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A Story of the Irish and of Boston and of Labor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boston is the most Irish of American cities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Irish went to work.  They worked hard.

Irish legacies commenced and took root in America.

They took root in Boston.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And they went at it hard and with determination.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 1885, 40 percent of Boston citizens were Irish. 

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

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

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

Please click here to be taken to the full article.

The Irish held on to power.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Image credit: TrendWatching Pulse)

 

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

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

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

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

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

IBM and Kronos are the collaborating Willwork clients.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please click here be taken to the full announcement.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Christmas Trees That Are Major Exhibitions and Statements

Northgate Shopping Center Christmas tree 1950 (image credit: C.R. Douglas)

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

A major portion and component of the business we are in is installing and dismantling, erecting and setting up, taking down and putting away.  We perform these functions and these roles across projects and jobs the scope of which span from the installing and dismantling of a single 10’ x 10 exhibit, to the installing of all displays and fixtures in a shopping mall, to full-service general contracting for shows and conventions that cover floor space across multiple large halls and venues.

As appropriate, during the holiday season, across our social media presence, we feature posts and publish stories about events and displays and exhibitions that are holiday and festive themed.

On Christmas Eve 2014, we published here a post, “Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Does a Call Out to Impressive and Awesome U.S. Holiday Displays and Events.”

Now, for sure, there is considerable planning, industry, and effort committed to the putting up and erecting of a primary symbol of the season: the Christmas tree.

A lot of money is shelled out around the world for Christmas trees – whether natural or artificial – that decorate and hold a place of honor in our homes. Residential Christmas trees are big business.

And, of course, whether to have an artificial or natural tree is a long-debated matter.

On November 20, Popular Mechanics published a story, “The 7 Best Artificial Christmas Trees: All the joys of the holidays, with none of the mess.”  Popular Mechanics is very sensitive to budgets in its selection, with the most economical a six-foot hinged “pine” tree with stand from Best Choice Products that goes for $49.97, and the most expensive, a six-and-a-half-foot luxurious Balsam Hill Vermont White Spruce that carries a price tag of $1,012.44.

The real-thing tree has been skyrocketing in price.  Please click here to be taken to a Fortune story, “Christmas Trees Are More Expensive This Year, Continuing Trend,” published on December 7, and written by Chris Morris.

Following is an excerpt from Fortune story:

“The National Christmas Tree Association said the cost of the evergreens are expected to increase 2% over last year’s average price of $64-$73. That’s on the heels of a 17% price spike from 2015-2017.

“The reasons vary, but it largely comes down to three things: the economy, bad weather, and farmers shifting to more lucrative crops … “

As for the installation and dismantle of residential Christmas trees, none should involve much difficulty.  But very frequently the procedure becomes an immensely involved task … a task that infringes on holiday merriment and joy … even if only briefly.

Then there are the Christmas trees of a corporate or institutional or municipal nature.

In our Christmas Eve 2014 post, which was referenced and linked to earlier in this post, we featured what just might be the best known and most iconic holiday season display in the United States: the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.  Every year, since 1933, there has been a Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  The tree, which is almost always a Norway spruce, has ranged in height from, on the shortest end, about 60 feet, to the tallest, the 100-foot conifer erected in 1999.

What is the tallest natural Christmas tree ever set and installed in America?

Okay, the tallest real Christmas tree, as Guinness World Records informs us, was the 67.36-meter (221 feet) Douglas fir installed and decorated in December of 1950, in Seattle, WA, at Northgate Shopping Center, which had opened the previous May.

Yet something of a qualifier seems warranted in discussion of the Northgate Shopping Center Christmas tree of 1950.

Because, you see, the tree was something of a Frankenstein tree: all natural, but also modified and adulterated.

How the giant Christmas tree happened and came to be was tied to and revolving around the fact that the Northgate Shopping Center was a bit of a risky venture; it was a new form of shopping complex: a regional mall located in the  suburbs.  Jim Douglas, the president of the company that developed Northgate, forecast that the building of more roads and highways would encourage shoppers to venture beyond Main street of towns and the downtowns of cities.  Things were going to change, Mr. Douglas and other suburban shopping mall pioneers projected.

