“Word to the nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.”


(Header image: Ninety-nine members of the United States Armed Forces from 33 countries take the oath of U.S. citizenship at Camp Pendleton, September 17, 2009. Photo is courtesy of the United States Marine Corps.)

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

Launched in 1987, Willwork is growing rapidly and works in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets across America.  We are also busy with projects in Brazil and the Pacific Rim.

We are based in the Boston suburb of Easton, MA, and operate offices in major U.S. metropolitan areas.

In this space, Willwork frequently gives thanks to and heralds the sacrifice of those who have served and are serving in the U.S. armed forces.  We honor and celebrate in this space those, whether in the military or not, who have sacrificed and willingly put themselves in harm’s way to advance and achieve noble and virtuous causes. 

Among posts of this nature and substance are a Veterans Day 2016 post, which can be accessed by clicking here, and a Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday post that can be accessed by clicking here.

Every day should be a day to show gratitude to all Americans who have worn and who wear the uniform of the United States military. 

Yet, still, we appreciate and embrace Veterans Day as an event that facilitates, nurtures, and assists a broad and far-reaching societal observance and reflection on the martial service and sacrifice necessary to found and maintain our republic.

Veterans Day 2019 coincides with the 30th anniversary of the physical fall of the Berlin Wall.  (Actually, the fall of the wall commenced on November 9, 1989 – but the historic cascade of euphoria, joy, and adrenaline were still very much in the birth phase on November 11, 1989.)  And we emphasize here the “physical” fall of the wall, because, in truth, as soon as the wall went up, in 1961, continuous and inextinguishable thirst for freedom and liberty, and spirited and passionate words and actions … some on the order of heroic … fomented in a way that assured the eventual destruction of the stone and wire structure that deprived liberty.

The Berlin Wall falls, November 1989 (image credit: U.S. Department of Defense)

As the Berlin Wall collapsed, it all initiated and inspired, across a wide swath of Europe, a freedom revolution and the death knell of repressive governments, and the liberation of tens of millions of people.

Now, of course, the repression under which the people were living had been instituted when, in the immediate wake of the end of World War II, the Soviet Union imposed its rule across the eastern section of the continent.

The Soviet occupation and takeover of this part of the world commenced the Cold War – a stretch of about 20 years of tension during which the democratic U.S. faced off against the communist Soviet Union, with the nations never engaging in one-on-one hot conflict, but coming close.

A major reason that the United States and freedom won the Cold War was the military service, all over the globe, of U.S. men and women, whether or not that service involved hearing a shot fired in anger. 

Those men and women stood on a wall and served … and were willing to give all … to defend liberty.

As do the men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard today.

Of this we, all of us, need to be ever mindful.

Willwork Global Event Services says, “Thank You” to all our veterans!!

Willwork Global Event Services Clients are Leading in Breast Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment … and the Quest to Find the Cure

There is surely considerable and most justified cause for optimism concerning the fight to rid the world of breast cancer. 

Then, again, much more needs to be done. 

As documented by the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer in women in both the developed and less developed regions of the planet.

In the United States, among all cancers in women, only skin cancer is more prevalent than breast cancer.  Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S. and the leading cause of cancer for Hispanic women in the country.

Breast cancer is not only a female disease.  While rare, breast cancer afflicts men as well.

Breast cancer has been with humanity for a long time.

As reported in the Healthline story, “History of Breast Cancer, “… the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus describes cases of breast cancer.  This medical text dates back to 3,000–2,500 B.C.E.”

Please click to here to be taken to the full Healthline story, which is an informative and interesting read that discusses, in addition to the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, other of the oldest historical references to breast cancer; significant milestones in breast cancer treatment; how the disease is treated today; and the prognosis and outlook for treating and preventing this form of cancer. 

