world’s population watched the Moon landing and the astronauts walking across its dusty and gray terrain.

Back in the Eagle, and Rejoining Columbia – July 21, 2019

On July 21, at 1:11 a.m., after speaking with the President, taking the photos, conducting the tests, and placing the plaque, the two astronauts, now inside Eagle, closed the hatch of the lunar module.  They slept that night on the Moon.

At 1:54 in the afternoon on July 21, Eagle commenced its ascent to rendezvous with Michael Collins and the command module Columbia.  The lunar module and the command module successfully docked at 5:53 p.m.

Coming Home – July 22, 2019

AT 12:56 a.m. on July 22, Apollo 11 started for home.

Not well known and not widely reported was the high level of danger and considerable risk involved for Apollo 11 in returning to earth.  In fact, on the return trip disaster nearly befell the astronauts.

Please click here to be transported to a Forbes magazine story, “Everyone Missed An Apollo 11 Mistake, And It Almost Killed The Astronauts Returning To Earth,” written by Ethan Siegel that was published July 19.  

Splashdown and Mission Complete – July 24, 2019

Tragedy was averted.

Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:50 p.m. on July 24.

When the command module landed in the ocean, next up was the matter of safe retrieval of the astronauts, which the United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet and its crew members performed flawlessly.

The Apollo 11 Exhibition – Traveling and Permanent Exhibition

Willwork Global Event Services has to include here the exhibition angle of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. 

On October 14, 2017, at Space Center Houston, opened was Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission, a 50th anniversary traveling exhibition curated and administered by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in partnership with Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission includes runs through late winter 2020. A permanent exhibition will follow that will be located at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. and which opens in 2022.

The star attraction of Destination Moon is the original command module Columbia, making its first tour since 1971.  Playing a supporting role in the exhibit are 20 artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission.

Apollo 11 command module Columbia (Image credit: NASA)

Destination Moon was held at Space Center Houston until March 18, 2019.  It was then on to the Saint Louis Science Center (April 14–Sept. 3, 2018), Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh (Sept. 29, 2018–Feb. 17, 2019), and The Museum of Flight, Seattle, a showing that began on April 13 and lasts until September 2.

Original plans for the Destination Moon had The Museum of Flight, Seattle as the final stop on the tour.  Yet last month, in response to enthusiasm and interest in the exhibit, a fifth and final leg was added: Cincinnati Museum Center, from September 18, 2019 through February 17, 20120.

More Events and Exhibitions Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

NASA has compiled a list of exhibitions and events held, being held, and to-be-held across the nation to celebrate and remember Apollo 11.  Many of the events are continuing their run into early fall, and some into December.

Please click here to be taken to the list.

Still the Only Country

The United States remains the only nation to put people on the Moon.

Twelve astronauts have landed and walked on the Moon. All those astronauts made it safely home.

The most recent U.S. trip to the Moon, which was also the last time an American spacecraft traveled in lunar orbit, was the Apollo 17 mission of December 1972.

Astronauts on the Apollo 17 mission were Gene Cernan, Harrison “Jack” Schmitt  and Ronald Evans.

Messrs. Cernan and Smith landed on the Moon, and stayed for three days, during which they took “moon walks” and conducted experiments.

Mr. Evans stayed in the command module and orbited the Moon.

Just think – it has now been almost 47 years since that trip.

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.

On the Origins of Cloud Computing, an Industry and Market in Which Willwork Global Event Services Clients are Power Players

(Image credit: PCMag)

Gotta love that scene from the movie Creed which came out on the big screen in 2015.

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) writes out on paper a boxing training regimen for his pupil, Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), who is sitting next to him.  As Rocky writes, he also provides verbal explanation about the regimen.

Rocky holds out the paper to Adonis who takes it, photographs the paper with his cell phone, and hands the paper back to Rocky.  Within a few seconds, Adonis walks away. 

Rocky holds out the paper to Adonis, and says, “Hey, don’t you want this?”

Looking back over his shoulder, and holding up his phone, Adonis says, “Got it right here.”

“What if you lose that there, or it breaks,” asks Rocky. 

Adonis points to the sky: “It’s already up in the cloud.”

Rocky, confused, looks up, and says, .“What cloud? …. What cloud?”

****

Yeah, Rocky Balboa did not know much about or was not in tune with the cloud, as in cloud computing. 

Kind of a generational thing.  Sort of. 

Then, again, here in 2019 there are a lot of smart and fairly technologically literate people who don’t know a lot about cloud computing. 