But major retailers were skittish about committing to and leasing space at Northgate Shopping Center.

Jim Douglass recognized that that first holiday and Christmas season was crunch time – do or die.  He thought and figured on different marketing draws, and arrived at the concept of putting up a monstrous … a gigantic …Christmas tree at the mall.

Douglas and associates went out into the forests of Washington and found a giant fir.  Yet, while it was giant in height, it was deficient in a bounty of branches and evergreen that spread wide like a skirt wrapping the tree, which is a characteristic of any good Christmas tree.   This paucity, which had to be rectified, owed to that the tree selected grew within a tight cluster 0f other firs, and this prevented the tree from growing and spreading its branches, especially in its lower region.

Transporting the tree was also presented a challenge to be solved.  Again, we are going back almost 70 years.  Trucking and rigging and transport were not what they are today.

What to do?  Well, the tree was felled and stripped of all its branches and became, basically, a pole that was a little more than 200 feet long.  Two trucks transported the pole to Northgate Shopping Center where it was raised and steadied with guide wires, and to which were affixed the branches that have been shorn from the tree, and also other fir tree branches that had been collected.  The tree was then adored with lights and other decorations.

And, wouldn’t you know, that Christmas tree did what it was supposed to do.  It brought sightseers and shoppers. Providing a big boost to drawing power of the Christmas tree was the media exposure it was accorded, including being the subject of a story in Life magazine, which at the time one of the most popular general interest publications in the world.

Northgate Shopping Center flourished.

Clicking here takes you a page at the site of the public radio station KNKX (Tacoma, WA) where you can find a short article on the Northgate Shopping Center Christmas tree, and a link to podcast of an interview (originally aired on KNKX on May 13, 2017) that Jennifer Wing, a producer at KNKX, conducted about the tree with C.R. Douglas, a cousin of Jim Douglas.  C.R. Douglas is a political analyst for the news broadcast of Channel Q13, the Fox TV affiliate in the Seattle and Spokane area.

What is the tallest artificial Christmas tree in history to date?

That would be the 238-foot tall structure in Colombo, Sri Lanka that was unveiled on Christmas Eve 2016, and which bested the previous record holder:  a 180-foot tower of lights, artificial foliage, lamps, and ornaments erected in Guangzhou, China in 2017.

The World’s Tallest Artificial Christmas Tree, in Colombo,           Sri Lanka (image credit: Anton)

Following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry about the Sri Lankan Christmas tree:

“The cone-shaped tree is a steel-and-wire frame made from scrap metal and wood, and covered by plastic netting. It is decorated with approximately one million natural pine cones painted gold, green, red and silver colors. It has 600,000 LED bulbs which illuminate the tree at night.  On the top of the tree there is a 20-foot (6.1 m) tall Christmas star with bulbs, weighing about 60 kg (130 lb). The tree cost Rs 12 million (about US$ 80,000).  The tree was constructed by 150 employees of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Ports and Shipping with support from other parties.”

Please click here to be taken to CBS News story about the Sri Lankan Christmas tree.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services will publish here on Christmas Eve another post about noteworthy displays and exhibitions with holiday-season and festive themes.

Willwork wishes and extend to all – Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!

 

 

 

 

Of Santa’s Elves and Good Business Practices and Getting Things Done

Santa Claus and Elves in Santa’s Workshop
(image credit: Heritage Puzzle Company)

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services, founded in 1987, is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

It is our privilege to work for, and provide services to, successful and innovative businesses that range in size, operational scope, and renown– from major multinationals with hundreds of thousands of employees … to small businesses, with fewer than 10 employees, and which primarily provide products or services to the local community.

And every Willwork client receives the same uncompromising excellence in service and responsiveness.

Willwork likes to use its social media network, and other communications vehicles, to express admiration for … and tout and herald … standout achievement in performance across all sectors of life – whether business, military and defense, sports, the arts, education, spiritual life, politics … you name it.

Willwork commits considerable time and resources to employee training and education – and we enlist and apply in our business the winning strategies and tactics we have observed working across many different segments of industry and society.

Observing and listening, asking questions, studying, and analyzing … helps us to learn what to do – and what not to do.

