BY ROB SMENTEKSpinning Wheels, the owners and management arm of the Driving Results family of peer groups, recently held one of its most unique and memorable meetings. In July, the group headed to Anchorage, Alaska—the Land of the Midnight Sun—for a meeting filled with benchmarking, education, and fun infused with local culture and a sampling of the area’s rugged beauty. Hosted by Charlie Grimm, president and CEO of BAC Transportation, this meeting gave operators from 16 companies an opportunity to visit a part of the country many rarely get the chance to experience. In all, 50 people made the journey, which included family and friends of the group’s members.
“Last year, we asked the group if they would be interested in making the trip to Alaska, and the response was overwhelming,” said Arthur Messina, managing director of Driving Results. “We were able to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our members and their families in the guise of a business trip.”
Messina and Grimm spared no effort in making this an experience to remember, so activities were scheduled both before and after the three days that Driving Results traditionally schedules its sessions. On the day prior to the July 24 start of the meeting, a group of 20 members went on a fishing expedition where they caught a whopping 450 pounds of salmon. Later that evening, a small group hit a local range for some golf; the 8:45 p.m. tee-off made for a perfect—albeit an unusual—way to take advantage of the extended daylight hours experienced in Alaska during the summer months.
The Spinning Wheels group got down to business on Monday at the Hotel Captain Cook, with an evaluation of the members’ recent and future goals, followed by a Webex seminar hosted online with Kristen Carroll of The LMC Group. After adjourning for the day, the members and their families had a meal at Sullivan’s Steakhouse, where the group helped wish a happy birthday to Randy Allen of James Limousine.
Day two of the sessions began with a road trip to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport for a behind-the-scenes tour provided by the facility’s operations personnel. One of the tour’s highlights was a firsthand look of the gateway meet-and-greet service that Grimm negotiated with the airport. With this service, BAC Transportation brings pickups to a new level as chauffeurs are able to meet their clients at the gate and escort them to a car waiting on the tarmac.
“Our industry is built on relationships, and Charlie has a special relationship with his community,” said Messina. “Because of the work he does locally, he was able to create something special with this meet-and-greet service.” (Learn more about BAC Transportation on page 120.)
“Our industry is built on relationships, and Charlie has a special relationship with his community. Because of the work he does locally, he was able to create something special with this meet-and-greet service.”
– Arthur Messina, Managing Director of Driving Results
After lunch at a regional favorite, 49th State Brewing Company, the Spinning Wheels members returned to the hotel for a board of directors roundtable/Q&A featuring Allen, Eric Windstein of Limo Livery, Sheri Boesch of Network Transportation, and Tony Mehdiof of North Point Transportation Group. The day closed with one of Driving Results’ always-popular team building exercises. This time, Messina and Grimm took members and guests on a dinner cruise out of Whittier, Alaska. This scenic voyage not only offered the group a breathtaking view of the glaciers, but also was followed by a private tour of the Anchorage Wildlife Conservation Centre, where members got an up-close look at native faunae, such as bears, elk, and moose.
The final day of the meeting began with a new benchmark activity for the Driving Results groups: the Idea Think Tank. Each member was encouraged to introduce an idea that they have incorporated into their business to make things run smoother and easier. The meeting concluded with a site visit to BAC, where a barbecue meal was held for Spinning Wheels members, guests, and operations staff. And if that wasn’t enough, the group then took an evening tram ride, courtesy of Grimm, to beautiful Mt. Alyseka. Although the official Spinning Wheels itinerary closed on Wednesday, those who chose to extend their stay were offered yet another exclusive and thrilling opportunity on Thursday, with a helicopter tour and glacier-top dogsled ride.
“This was truly a trip of a lifetime with breathtaking scenery everywhere we traveled. Where else could one, in the same day, fish in the morning in a 1,200-foot fjord for silver salmon and then play golf in gorgeous sunshine until 10 p.m.?”
– Randy Allen of James Limousine
“This was truly a trip of a lifetime with breathtaking scenery everywhere we traveled,” shared Allen. “Where else could one, in the same day, fish in the morning in a 1,200-foot fjord for silver salmon and then play golf in gorgeous sunshine until 10 p.m.?”
The next Spinning Wheels meeting is scheduled for November 15-17 and will be held Miami. [CD1017]