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Put on Your Velcro Pants this Holiday Season

First I want to give a big shout-out to my FLI colleagues: Hello!

handling yourself and others in the office, to provide inspiration for improving yourself and to strategize about improving your company.

I was honored to be part of IAEE’s Future Leaders conference late in the summer. About 40 of us gathered to Dana Doody devise our evil plan for

taking over the organization. Not really, but there were quite a few Gen-Xers there with some nifty new ideas.

IAEE has taken a major step in embracing new leaders and preparing for generational changes with the resurgence of the Future Leaders program. The program was a fantastically designed immersion into what makes us tick, what makes our organizations work and what makes our fellow employees wake up and come to work.

During the 21/2 days of seminars, led expertly in my not so humble opinion by Jeffrey Cufaude of Idea Architects, the themes of leadership and management really impacted my thinking on what I contribute to The Expo Group and to the tradeshow business.

I believe an essential part of any future leader program is to offer tactical tips on

I walked away from the weekend with simple concrete ideas, like changing the name of our mentoring program to the Welcome Buddy program. (Thank you, Lisa Goecke from Smith Bucklin!) This is a simple switch to revitalize a program that went limp because of the pressure instilled in the word “mentor.” Because, really, the mentors were not intended to help someone make career decisions, just to help them figure out where the FedEx envelopes are stored!

I also walked away with some pie-in-the-sky ideas that you will hopefully see implemented here in the coming years. My colleague April Hurley attended the institute as well, and we have a new phrase for those crazy new ideas: “Velcro Pants.” Sometimes having a fun term to use eases the possible embarrassment of introducing a new concept to your work group.

This term was born from a news clip we watched about a company called IDEO. As they were redesigning a grocery cart, and determining how a child could be strapped into the cart, one of the design team members suggested the children wear Velcro pants.

A Gentleman and a Scholar

The Expo Group was pleased to honor Ryan Cathro, son of Alex and Kim Cathro, with the 2007 Dependant Scholarship. Kim Cathro is a Project Planner Associate and has been with the company since August 2006.

Ryan Cathro matriculated at the University of Texas at Arlington this fall, having graduated with straight As from Arlington’s Martin High School. His goal is to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in Business.

Ray Pekowski congratulates Ryan Cathro.

By Dana Freker Doody,

Director of Corporate Communications

Crazy idea, but from that seed grew a whole new design for your everyday grocery cart.

With the proper recognition and incubation, your Velcro Pants idea could blossom into a successful new business model. I would love to hear about any of your Velcro Pants ideas, whether they worked or not.

If the ideas didn’t work, maybe you can revisit them. Break them down to the true seed within the idea. The guy from IDEO didn’t really think children wearing Velcro pants was the solution, but it helped his team see the problem from a different angle and open their minds to more possibilities. Likewise, I encourage you to further open your mind when colleagues or even family members and friends approach you with a new idea.

My husband, for example, wants to go out for Christmas Eve dinner. A Velcro Pants idea in my mind, but the seed of this idea is important: “We’re always so busy that day, why add the stress of cooking a big meal for the family?” Once I opened my mind and got inside his Velcro Pants idea, I realized the validity of it and was open to a compromise.

We’re going to my in-laws’ for dinner!

Email Dana at ddoody@theexpogroup.com.

Ryan is currently employed at American Eurocopter, which is where he worked through high school as part of the Future Business Leaders of America program. Ryan works in logistics in the Spares department, overseeing requests for parts from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Expo Group scholarship winners are determined annually by an outside committee consisting of an adult pastor, a business owner and a local teacher.

Congratulations Ryan!


Christopher Maloney

1 year

Michaele Brown

1 year

Jancie Brammer

1 year

LaKessia Hill

1 year

Renea Richardson

1 year

Evonne Stevens

1 year

Natalie Crittenden

1 year

Beth Conn

1 year

Shirley Brown

11 years

Robert Richardson

6 years

Lorrie Penton

1 year

Randy Pekowski

14 years

Lisa Winkley

1 year

Robert Pekowski

14 years

Chad Miller

3 years

James Hogue

19 years

Steven Montoux

19 years

Mack James

1 year

George Shortino

3 years

Mark Daves

1 year

Steven Byford

8 years

Tom Hale

9 years

Andy Watts

1 year

Max Nicklas

1 year

Shane Sexton

8 years

Kim Cathro

1 year

Jason Ellenbecker

3 years

April Hurley

12 years


Anniversaries Continued on page 6

John Shrieves

5 years

Joy Ruddle

4 years

Robert Collica

4 years

Oscar Lopez

2 years

Sean Burns

1 year

Alma Gonzales

8 years

Vico Valle

15 years

Marilu Muniz

18 years

Bryce Dahlfors

1 year

Tano Andrade

11 years

Todd Doolittle

1 year

Coleen Trosper

15 years

Linda Pekowski

17 years



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