Here we are, now, in the first week of December, and in the home stretch and approaching “game time” are the efforts – ongoing for almost the entire year now – of an organization from which Willwork, and all businesses, can obtain value and benefit in studying.

We are talking about that amazing enterprise located at the North Pole: Santa’s Workshop, where elves, under the direction of Santa Claus, build and put together and fasten toys and other presents.

On Christmas Eve and into Christmas morning, the presents will be transported to good boys and girls around the world.  Providing the transport will be Santa Claus and his sleigh pulled by eight flying reindeer; their names are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen

Sometimes the pulling team has nine reindeer.  You see, on the occasion of particularly bad weather, added to the team is a special reindeer – his name is Rudolph –  who possesses a nose that emits a powerful flood of red light that cuts through rain, fog, and snow … or any combination thereof … and illuminates the path ahead.

Just an incredibly efficient system of production, organization, and logistics.

Santa and his elves and flying reindeer have been performing like Amazon, FedEx, and UPS for centuries.

As for the elves.  In today’s post, we are featuring and giving major love and props to the elves. We are making sure that the elves receive the acclaim that they have earned.

Santa Claus approves.  Believe us.

And, for sure, Santa Claus cares deeply about his elves – and the entire workshop operation.

Consider this excerpt from a post, “Protecting Santa’s Elves,” published on December 5, 2013 in Risk Conversation, a blog of the global property and casualty insurance giant Chubb:

“Santa is serious about risk management and has assigned one of his elves the task of safety director. The safety director has developed a regular inspection program to insure that all the elves are wearing proper hearing protection, that all walkways and parking lots are properly cleared of snow, and that the workshop meets all the North Poles fire codes.”

Santa Claus is thorough about risk management.  For example, as also explained in the “Protecting Santa’s Elves” post:  “When elves are on the road, Santa has foreign voluntary workers compensation to help compensate the elves if they are injured or become ill during their work abroad.”

Smart and accomplished business minds recognize the winning practices of Santa – and his elves.

Among those business minds is Dr. Philip R. Geist, Area Director for the Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida (SBDC), and an international business management consultant who has advised Fortune 500 companies.

Dr. Geist writes a blog called Speaking of Business, for OCALA.com.   On December 18, 2017, the post, “Santa and the Elves,” was published at the Speaking of Business blog.

“No, it’s not a new rock group,” writes Dr. Geist.  “Santa and the Elves are successful entrepreneurs who employ good management practices to have an effective business model. Let’s take a closer look at some of those practices.”

Here’s what Dr. Geist has to say about Santa and his elves and intellectual property:

“Santa and the Elves have several trade secrets, as closely held as the Coca-Cola recipe.  These include the ability to deliver world-wide in one night, and the ability to enter buildings unseen to deliver presents whether a chimney is present or not. By keeping these as trade secrets, Santa and the Elves have no competition. Your business must protect those intellectual property assets that make it unique, either by copyright, trademark, patent, or trade secret. In many businesses their intellectual property is the largest asset, protecting it will limit or eliminate competition.”

 Santa’s elves have long been hip and totally up-to-date on smartly using best-in-class technology to make processes more efficient and productive.

Matthew Anderson, a veteran technical solutions professional, wrote about his business trip to the North Pole and a meeting he had with Santa’s Chief of Elf Operations (CEO).

Mr. Anderson now works for Microsoft.  But it was two years ago, when he was in the  employ of Hitachi Solutions, that he wrote a post for a Hitachi blog about how Santa’s CEO was using the business management software Dynamics 365, a Microsoft product.  (As is the case today, Hitachi and Microsoft are strategic business partners.)

Here is the first paragraph of Mr. Anderson’s post, “Dynamics 365 Lets Elves Visualize and Automate their North Pole Processes”:

“I travel a lot in my role at Hitachi Solutions. During a recent visit to the North Pole, I checked in with Santa’s CEO (Chief of Elf Operations) to catch up. While she is under NDA and couldn’t disclose anything from Santa’s naughty/nice list, I was able to get some feedback on how her team uses the new visual process editor in Dynamics 365 to keep things running smoothly in the workshop. Why is she so excited?”