For who will find value in an introduction to and primer about cloud computing, we direct you to a story, “Too Embarrassed to Ask: What Is ‘The Cloud’ and How Does It Work?: It has nothing to do with white fluffy things in the sky,” published a little more than four years ago (and still helpful and relevant) at the technology news site Recode. Author of the article is Bonnie Cha.  

Willwork Global Event Services does want to add our own take – and that is that the cloud is an innovation among the most powerful in history in its capacity to provide individuals and small enterprises use of the same technology that powers and sustains major corporations.

Marc Andreesen surely believes in the democratizing value of cloud computing. His voice and perspective are worthwhile to heed.  

Mr. Andreesen is an Internet and networked intelligence pioneer, best known as the inventor of Mosaic, the first popular web browser, and co-founder of the company Netscape. He is also co-founder, and General Partner, of the Silicon Valley A-list venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz.  

Mr. Andreesen observed: “Every kid coming out of Harvard, every kid coming out of school now thinks he can be the next Mark Zuckerberg, and with these new technologies like cloud computing, he actually has a shot.” 

It was not until a few years into 21st century that the term “cloud computing” became a popular phenomenon in business and the public at large.  Much of this had to do with, in the early 1990s, the Internet and World Wide Web being unshackled from government control and for the first time made widely available to private businesses and private citizens. 

A revolution in wireless technology also enabled an explosion in innovation, access to, and use of, the cloud.

But what are the origins of cloud computing?  Where did it start?

There is a good amount of controversy surrounding those questions. 

Some say that the genesis of cloud computing predates even the invention, in 1969, of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, and the technological foundation of the Internet.

On March 19, 2015, Time published a story, “Where Did Cloud Computing Come From, Anyway:  This is hardly the first time we’ve used centralized computers,” written by John Patrick Pullen.  

Following is an excerpt from the Time story:

“Yes, cloud computing, which is super-powering many of our devices today, got its start before President John F. Kennedy took office.

“Sometime around 1955, John McCarthy, the computer scientist who created the term ‘artificial intelligence,’ came up with the theory of time-sharing, which is very similar to today’s cloud computing. Back then, computing time cost several million dollars, and users wanted to make the greatest use out of a very expensive asset. In addition, smaller companies who couldn’t afford a computer of their own also wanted to also be able to do the type of automation that larger companies could do, but without making such an expensive investment. So, if users could find a way to ‘time-share’ a computer, they could effectively rent its computational might without having to singularly foot the bill for its massive cost.”

We invite you to do your own research on the origins of the cloud.

But we must tell you we like the history and theory presented and supported in Mr. Pullen’s article.

And we just have to mention that, as has been the case in almost all areas of computing, IBM– a Willwork client –played an early and important role in cloud computing. For as the concept of computer time-sharing began to be implemented, it was IBM mainframe computers and their “computational might” that were among those most in demand.  

John McCarthy (1927-2011), a giant in the fields of mathematics and computer science, also pioneered the notion of cloud computing as a public utility, as explained in an MIT Technology Review article, “The Cloud Imperative,” written by Simson Garfinkel and published on October 3, 2011.

Here is excerpted is a paragraph from the story:

“Computing may someday be organized as a public utility just as the telephone system is a public utility,” Professor John McCarthy said at MIT’s centennial celebration in 1961. “Each subscriber needs to pay only for the capacity he actually uses, but he has access to all programming languages characteristic of a very large system … Certain subscribers might offer service to other subscribers … The computer utility could become the basis of a new and important industry.”

Continuing the discussion and thread of the founding of cloud computing, we ask the question: Who came up with the term cloud computing? 

Now, that is a question which seems to have an answer that should not be subject to controversy.  Well, at least not too much controversy. 

You see, two gentlemen, George Favaloro and Sean O’Sullivan have the documentation and the backup to prove they co-created the term. 

It was in 1996 when both were in the employ of Compaq Computer – Mr. Favoloro as a marketing exec, Mr. O’Sullivan as an engineer – that they co-developed and co-wrote a business development plan for the company’s Internet Division Solutions department and gave the plan the title: “Internet Division Solutions Strategy for Cloud Computing.”  

No appearance, written or spoken, of the phrase “cloud computing” has been authenticated prior to the presentation of this plan.  

Willwork is eager to note that, in 2019, IBM remains a premier player in cloud computing, one of the top five companies in the world as ranked in the percentage of the cloud computing market they share.   

Then, again, on that select top 5 list there are two more Willwork clients: Amazon Web Services, the market leader, and Google.  

That is right – of the top five cloud computing corporations on the planet, three are Willwork Global Event Services clients.

Willwork, of course, has a strong and vested interest in the present and future of “The Cloud.” 

And, for sure, we will publish more in this space on the status of and developments in cloud computing.