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  • Susan Griepsma

    With the Winter games starting this week in Sochi, we talked to some Gorbel employees to get their thoughts on the games, past and present.

    Your favorite memory of watching past Olympic games:
    "Even as a kid I was intrigued by the fact that athletes from all over the world were competing against each other yet there seemed to be an air of comradery among them. Maybe they were just proud to be representing their country and felt others were, too." - Joe Bia, After Sales Service

    "Watching Michael Johnson destroy the 200m time in 1996 at Atlanta. Just unbelievable." – Joe DeMott, Regional Territory Rep
    "One of the most vivid memories of Olympics that I have is being a 10 year old and watching with my family as the USA hockey Team beat the much larger Russian hockey team in the 1980 Olympics." –Jen D’Alessandro, Web Publications Specialist
    "I have an uncle who is a professional swim coach. One of his swimmers made the Olympics in Athens 2004. His swimmer was a long shot who basically only qualified because he had a grandparent from some Caribbean island, but watching the early heats that year was my favorite personal Olympic memory." – Chris Adams, Regional Territory Rep
    "Watching with both of my parents.  My father is no longer with me, so it is great memory for me." – Stacey Clark, Senior Technical Customer Service Rep
    "My sister and I spraying the kitchen floor with Pledge and then trying to “ice” skate in our socks after watching the ice skaters in the Olympics." –Alicia Carter, Technical Customer Service Supervisor

    What are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Olympics?
    "I’d like to see more records broken regardless of which country does it." – Joe Bia
    "The national pride that comes about every Olympics. U-S-A!! USA! USA!" – Joe DeMott
    "One of my favorites to watch is the figure skating - singles and pairs" – Jen D’Alessandro
    "Snowboarding" – Stacey Clark
    "Any and all skiing events" – Alicia Carter

    What event should the Olympic Committee consider adding?
    "I’d like to see 'Wipeout' become a medal competition." – Joe DeMott
    "Ice boating" – Stacey Clark

    What about you? What are your favorite Olympic memories? What events should be added to the next Olympic games?

    Full story

  • Susan Griepsma

    What?? How can it be that Christmas is only 12 days away? Did we lose a week here somewhere? While I desperately try to get my Christmas shopping completed, please enjoy this letter we wrote to Santa back in December of 2010:

    Dear Santa,
    In the movies, your workshop is a happy place, the elves never age, and your sleigh is always magically loaded without a toy ever being dropped or damaged.  But I think that behind the magic and Hollywood glitter, you're probably in desperate need of some ergonomic help. In my shameless attempt to get off your naughty list, I’d like to recommend a few additions to your shop:

    1. You guys have been manually loading that sleigh for years, and I bet you’ve got an army of burnt-out elves with aching backs and sore shoulders, plus a back room full of broken toys that were dropped.  A Gorbel Pivot Pro® Articulating Jib Crane or even an Easy Arm® Intelligent Lifting Arm would be a great help in loading the sleigh.  Either one will keep the elves happy and healthy and keep the toys in one piece.

    2. The reindeer have been dragging that sleigh around for a really long time.  Maybe it’s time to think about giving them a rest and retrofitting the sleigh to run on batteries.  An overhead crane in the garage is just what you need to pop those heavy electric battery packs in and out.

    3. Rumor has it you had to carry a blitzed Blitzen home from the Christmas party last year.  How about a Cleveland Tramrail® system, so that next time he overindulges you can hook him up to a hoist and send him home by monorail?

    4. A Gorbel Tether Track™ Fall Arrest Anchor System.  Steep rooftops.  Slippery shingles.  Need I say more?

    Give us a call once the holidays are over and you have some downtime.  We can find a rep in the North Pole to come out and recommend the best solutions for you.  Oh – and if you have room in your bag for a new laptop for me, that’d be sweet.

    Thanks!

     

    Full story

  • Susan Griepsma

    Gorbel's New York headquarters gets a variety of woodland visitors throughout the year. We have cats and deer and the occasional fox roaming our campus. We even had a momma raccoon and her babies make a rather stinky home in the storage trailer that houses our trade show display.  But perhaps the most terrifying visitor we've had is the spider that recently took up residence in our Marketing department this week:

    Here it is attacking Regional Territory Manager Joe Demott. Don't worry - we saved Joe before he was devoured by the hungry spider.

    It's all part of our Halloween festivities here at Gorbel. Each department was challenged to a Halloween decorating contest. This "little" guy and his web were built by the Marketing Department during lunch hours this week.

    What does your company do to celebrate Halloween?