To find out why the Chief of Elf Operations was so excited please click here to be taken to the full post (which gets a bit technical).

Perhaps the most important aspect and element that supports the elves business success is that they like what they do, and that they work in a supportive and happy environment and culture.

All businesses can benefit from happy employees.

That is the contention Susan M. Heathfield, a management consultant  specializing in human resources and management development, who is frequently quoted in business media stories. Among the outlets that have quoted Ms. Heathfield are The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Forbes.

Ms. Heathfield wrote a post, “Happy Employees Are More Productive in an Elf-Friendly Workplace,” that was published on December 15 of last year on the blog of the award-winning and popular career website, The Balance Careers, for which she writes regularly.

“Workplaces that emulate Santa’s workshop resonate with excitement, engagement, positive employee morale, and employee motivation,” writes Ms. Heathfield.  “Happy employees are more productive, too.”

The subtitle of Ms. Heathfield’s post is “10 Reasons Why Employees Are Happy and Engaged in an Elf-Friendly Workplace.”

If you click here you will be taken to the complete post where you can read up on those 10 reasons.

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Happy and productive as Santa’s Elves.

Willwork submits that this is a preferred way to live – and a preferred way to work and do business.

Happy Holidays!!

 

 

 

 

Into the Holiday Season … of Santa’s Elves and Good Business Practices and Getting Things Done

Of Thanksgiving and Remembrance, and Gratitude

1918 U.S. Food Administration poster urging food conservation (image credit: Library of Congress)

In this space, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services talks about and features news from the tradeshow and events industry.  We especially like to tout and herald good news about our clients.

We also use the Insights blog as a place to talk about history and current events and holidays.  Here we sometimes make mention and tout what is most important about the human condition.  Here we herald people doing noble and virtuous work.

And, overall, and broadly, on Insights, we either directly discuss our industry … or we tie, let’s say, indirectly, the history, the current events, the holidays … and noble and virtuous people … to our business and the work we do.

For example, please click here to be taken to this year’s Memorial Day post, and here to be transported to last year’s Thanksgiving post; and clicking here will bring you our 2016 Veterans Day post.

It is also fairly certain that if a subject or event or topic or anniversary is important then there is an exhibition dedicated to the subject, the event, the topic, or the anniversary.  On Insights, we feature the exhibitions.

Willwork is in the exhibition and exhibit business.

Today, the day prior to Thanksgiving 2018, Willwork submits for consideration a remembrance, and encourages a reflection, on an important centennial – of November and 1918.  Of the armistice that ended the Great War, and which took effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and of a disease that still raged throughout the planet as the guns fell silent, and would continue to do so for another year.

That war, which today is most commonly referred to as World War I, was a true global engagement waged by nations and vast empires, on land and at sea.  As well, the war was the first involving large-scale use of aircraft.

The conflict directly killed 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians.

This was also the conflict that was widely and improvidently … and hauntingly … proclaimed to be the War to End All Wars.

Willwork Exhibition & Event Services recommends, for memory and honoring and education, the award-winning National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO.  Among the present exhibitions at the National World War I Museum and Memorial – which houses the world’s largest collection of World War I artifacts – are Diggers and Doughboys: The Art of Allies 100 Years On, Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys 1917-1918, and War Around Us: Soldier Artist Impressions.

During the period of the Great War, massive mobilization of troops across vast distances contributed to the rapid spread of the influenza A (H1N1) virus, the pathogen that wreaked catastrophe in the form of what is popularly known as the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic, which actually lasted from 1918 through 1920.

As many as 500 million worldwide were infected with the virus, and anywhere from 50 to 100 million died (which was then about three to five percent of the world’s population), making the epidemic the deadliest natural disaster in history, and a bigger killer than World War I and World War II combined.

There have been, especially in this centenary year, several physical and digital 1918 Spanish Flu exhibitions sponsored by museums and colleges and universities.  One now open, at the Richard E. Bjork Library at Stockton University in New Jersey, is “A Century Later: The Spanish Flu in New Jersey.”  Curator and developer of the exhibition is Brendan Honick, a junior at Stockton University.