The Healthline article links to and references a page at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website where is found statistics on breast cancer. Following is an excerpt from the page:

“Each year in the United States, about 245,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,200 in men. About 41,000 women and 460 men in the U.S. die each year from breast cancer. Over the last decade, the rate of getting breast cancer has not changed for women overall, but the rate has increased for black women and Asian and Pacific Islander women. Black women have a higher rate of death from breast cancer than white women.”

In 1985, the American Cancer Society and United Kingdom-based Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) teamed to found and establish Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) and designate October as the date for the event.

Initially, the almost sole focus and purpose of Breast Cancer Awareness Month was to publicize the importance of a mammogram as the best option for making the earliest possible detection of the presence of the disease.

Almost 35 years later, the mammogram remains the best way to catch breast cancer at its earliest.

Today, beyond publicizing the importance of mammograms, BCAM has a broader writ and mission: raising money to fund and promote research aimed at finding more effective ways to prevent and treat the disease, fund and establish support services and programs for those with breast cancer … and to ultimately find a cure.


It is the privilege of Willwork Global Event Services to serve clients ranging in size from giant multinational corporations with hundreds of thousands of employees to small businesses with only a few employees.

Among our clients are those that develop, manufacture, and market products and services that are used in the prevention and treatment of illness; in healing; in making life easier, more efficient, and more convenient; and in helping to create a planet that is safer and more livable. 

Willwork Global Event Services clients are deeply and vitally involved in … and contribute to … the fight to defeat breast cancer.

In fact, one of those clients, AstraZeneca – a worldwide leader in the development of biopharmaceutical therapies – has organizational roots in the creation and launch of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

And here we share a bit of corporate history. 

In 1993, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) – co-founder of BCAM – demerged its pharmaceutical and agrochemical divisions, which became a separate company, Zeneca Group.

In 1999, Zeneca Group merged with Swedish pharmaceutical company Astra AB to create AstraZeneca, based in London.

AstraZeneca invents medicines and therapies across four primary areas: oncology, cardiovascular, renal and metabolism, and respiratory.

It is now close to a half-century since AstraZeneca produced its first drug to treat breast cancer.  In 2019, AstraZeneca has five breast cancer drugs available. 

AstraZeneca has 10 potential breast cancer treatment pharmaceuticals in development.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted a priority review of AstraZeneca’s drug, trastuzumab deruxtecan, for the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer

On April 2 of this year, we published in this space a post, “Willwork Global Event Services Clients Are Out Front In Developing And Applying Artificial Intelligence To Improve And Make Better The World In Which We Live.”

Featured in the post was the Artificial Intelligence (AI) work and innovation and discovery of Willwork clients IBM, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google

AI – which is also referred to as “machine learning” – inventions and discoveries of these organizations are relied-on and powerful weapons in the effort to identify breast cancer at its earliest and increase the chances for successful treatment.

A scientist stewarding and directing some of the most exciting and promising research on how AI can improve and make more accurate and earlier breast cancer diagnosis is Regina Barzilay, a professor at the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and a breast cancer survivor. 

In 2017, Ms. Barzilay was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” for her “significant contributions to a wide range of problems in computational linguistics, including both interpretation and generation of human language.

At the time that Ms. Barzilay received the MacArthur grant for her use of AI in the field of linguistics and language, she was also working and experimenting with machine learning to advance cancer detection.

To learn about the work of Regina Barzilay and colleagues in applying AI to breast cancer diagnosis, please click here to be taken to an NPR story and podcast, “Training A Computer To Read Mammograms As Well As A Doctor,” by Richard Harris and published/broadcast on April 1 of this year. 

Ruth Porat, CFO of Google parent company, Alphabet, talks openly about her battle with breast cancer, and is steering and supporting initiatives at Google that employ the company’s AI technology to improve healthcare, including in the area of breast cancer diagnosis.