    Full story

  • Susan Griepsma

    September means a lot of things here in Western NY – the kids are back in school, the leaves are starting to change colors, and it’s Carnival of Caring time here at Gorbel. Our Carnival of Caring is an annual event where Gorbel and our neighboring company, Retrotech, do a bunch of activities on our lunch hours that bring us together as a company to have fun, but also give us a chance to raise money for a great cause.

    This year, we raised money for the BackPack Program of our local Foodlink Food Bank. The BackPack Program provides nearly 1800 children per week in 29 local school districts with nutritious foods they can take home with them over weekends and school holidays.

    This year’s Carnival spanned the entire month of September, and included activities like a kick-off breakfast put on by our IT and Product Development departments, because really, isn’t everything better with bacon? We also had a Battle of the Bands, featuring Gorbel and Retrotech employees showing off their musical talents; our always popular Dodgeball competition, where we again failed to dethrone the reigning champions; a cook-off where we got to sample yummy treats made by employees, and a trivia game where we got to show off our knowledge of random information. We’ll be posting the total raised when all the events are finished, but early totals have us already up over $2500 raised. Just $160 feeds one child for an entire school year, and we are so happy that we can help at least 15 kids take home nutritious foods this year, because kids have enough to worry about without having to wonder about where they’ll get their next meal.

     

     

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  • Susan Griepsma

    My co-workers like to leave random things for me on my desk overnight.  I've found unexplained money stuck under my keyboard, Happy Meal toys on my chair, an unopened copy of the movie Wolf on DVD taped to my bookshelf, even framed pictures of someone else's family sitting on my desk.  I just never know what I'm going to find when I come to work.  Last week, someone was kind enough to leave a folder of old Gorbel newsletters, and I wanted to share this walk down memory lane with all of you.

    First up, a newsletter from Spring 1995 and the headline is Bigger Customer Service Department!  In 18 years, our Customer Service department has quadrupled in size.  Nice to see so many faces in that picture that are still here at Gorbel: Bill Mayer, Murray Hems, Tim Loughlin, and Judy Pascoe!

     

    Next up was an announcement of Gorbel's new website.  Here's the cover of our May 1996 newsletter, which includes the sentence "Our Home Page has been enhanced for the Netscape Browser which means it will run significantly faster using the Netscape Browser than other browsers."  When's the last time you heard anyone talking about Netscape?

     

    And finally, from the Winter of 1996, this newsletter introduces you to some people at Gorbel (Teresa Riker, Tim Loughlin, and Tom Robinson) - all of whom are still working here today, 17 years later! 

     

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  • Susan Griepsma

    We've mentioned in previous posts that we like to work hard and play hard. That is never more true than in our annual Carnival of Caring, where we get together on our lunch hours to do silly things like play Jeopardy, have cook offs, and throw dodgeballs at our co-workers. This year's Carnival was no different.  We raised over $1800 this year for the nearby Golisano Children's Hospital. It's an amazing place that is near and dear to many of our the families here at Gorbel, and it makes us proud to be able to support it each year.  

    This year we started off with some team Jeopardy, where it became painfully obvious that I need to spend less time reading People and more time watching CNN. A very intelligent and well-read team from our IT department ran away with the win there. Later events included a cook-off where we got to sample and vote on tons of delicious food (Peanut butter fudge. Enough said), have a rousing game of dodgeball, sell our unwanted treasures at a silent auction, and my favorite event of the week, a Tug of War that brought half the company out to our volleyball court to see which team would reign supreme.  Congrats to a team made up of Cleveland Tramrail factory guys plus a ringer from our Manufacturing office, who held off 7 other teams to win the title of "Strongest Team at Gorbel." 

    Thanks to everyone who participated and supported this wonderful cause!

                    

     

    Full story

  • Susan Griepsma

    The opening ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London will be on July 27th, and the games run through August 9, so today we’re checking in with our blog team to see what they like most about the games.

    Jennifer D’Alessandro:
    These games are always something that I look forward to watching every four years.  I remember as a kid sitting and watching them with my family, the excitement on the faces of my parents as we watched our best from the US compete.  One of the most exciting events that sticks in my mind was during the 1980 Winter Olympics when the underdog USA team, made up of amateur and collegiate players beat the big, brawny professional Russian players.  One of my favorite movies is now Miracle on Ice.  Herb Brooks was an amazing, inspirational coach.

    I was 10 when I felt that first rush of excitement and nail biting anxiety watching sports. I continue as an adult to feel that same rush when I watch the Olympic games.  So if we feel that adrenaline rush just watching the games, imagine what those athletes are feeling competing in them.

    Some of my favorite summer games to watch are volleyball (especially the two on two beach games), gymnastics, track and field events, and any of the swimming competitions.

