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Rick Alexander, LEED® AP

My First BRS Company Retreat

My First BRS Company Retreat

As a recently-hired Barker Rinker Seacat employee, I had heard a lot about the annual office retreat and was eagerly anticipating it. There were several stories floating around...

...mostly about various competitive challenges that involved the optional (albeit highly encouraged) consumption of adult beverages. Everyone just reassured me that it would be “alotta fun!” This year the trip was to Durango, Colorado, which seemed fitting since there were a few BRS projects in the area and it was relatively close to Denver.

We arrived from the airport to our cabin and immediately chose our respective rooms. I was camping outside. Not due to some hazing process, but to enjoy the last bit of summer weather that was quickly fading away.

  • Day 1: Rec Center Tour - Library Tour - Lunch - Rec Center Tour - Dinner
  • Day 2: Breakfast - Group Activities (horseback riding, hiking, Mesa Verde tour, etc.) - Dinner - Iron Chef Challenge - Minute to Win It!
  • Day 3: Breakfast - Departure

First stop was the Durango Recreation Center, which BRS had designed roughly 10 years ago. Not much seemed out of the ordinary until we heard more specifics from the people originally involved in the project. The door hardware in the pool, the concrete staircase for the waterslide, the pool filtration system, the structure, the gym flooring, the paint—even the angle of the sun in relation to the lap pool surface—had all been thoughtfully considered.

The weather was perfect as we headed back for dinner, and from the cabin you could see a sunset that stretched for miles across the Front Range.

When dinner was over, we split into three groups and discussed our Iron Chef dishes. There seemed to be an unnervingly competitive atmosphere among the teams. We quickly moved on to a discussion about how to enrich the work environment within the firm. Gauging by my first few months as a BRS employee, I assured my colleagues that it already was quite impressive, but that didn’t seem to faze them. We spoke about design, efficiency, morale, and even joked about putting a slot machine in the break room. Then came the highly rumored "Flip Cup" competition and other variations of the drinking game often reserved for college dorm rooms, the details of which become fuzzy...

We took the following day at a leisurely pace. Horseback riding, lunch, brewery tour, and shopping were all relaxing. The evening, however, was a little more action-packed. We split up into our respective groups and the cooking challenge was underway. An hour or two later, the dishes were revealed and nearly overshadowed by Chuck’s alter ego, Charles (a.k.a. The Wig).

All of the dishes were impressive: a dry-ice-laden bowl filled with a bubbling electric blue drink concoction, a meat and cheese train atop a cornbread plateau, trail mix with a spicy kick, a melon and ice cream desert, a strong/sweet/explosive shot rimmed with pop rocks, and the winner… chocolate-covered bacon. The minute-to-win-it games a little later in the evening were pretty trying. But seriously, how can anyone stack three golf balls atop of one other with chocolate-covered bacon on the mind?

The retreat wound down late that evening. As everyone milled about the kitchen with their coffee and said their goodbyes the next morning, that’s when it dawned on me. Great work comes from great people, and if the retreat was any indication, BRS is full of the latter.

Posted by Rick Alexander, LEED® AP on October 22, 2012 at 09:35am

Tags: teamwork (6), office retreat (2), firm culture (9)

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