(Image credit: MIT News)

Following is the first paragraph of a story, “The way we use mammograms is seriously flawed but AI could change that,” published September 16, 2018 in the international business news and commentary outlet Quartz:

“Google’s artificial intelligence technology, DeepMind, beat the world champion at the ancient Chinese game ‘Go’ in 2016.  It was a major AI victory, arriving nearly a decade earlier than most experts had predicted.  Now, the same technology has a new goal: improving reading breast-cancer screenings, which could directly affect millions of people across the globe.”

Please click here to be taken to the full Quartz story which was authored by Hope Reese.

In the April 2 post, we reported, “IBM is an AI pioneer. Indeed, its Watson computing system is the smartest and most famous AI technology platform on the planet.”

Watson is revolutionizing cancer research.

Here is an excerpt from a Becker Hospital Review article, “IBM AI predicts breast cancer up to a year in advance using health records, mammograms,”  written by Andrea Park and published this past June 18:

“An IBM algorithm combining machine and deep learning to analyze health records and mammograms was able to predict the development of breast cancer up to 12 months before its onset with nearly 90 percent accuracy, according to a study published June 18 in Radiology.

AWS’s AI platform Amazon Sagemaker hosts the Breast Cancer Disease State Predictor, machine learning software developed by Perception Health that enables scientists, researchers, and healthcare professionals, “predict disease before diagnosis, optimize care pathways and networks to engage patients earlier, and save more lives.”

Amazon Web Services created and sponsors the AWS Machine Learning Research Awards (MLRA), which rewards and supports the following mission:

“The AWS Machine Learning Research Awards (MLRA) assists faculty, PhD candidates, and graduate students with research to advance the frontiers of machine learning (ML) and its application across a wide range of problems – from finding new therapies for cancer to solving climate change and exploring outer space.”

This past spring, an MLRA was awarded to Zachary Chase Lipton, a professor of business technologies at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, “for his work to improve the accuracy of diagnosis of breast cancer.”   

Willwork Global Event Services will dedicate a future post to advances in and the status of the quest to improve breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment – and to find a cure for the disease. 

Peach Became Pink

Charlotte Haley, a 68-year-old grandmother, mother, and housewife, had had enough. It was 1992 and she felt compelled to call attention to the fact that of the $1.8 billion annual budget of the National Cancer Institute, only five percent went to cancer prevention.

Ms. Haley was not lacking for motivation.

She was a driven woman.

Ms. Haley’s grandmother died from cancer at the age of 45.  Ms. Haley’s mother was in her early 40s when cervical cancer killed her.

Ms. Haley’s sister and daughter were breast cancer survivors.

Charlotte Haley thought up a way to call attention to the need to increase funding for cancer research, and for the National Cancer Institute to change its budgeting allocations. 

Ms. Haley started sending out postcards to which were affixed peach ribbons – she handmade at her dining room table – and which she requested people wear to help sound the clarion for the cause. 

When nationally syndicated columnist Liz Smith mentioned Charlotte Haley and her efforts in one of her columns, Ms. Haley immediately began to receive an avalanche of inquiries about and requests for ribbons from across the country.

With all the requests for ribbons, Ms. Haley had to change things up a bit so that she wasn’t paying for all the postage.  In exchange for self-addressed stamped envelopes people sent her, she mailed them the cards to which five peach ribbons were attached. 

Clicking here takes you to a Los Angeles Times story, “Peach Corps : Activism: Breast cancer has afflicted her grandmother, sister and daughter, so Charlotte Haley is urging people to wear ribbons to ‘wake up’ America,” written by Kathleen Hendrix and published on August 20, 1992.

Two people who took note of Charlotte Haley and her cancer awareness ribbon campaign were Evelyn Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President of the Estée Lauder Companies and a leading philanthropist, and her friend, Alexandra Penney, editor of Self magazine.  

In 1991, with Ms. Penney at the helm, Self magazine published its first “Breast Cancer Awareness” issue. 