    Matt Houck:
    I’m really looking forward to watching the Olympics this summer, but not just the track and field or swimming events. I like the less publicized events that won’t make the headlines.

    Table tennis will probably be televised at 3 am, but set your DVR. This isn’t your daddy’s ping pong match. The hand-eye coordination of these people is incredible, and deserves a ton of respect. Water polo? Joke all you want about the horses drowning – these are incredible athletes who are able to tread water, fend off opponents and follow the game action simultaneously. I can’t do a back float without a nose plug and my inflatable swimmies on. Have you ever watched a badminton match? I’d scream in horror if I was out there and the shuttlecock flew by my head at 100 mph or more. Finally…handball. Did you know that was an Olympic sport? Honestly, I didn’t until I saw it on this year’s schedule, so I’ll absolutely be checking that out.

    Like Jen, I’ll also be looking for the volleyball events. I love watching the traditional indoor volleyball matches, the speed and power of the game is awe inspiring. I will not, however, watch any diving events until Cannonball and Bellyflop become officially sanctioned by the Olympic Committee.

    Susan Griepsma:
    I’m a sucker for a good story, so my favorite parts of watching the Olympics are the background stories the networks show about the different athletes and the struggles they went through on their journey to become world class athletes.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cheered on an Olympian I had never heard of before that broadcast simply because the back story they showed before the competition inspired me so much. 

    Hand in hand with that is the sheer emotion of the games.  How can you not be moved by the look on the face of a first-time medal winner, soaking in every second on the stand as their national anthem plays behind them, or seeing the looks of pride on the faces of their families in the stands?  I get chills just thinking about it.

    I also love cheering on anyone with ties to the Rochester, NY area (Gorbel is located about 20 miles east of Rochester) so this year I’m especially excited to cheer on swimmer Ryan Lochte, who was born in Rochester; track and field pole vault standout Jenn Suhr, from nearby Churchville, NY; and of course, soccer star and Rochester native/hometown hero, Abby Wambach.

    So now you know what the Gorbel blog team is looking forward to as the Olympics start up.  What are you looking forward to?  Any favorite memories from Olympics past?

    Full story

  • Susan Griepsma

    Having fun is a very crucial part of what makes Gorbel successful.  We work hard, but we make time for fun things that bring us together as a company, like ice cream socials and tailgate parties, volleyball leagues and golf tournaments.  As a group, we're big fans of food and sports.  Could you tell? 

    We even put on an annual Carnival of Caring, a week-long event where we do different activities at lunchtime that raise money for a local children's hospital, AND give us the chance to compete with our co-workers in trivia contests and relay races.  There are tried and true events that remain fun every year, like Dodgeball and Cook Offs, but after 6 years doing the Carnival dunk tank, we've pretty much dunked everyone in the place. 

    A winning Dodge Ball team from a past Carnival, getting pelted with water balloons by the non-winning teams...

    We need idea from all of our fun readers.  Help us, please!  What are some things your company does to keep work fun?

    Full story

  • Susan Griepsma

    As I type this, it's a dark and dreary 42 degrees out and there's not a snowflake in sight.  I heard on the news that if this keeps up, we're going to break a 134-year old record for least snowy December in our area - and I am COMPLETELY ok with that.  But the lack of snow has messed with my mental calendar, because the weather feels so much like late October/early November that I keep forgetting there's only 11 days left in the year!  While the rest of the blog team is busy putting together an amazing editorial calendar for next year, I decided to look back at some of our most popular posts from 2011:

    Our What's Wrong with this Application feature continues to be a hit.  Here are some classics from the past 12 months:

    Brian Reh's President's Corner posts have gotten a lot of great feedback:

    We also threw a little fun into the mix:

    Thanks for all the fun and feedback throughout the year (and for all the phone calls razzing me about the Bills).  On behalf of the Gorbel blog team, we wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and good health and much happiness in 2012. 

    Full story

  • Susan Griepsma

    Some people spend their lunch hour waiting in line at Wendy's, or working out at the gym, or running those errands that are so much easier to do without three kids in the back of the car arguing over who gets to drive the race car cart at Wegmans.  Last week, a good chunk of Gorbel spent their lunch hours throwing wet balls at co-workers, testing out their knowledge of 90's pop culture, and emptying their pocket lint and pennies into big glass jars.  That's right, it can only mean one thing - we survived another Carnival of Caring.

    Each year, our Carnival of Caring is a week of fun lunch-time events where we raise money for a local children's hospital, while competing and playing and generally acting like children.  This is our 7th year doing the Carnival, and in those 7 years, we've raised close to $20,000 for Golisano Children's Hospital.  Not bad for a little lunchtime craziness. 