Please click here to read a story, published yesterday, that features Mr. Honick’s exhibition.

Perhaps, now, the reader may have had enough of a quotient of death and gloom.

Especially, really, all of this on the cusp of the holiday season.

Well, the fact is, we want to put things in perspective.   We want to encourage some thinking about just how good things are in the United States – our flawed and imperfect republic.  Yes, for sure, America … this America … we are beset with mistakes, sins, and injustice.

And we … America … are also far and away the greatest nation on earth.  No country offers more opportunity – and no country does a better job protecting the rights to which all humans are heir at the moment of their birth.

Willwork – a company with offices in major metropolitan areas across this nation, and which works in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets throughout the U.S. – knows well this United States of America.

We dare say that, on the whole … and far and away … that on this Thanksgiving, an expression of gratitude is in order from the populace.  We should think about and consider what is right and good, and not allow cynicism to steer us in to wallowing and setting anchor in the swirl and festering pool of what is wrong.

Again, perspective.

On Monday, the Pantagraph, a daily newspaper that covers central Illinois, published an installment in its series, A Page From Our Past (PFOP), a section in which the newspaper looks at significant and important historic events and episodes that took place in the Pantagraph coverage area, and inserts into the story excerpts from Pantagraph articles that covered those events, those episodes, as they happened.

The PFOP choice for November 19, 2018 was wholly appropriate.

Here are some selections from, “PFOP: Profound gratitude, relief marked Thanksgiving 1918,” by Bill Kemp:

“Was there ever a more thankful Thanksgiving than the one held Nov. 28, 1918, which came fast on the heels of the one-two punch represented by the end of World War I and the arrival of the great influenza pandemic? ….

“ …. Never in the history of the world has there been greater rejoicing and for a more earnest expression of thanks than at this time, following four years of bloody warfare,” declared The Pantagraph on the occasion of Thanksgiving 1918 ….

“ …. The armistice took effect on Nov. 11, 1918 — the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” The news from Europe reached Bloomington at 1:50 a.m. local time on Tuesday, Nov. 12. By 3:00 a.m., downtown Bloomington was packed with raucous residents of every age, race and class ….

“ …. It was a muted Thanksgiving at the Illinois Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home (later known as the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School) in north Normal, what with more than 100 children still sick with the influenza. Those with an appetite enjoyed a chicken dinner, oysters, and other “eatables and treats” thanks in part to a last-minute gift of $75 by the local grand lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellow … ”

Amid the pain and suffering, people performed at their best, and found occasion for thanks … and for optimism.

Would more of our joined and collaborative societal conduct be of this noble nature.

Willwork wishes everyone a HAPPY THANKSGIVING, and JOYOUS LAUNCH of the HOLIDAY SEASON!!

Among the Biggest and Happiest and Most Fun Events …. as Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Will Tell You … Are Those Held for Championship Sports Teams

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.  Some of the exhibitions and events we service and handle are corporate parties.  We admire parties that are well-planned and well-orchestrated, whether they are big parties, small parties, or midsize parties.

Among the best parties on earth are those that cities and metropolitan areas hold to honor and celebrate the championships of their professional sports teams.  These parties can be quite big, attracting a million, or two million, even three million or more.

On Wednesday of last week,  Halloween, New England honored and celebrated the Boston Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series.   It did so with what is now – and has been since 2002 – a quintessential regional party:  a “rolling rally” duck boat parade through the streets of Boston.

The “Sox” beat the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one in the best-of-seven-game series.  Now, while, of course, the Willwork corporate headquarters is located in the Boston suburbs, we also have a busy and thriving Los Angeles operation.  The recent World Series result was going to be, for Willwork employees and its contract laborers, occasion for smiles and moping no matter what team won.

And this year it was the Red Sox.

How many were on hand for the victory bash last week?  Smart estimates place the number of revelers in the one-million range.

The inaugural Boston duck boat parade (which is, remember, also a rally) was held in 2002 to celebrate the New England Patriots franchise winning its first Super Bowl.  About a million revelers attended the event.

It was the first of 11 duck boat parades in the city: five for the Patriots (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017), four for the Red Sox (2004, 2007, 2013, 2018), and one each for the Boston Bruins (2011) and Boston Celtics (2008).  It’s been a nice era for New England professional sports fans.