Ms. Lauder was the standard bearer for a fundraising and public awareness initiative that resulted, in 1992, in the creation of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

That same year, Ms. Lauder and Alexandra Penney established the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Also, in 1992, Evelyn Lauder and Alexandra Penney asked Charlotte Haley if Self, for its second-annual Breast Cancer Awareness issue, could employ and attach and feature her peach ribbon and symbolism and call to action.

Charlotte Haley, citing that she felt that the specific form that the Self issue was taking was too corporate and commercially aligned, declined.

Self consulted its legal team, and it advised a course that the magazine took – use a ribbon for the issue, but one that was the color pink.

Pink remains the rallying color.

Pink remains the motivating and inspiring color.

And pink unifies tens of millions around the world who have struggled and struggle with the disease, and the leaders and foot soldiers of the movement that will one day find the cure.


Harvest and Agricultural and Autumn Fairs and Festivals … and the Shows and Events Industry … Go Way Back

(This post was updated on November 13, 2019)

Charles Pappas, Senior Writer for Exhibitor Magazine, has won a slew of journalism awards, mostly for his writing about the conventions and meetings industry.

Mr. Pappas is author of the smart, entertaining, engaging, and enlightening book, Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs, and Robot Overlords: How World’s Fairs and Trade Expos Brought You the Future (Lyons Press, 2017).

There is much with which to happily occupy yourself, and much to learn from, in this book.

Among what the reader finds in Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs, and Robot Overlords is how fairs and expos, and shows and expositions, have their origins in agricultural marketing and selling (including the earliest farmers markets).

Consider this excerpt from the introduction to Mr. Pappas’s book:

“For hundreds of years, trade shows were as boring as the livestock, cloth, or herring they displayed on a rickety table or a reeking donkey cart.”

As explained in Chapter 64, titled, Farmegeddon, the broad and all inclusive sweep of the history of tradeshows and expos is largely one in which food and agricultural science played a starring role.

Then, again, the story of humanity is one heavy with the growing and raising of food.

Humans started farming about 12,000 years ago.  And across that stretch – even as farming systems became more effective and productive – the practice had largely been one that required of people to be hands on in lifting, pulling, pushing, and dragging — and commandeering beasts of burden that did the lifting, pulling, pushing, and dragging.

It is only over the past 100 years … which sort of coincides with the later stages of the Industrial Revolution and on through the Information Age and into the Digital Age … that the workforce rapidly, and in big numbers, moved away from agriculture.

During this period, as well, horses, mules, and oxen were relieved considerably of what had been for centuries their farm tasks.

Technology and improved systems made growing fruits and vegetables and raising livestock far less reliant on direct people and animal power.

In 1850, about 64 percent of the U.S. labor force was made up of those working in the farming industry.  A decade later the percentage of the U.S. labor force working on farms was at 54 percent. In 1890, the percentage number was 44. Thirty years later, approximately 28 percent of those working in our nation were employed in the agriculture.

Today, the percentage of working Americans holding a job in farming is between 1.5 and 2 percent. 

In the advent era of world’s fairs – that would be from the mid to late 1800s – their link to the promotion and marketing of the practices and new methods of growing and raising food were strong and far reaching.

Consider this excerpt from the Farmaggedon chapter:

“The very first world’s fair—the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851— offered tangible proof of these advances, with stacked pyramids of meat and champagne worthy of a pharaoh. Surpassing that, the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 saw artist Henry Worrall’s models of the U.S. Capitol for the Kansas and Colorado buildings covered in a skin of apples. Later, for the 1881 International Cotton Exposition, Worrall masterminded a 3,000-square-foot pavilion ‘tastefully ornamented with grass, grains, corn and other farm products” and a diminutive railroad made of cornstalks.’”

Here we are, about 170 years after the inaugural world’s fair, and the kinship between shows and farming is as tight as ever. People have to eat. But what is also true is that in the total comos of all shows and events, those with a focus on agriculture occupy a far smaller percentage of space than in years past.