    Here are some pictures from this year's events, including the ever popular Water Dodge Ball and Dunk Tank events, plus this year's new Trivia Challenge.  Congrats to all our winners, and thanks to everyone for their continued generosity!

    The Gorbel blog team (with some help from CSR Joe DeMott) came away with some Dodge Ball wins, but weren't able to take home the trophy.

    One of the highlights of the annual Dunk Tank is checking out the crazy costumes the dunkees wear.  Props to Audrey Blakeslee from our Sales Department, seen here trash talking some throwers.  Think climbing up on that seat is tough?  Imagine trying to climb up in a wet gorilla suit...over, and over, and over, and over...

    CSR Justin Romagnola beams with pride as he collects the medals for his winning Dodge Ball team.

    A team from our Manufacturing office ponders a tough question during the Trivia Challenge.

    Full story

  • Susan Griepsma

    Yesterday we had our first real snowfall in Western NY, and it finally put me in the holiday spirit.  Happy Hanukkah to all of our friends celebrating the Festival of Lights this week.  And for those of you in the midst of Christmas shopping madness, relax.  You still have 22 days to shop and wrap and bake.  So in the spirit of the holidays, here's my letter to Santa.

    Dear Santa,
    In the movies, your workshop is a happy place, the elves never age, and your sleigh is always magically loaded without a toy ever being dropped or damaged.  But I think that behind the magic and Hollywood glitter, you're probably in desperate need of some ergonomic help. In my shameless attempt to get off your naughty list, I’d like to recommend a few additions to your shop:

    1. You guys have been manually loading that sleigh for years, and I bet you’ve got an army of burnt-out elves with aching backs and sore shoulders, plus a back room full of broken toys that were dropped.  A Gorbel Pivot Pro® Articulating Jib Crane or even an Easy Arm® Intelligent Lifting Arm would be a great help in loading the sleigh.  Either one will keep the elves happy and healthy and keep the toys in one piece.


    2. The reindeer have been dragging that sleigh around for a really long time.  Maybe it’s time to think about giving them a rest and retrofitting the sleigh to run on batteries.  An overhead crane in the garage is just what you need to pop those heavy electric battery packs in and out.

    3. Rumor has it you had to carry a blitzed Blitzen home from the Christmas party last year.  How about a Cleveland Tramrail® system, so that next time he overindulges you can hook him up to a hoist and send him home by monorail?

    4. A Gorbel Tether Track™ Fall Arrest Anchor System.  Steep rooftops.  Slippery shingles.  Need I say more?

    Give us a call once the holidays are over and you have some downtime.  We can find a rep in the North Pole to come out and recommend the best solutions for you.  Oh – and if you have room in your bag for a new laptop for me, that’d be sweet.

    Thanks!
     

     

     

    Full story

  • Susan Griepsma

    One of our goals when we started this blog was to give readers a look beyond our products to the people who make Gorbel tick.  Today's blog post focuses on some of these people, and also focuses on something else that makes our people tick - the thrill of competition. 

    We have a lot of car and motorcycle enthusiasts here at Gorbel, and you know summer's here when classic cars and gleaming motorcycles start filling up the parking lot.  But for some Gorbel employees, having nice looking wheels just isn't enough.  It all comes down to speed...

    A couple weeks ago, Vice President of Operations Tim Witter, G-Force® Service guru Joe Bia, and Application Engineer Tom Carter took their cars to a local racetrack to see who would rule the track.  We knew his reaction time for fixing G-Force® service issues was unmatched but Joe is even quicker on the drag strip!  Tim's Toyota Tundra 4x4 and Tom's VW Jetta were no match for Joe's '72 Dodge Charger.  He smoked them on the 1/4 mile track multiple times, posting 16.187 sec at a speed of 83.32 MPH on his first run and 16.259 @ 83.43 MPH on his second run.

    Congrats to Joe "Jack Rabbit" Bia!  Let the smack talk commence...

     

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  • Susan Griepsma

    Here's the second video in our Gorbel Collaboration series, where employees were divided into teams and challenged to come up with a creative way to show who Gorbel is and what we do. 

    Just a warning - this song will be stuck in your head ALL DAY...Enjoy!

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  • Susan Griepsma

    Collaboration.  It's a word we're hearing a lot around Gorbel lately.  How can we collaborate more with other people and other departments to offer our customers even better service and better products? 

    To really drive home the point of collaboration, the Operations side of our business divided their people into several cross-departmental teams and challenged them to collaborate to create a quick skit or video about Gorbel and our products.  And the results?  Too good to keep to ourselves. 

    Here's just one of the videos that came out of the challenge...it combines a little movie magic, a lot of creativity, and whole bunch of fun.

    Full story

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