Of all the duck boat parades, the one that drew the largest attendance – three million – was the parade held for the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the team that ended the 86-year Red Sox championship drought.  That’s a lot of people.

Then, again, it makes sense, the crowd size.  Really.  You wait that long … and over that five-decade wait, the Sox won four American League pennants, yet lost in seven games in all four World Series.  (And we need not rehash Game 6 of the 1986 World Series which Boston, leading the New York Mets in the series, 3-2, had won – but then it hadn’t.)

The 2004 Red Sox parade scored the second biggest crowd to date for a sports championship party,

What party holds to the top spot in the category of highest attendance for a sports championship party?

That would be the rally and parade held for the 2016 Chicago CubsThe estimated crowd size was five million.

Rally and Parade for 2016 Chicago Cubs, World Series Champion (image credit: WGN9 TV)

What was the big deal about the Chicago Cubs win?  Well, you see, Chicago loves its “Cubbies,” a franchise founded in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings.  And, like the Red Sox, the Cubs play in a hallowed and iconic place – Wrigley Field, which opened in 1914.  Only Fenway Park, which hosted its first game in 1912, is an older MLB park.

There is also the condition of millions of people holding affection for a long time for a team that didn’t win for a long time.  The Chicago Cubs had not won a World Series for a long time.

Chicago’s seven-game World Series win over the Cleveland Indians ended the longest North American professional sports team championship drought in history: 108 years.  In fact, prior to the 2016 season, the Cubs had not won a National League pennant in 71 years, which was an MLB pennant drought record.

People in the Chicago area wanted to party.  A lot of people in the Chicago area wanted to party. And they did.

Curiously, if the Indians had won Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, you could count that at least a million, maybe more, would have shown up for that championship parade.  After all, on June 22, 2016, one million people showed up to fete the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers  – a turnout that, according to Wikipedia, made the crowd the sixth largest sports celebration ever.

The Cleveland Indians have their own long streak of futility, not having won a World Series since 1948, which, as the 2016 “Fall Classic” began, was the second longest time in the MLB desert without a championship.  (Although, prior to 2016, Cleveland’s most recent American League pennant win was 1997.)  Played up in the press was the fact that the meeting of the Cubs and Indians in the World Series was a MLB record-setter for most combined number of years of a championship drought:  176.

Cleveland had known a long championship-barren era.

In fact, when the Cavaliers, and LeBron James, beat the Golden State Warriors heir 2016 title, it ended 52 consecutive years that Cleveland had not won a major professional championship – the NFL title that the Cleveland Browns won in 1964 (its fourth in the 15 years it had been in the league).

To get back to Chicago – actually the broader Chicago area – for a bit, we restate that it is a region and place that holds and nurtures a fervent following for its sports teams.  A crowd of two million attended the rally/parade celebrating the Chicago Black Hawks winning the 2013 Stanley Cup.

And Willwork makes sure to mention here that our Chicago operation has long been highly successful, and enjoys strong and consistent growth.

Then, again, Willwork maintains offices in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Across the country, we work in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets.

It is likely that wherever is the next big celebration for a pro sports championship, Willwork has an office close by … as will be the case for the following celebration … and the one after that … and the … anyway, you know what we are saying.

America loves to win.  America loves to party.

And here we reference the words written by journalist W.F. Deeds, in 1999, about the high level of intensity and fervor and joy that Americans displayed that year during the final stages, and in the aftermath of, the U.S. team beating the European squad in the Ryder Cup international golf tournament played at The Country Club in Brookline, MA.

Many on the other side of the Atlantic felt that the nature and character of the celebrating, of players and fans, was inappropriate and crass and over the top.   But not Mr. Deedes, the former editor of the Telegraph newspaper of London.  He wrote:

“I found myself feeling faintly jealous of America’s capacity for emotion. We shrug our shoulders a lot. They really care. They want to win. They hate to lose. And this carries them beyond a golf game at Brookline.”

Yes, America loves to win   America loves to party.

And there will never be a shortage of Americans showing up to be a part of both.