And we need to be ever mindful that the world population continues to grow, even as the growth rate has declined since 1970. 

How to best feed the planet remains a vitally important issue.

The final chapter of Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs, and Robot Overlords is titled “A Farewell to Farms.”

Featured in the chapter is a recent world’s fair, Expo Milan 2015, with its theme, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

Keeping top of mind the theme of the Milan expo, we excerpt here from the chapter:

“One of the solutions touted at Expo Milano 2015 was vertical farms, where crops, stacked in rows often several stories high, are grown hydroponically, fed by a recycled water solution. (In one variant, the water solution is misted onto the plants’ roots.) The farms slurp down 70 to 95 percent less water than traditional areas of the same size, and, if placed in cities, can reduce food’s average journey from farm to plate from 1,500 miles or more to a few feet. Even better, most vertical farms rely on no pesticides whatsoever, contrasting sharply with the 5.2 billion pounds of insect repellents used worldwide.”

Fairs and other events that are much smaller in scope than those of the global variety continue to exalt and maintain a tie to farming and agriculture.

And of all times of the year, in the United States, and across much of the globe, it is early autumn … the time of harvest … the runup to Thanksgiving … that is most culturally, emotionally, ceremonially connected to and integrated within the efforts of societies to feed and sustain their people.

Following, and fittingly, Willwork Global Event Services takes a look at and discusses some of the best harvest and fall fairs and festivals in the U.S.

October – the first full month of autumn in our hemisphere – is a month of celebration and festivity aligned with the cultivation and ripening of that planted in the earth.

If we listen and pay attention, October and the fall … and the harvest … teach us about and reacquaint us with the importance of agriculture, and necessity of acting as responsible and caring stewards and custodians of the environment.

There is no fruit or vegetable that is more significant in Western culture, religion, and mythology than the apple.  Surely when you think of the harvest, of bounty brought in from the fields and orchards, the apple ranks with tomatoes, corn, green beans, and pumpkins as the produce that is most fixed our conscience and radar. 

Throughout our republic, come autumn, there are apple fairs and festivals.

One of the oldest and best apple fests is the National Apple Harvest Festival, held annually in Arendtsville, PA (about 10 miles from Gettysburg) over the first two full weekends in October. 

The National Apple Harvest Festival began in 1965.  While the event has always been about apples, even from its start 54 years ago it offered much more, with some of those attractions, including the antique car show, still on the festival schedule today.

“Mr. Apple” at the 2014 National Harvest Fair Festival

In 2019, the event has Native American dances, tractor square dances, a petting zoo, live  bands and … well … we have provided here an excerpt from the event website:

“ … the festival features over 300 arts and crafts vendors, an artisan demonstration area, strolling characters, antique farm equipment displays and of course food! Apples of all shapes, sizes, and forms, baked into just about anything you can imagine from homemade applesauce made fresh during the festival to pancakes, syrup, cider, slushies, guacamole, candy and caramel apples, pizza and much more. Plus, our famous pit beef sandwiches, chicken barbecue, sausage sandwiches, funnel cakes, sweet potato fries will surely delight your senses.”

Portland, Maine is an absolute treasure.  This small coastal city has great food, nightlife, a thriving tech industry, a vibrant artist community … and set all along a beautiful and rustic waterfront.

Twelve years ago, Harvest on the Harbor (HOTH) was created to herald and draw attention to Portland’s excellent and rapidly growing restaurant industry. 

Indeed, within the past decade, Bon Appétit, among the world’s best known and revered food and lifestyle media outlets, conferred on Portland two best-in-class awards and national distinctions: naming the city “America’s Foodiest Small Town 2009” and the “2018 Restaurant City of the Year.”

From its onset and continuing to the present, HOTH, held every October, has maintained its focus and honored the charge of telling the story about dining out in Portland, and recruiting people to give its food and hospitality a try.

