TEAM PRINT Wins The Amazing Race!
A few weeks back I had the honor of attending Canon Solutions America's Anniversary Event in Boca Raton. If you have never been to a Canon Solutions America function, make your calls now and get on their radar — you won't be disappointed in their product offerings or their events. While this particular event was for press and analysts, I found myself sitting with Canon Solutions America customers Matt and Mark Landaal of Landaal Packaging Systems quite by accident, and quickly fell in love. Their passion for print, leadership and dedication to the success and growth of their family business started generations before, truly exemplifies the future of our industry.
I left for the airport on Wednesday afternoon heading to NYC for the Advertising Production Club of NYC’s "Printing Innovations" event. After a series of delays that caused our departure to occur later with each announcement, I hooked up with CJ Cannatta from The Cannata Report and Andy Slawetsky from Industry Analysts, who were also at the Canon Solutions America event, and who were equally at Mother Nature's/Delta’s mercy. And, as it turned out, they were quite fun to be stranded with in an airport.
Flights were being delayed all around, and Andy changed his ticket to fly with CJ and I. Our flight was now leaving earlier than his, and with his PROPOSAL at stake, this man needed to get home and claim his fiancée — oh and the RING that was now sitting in a box at FedEx waiting to be claimed as well. Finally, after a few hours, we took off, and a few hours after that — yada yada yada — we landed in Cleveland.
On February 24, 2016, NYC and most of that East Coast quadrant was overrun with wind that knocked over a tractor-trailer on the George Washington Bridge and capsized ships — including a Coast Guard vessel called in to rescue one of them. Over 3,000 flights were cancelled and rerouted that evening, and there was a snowstorm leaving Chicago and heading our way.
We sat on the runway in Cleveland for quite a while since there was no open gate for us to pull into. I got in touch with Tonya Powers from Canon Solutions America who was also on her way to APC-NYC, had been rerouted to Albany, New York, and let us know that buses were being sent to drive them all to NYC. Before even reaching the gate, we knew the airports were closed, and were going to stay that way. At that moment, TEAM PRINT had officially formed, and our own version of the Amazing Race had officially started with the finish line more than nine hours away in NYC. We jumped on our cell phones, and within a few minutes, found a bus that departed at 2:30 a.m. and got into NYC at 11:30 a.m.
We had our backup plan, which was the only plan at that time since Delta was literally clueless about what was going to happen to us after we found a gate. Before we knew it, other passengers started following our lead, and we now had a group of 11 which included a Shrink and Mark Sinanian from Canon Solutions America's Enterprise Services & Solutions (who I fondly referred to as Canon Guy), plus a service dog, in our Amazing Race posse.
We departed the plane, and chaos ensued with getting info from Delta and rebooking our flights. Our group of 11 was now down to seven. At each obstacle we lost some of our group — even Andy rented a car to drive home that night to Upstate New York, which is closer to Cleveland than flying to NYC first. Canon Guy, CJ, the Shrink and I got our vouchers for hotel rooms, called an Uber, and decided to make any further decisions about getting to NYC via plane, train or automobile from the closest Holiday Inn bar. Our group of 11 was now a gang of four, comprised of two road warriors (Mark and CJ), one project manager (me), and one Shrink — how could I not tell you this story!
We left the airport en route to said bar having been picked up by Michael the Uber driver. He had innocently left his house that evening with no clue he would end up in NYC the following morning, but CJ and I managed to get him to agree to shirk his Uber duties and take us to the Big Apple for a ridiculously reasonable price. At this point, Canon Guy decided that a hotel room, sleep and a flight the next day was his best option, so we literally dumped him at a hotel — don’t feel bad he had GOLD status! — picked up some road supplies including lots of energy drinks for Michael and a mascot we called Hooty, set the GPS and headed for Manhattan. Nine hours and some change later, we pulled into NYC around 10:30 a.m.
I am telling you this story not only because it's crazy … who takes an Uber from Cleveland to NYC!? ... but because it is a testament to the teamwork, ingenuity and perseverance that is engrained in all of us who work in print and marketing. When there was a problem, or an obstacle thrown in our path, we all used our skills to solve it. Canon Guy was the "voice of reason" and his calm travel-nightmare demeanor came in handy. CJ was our tech and digital communications officer, the Shrink provided several hours of free group therapy in the plane, the airport and in the Uber, and I project managed by letting everyone do what they were good at, and keeping the focus moving forward to the finish line. Somewhere in the middle of Pennsylvania, in the middle of the night, I blurted out "They are only obstacles if you can’t overcome them" — and that is how TEAM PRINT (and a Shrink) won the Amazing Race to NYC.
Ok fine, that would be a great ending to this story but in all fairness, calm, cool and collected Canon Guy got a good night's sleep, took off for NYC pretty close to his scheduled departure on February 25th, and landed about an hour after we arrived via Uber. Mark stood his course with belief that what he was doing would have the same outcome as driving all night, minus the driving all night part, and he was right … so kudos to him, but we have the better story!
Check out my Xploration 16 pre-conference workshop, and Xploration 16 while you’re at it. Make sure to stop by and visit Canon Solutions America in the Vendor Forum for something very cool we are doing together that will help you optimize your BRAIN, your event fun level, and yes even your workflow!
And last but not least ... always remember to enjoy the ride — even if you have no idea where you’ll end up.
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at PrintMediaCentr.com providing information and resources to the global print and marketing community ... with some fun in the mix! She is a noted a Print Buyerologist, Industry Speaker and Blogger, Cultivator of the Print Production Professionals Group on LinkedIn, and host of PMC's weekly #PrintChat on Twitter Wednesday's at 4 p.m. ET. Corn has more than 25 years of experience working in advertising and marketing, and currently works behind the scenes with printers helping them to form meaningful relationships with customers, and industry suppliers, events and organizations helping them achieve success with their cross media and social media marketing endeavors. Twitter: @PrintMediaCentr