For 2019, the three-day (October 17-20) is organized into several events, with each event requiring purchase of a ticket that covers all food, drink, and entertainment.   

Necessary to include in any list of U.S. harvest and autumn fairs and festivals is one that trumpets that particular winter squash, that gourd, which is the signature decoration of the season: the pumpkin.

One is not going to find a better pumpkin party and shindig than the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival which takes place in mid to late October in Laconia, NH.

The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival is a street festival attended by 40,000.

A sort of figurative and literal keystone of the celebration – the main attraction and fundraiser – is the tower of jack-o-lanterns, which in recent years has been comprised of 20,000 pumpkins and is 34-feet high.   

It is a true community effort, the jack-o-lantern tower project, with people and groups paying $10 to place a pumpkin in the tower. 

Other featured events of the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival are pumpkin carving, pumpkin bowling, Zombie Walk, and the Jumpin’ Jack Car Show.

This pumpkin fest offers plenty of food and a beer garden.

The Oktoberfest festival, we know, is of German origin, with the first held in Munich on October 12, 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig – the future King Ludwig I – to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.  It was a public celebration with horse races as the main draw.   

A year later, an encore Oktoberfest was held in Munich, with horse races still the central attraction.  Added to the gala was an agriculture fair.

Oktoberfest is now something of an international phenomenon.

The original Oktoberfest is still held annually in Munich.  There are no horse races.  But, every third year the Munich Oktoberfest includes the agriculture fair. 

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati – conducted annually in downtown Cincinnati since its start in 1976 – is the largest Oktoberfest festival in America.  Close to 600,000 people attend every year. 

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati honors the strong German legacy of the southwest section of Ohio. 

A view from of the street at the 2018 Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

German food, German music, and German beer are the stars of Zinzinnati, held this year on October 20 and 22.  

We did say German food.  Cincinnati Regional Chamber compiled statistics on food consumption that took place at a recent Oktoberfest Zinzinnati; among the stats:  64,000 sauerkraut balls, 80,500 bratwurst, 702 lbs. of Limburger cheese, 1,875 lbs. of German potato salad, 16,002 strudel, and 400 pickled pigs feet. 

Willwork Global Event Services just had to include an annual event that takes place in Massachusetts – the state where our corporate headquarters is located.  More precisely, the event is held almost at the tip of Cape Cod, which is, admittedly, a bit of a trek – a little more than 90 miles – from Willwork corporate.

The community of Wellfleet on Cape Cod is known for its delicious shellfish, particularly the oysters that are harvested from the ocean beds just off the town’s coast.

Every year, during the third weekend in October, the Saturday/Sunday Wellfleet OysterFest happens in downtown Wellfleet. Twenty thousand people visit Wellfleet on the festival weekend.

Oysters are, appropriately, the star of the event.  Then, again, Wellfleet clams hold positive and popular distinction among food lovers.  Plenty of shellfish … raw and cooked … and prepared in a vast variety of ways, are served.  

Wellfleet oyster farmers at the 2018 Wellfleet OysterFest

The two-day oyster “Shuck-Off” contest is a cornerstone of the fest, with professional shuckers, local fisherman, and chefs competing.

There is music and locally brewed beers and ales.

Bands play and artists show and sell their work.

Enjoy and revel in the season – and the harvest – is the recommendation of Willwork Global Event Services.

To complete this mission, we further recommend that you attend a harvest of fall festival or fair – or any other celebration of this wonderful time of year.  

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.”


“Labor is the true standard of value.”


(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 only 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 without 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, 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 penned his signature on 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 students of Silicon Valley Career Technical Education participating in the ceremony were seated and wore hard hats. Each student had his or her name announced, then stood up and – accompanied by the clapping and cheering of Jimmy and Tony Garappolo, SVCTE teachers and administrators, and family and friends –walked to a table at the front of the room and exchanged the hard hat for a baseball cap, and 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, published on May 9, about the SVCTE event:

“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.