On Wednesday I and my department at work visited our new corporate headquarters, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. We were there for a few reasons.
- To learn.
- To teach.
- To brainstorm
- To get some idea of what we might be doing in the future.
- To see the place.
To borrow a phrase from possibly my least favorite POTUS (or at least his PR people who probably decided to put up the sign): “Mission Accomplished.”
The day started super early at 4:05 am, when my alarm went off, and I got up shortly after. The plan was to be ready by 5am, when one of my co-workers was supposed to pick me up behind my apartment building. Qapla’! (Success!) He showed up almost exactly at 5, and we headed off for Kwik Trip. From there we headed up good old highway 61, stopping on the far side of Lake City for a necessary break. At Hastings we headed for highway 52, and then to 494 to Eden Prairie. We made good time overall and got to HQ shortly after 7:30.
After getting let in the front door (they don’t open until 8), we were lead to the conference room where our morning meeting was going to be taking place, and basically instructed to sit in the front row. It’s a very nice conference room, quite large with three rows of tables, each with 7 chairs facing the front. In front, a podium with the necessary connections for a computer, and on the front wall a 10 foot by 8 foot (approximately) rear-projection screen for use with the podium. Very impressive.
A bit after 8, we were lead back to the front desk where we signed in and obtained visitors badges for the day, before returning to the conference room. At that point, basically everyone invited to the meeting was there. I grabbed a cup of coffee, my first in years, some sort of pastry and headed back to my front row seat.
First on the agenda was short introductions. Next up, business stuff that I can’t actually blog about very specifically. About all I can say is that my new company has some very cool stuff that my old company did not, and has some very smart people working for it. I didn’t really have anything to do other than listen, but it was interesting enough that I wasn’t bored until one of my Lewiston co-workers started his presentation about software that I have, quite literally, written (or at least heavily edited) the manual for. After all the presentations, there was a brainstorming session about how to make some stuff work. It went quite well I’d say.
There were a few breaks throughout the morning session, and during one of those I snapped this picture with my phone out the back of the building from a lobby/break area:
So yes, there is a lake right outside the buildings! Very nice. Rumor has it that it takes about 1/2 hour to walk around, but I didn’t get a chance to test that myself.
Then it was Noon and time for lunch. We had catered sandwiches from a local sandwich company. We ate in a 5th floor conference room that had the stereotypical central table with ‘executive’ chairs around it, big enough for about 10-12 people or so. The sandwich was good. We got a bit of a chance to chat with some of the people that work at HQ more informally, which was nice.
After lunch, we got a demo of some photography related stuff, which was pretty neat. Then we headed for a different conference room, where the Photo Engineering manager and his lead software developer discussed with us projects that they need help on, including some documentation projects that I will almost certainly be working on. Huzzah! A lot of the afternoon meeting was developer speak that didn’t technically affect or concern me, but I paid attention anyway, since I dabble in computer programming, as my Sunday D&D group knows (I’ve programmed a simple VB.NET application to keep track of combat numbers). I scored at least a few points by knowing that CLI stood for Common Language Infrastructure and mentioned that I dabble in programming.
And then it was one last demo of some neat software stuff, and we were off for home. We left from HQ at a bit after 4, and I got home at about 7, as we hit slow heavy traffic on 494 going east. A long day, but very interesting. By the end of the day I think all of us visitors were on information overload. I know I was. Just trying to remember who was who and did what and what all the acronyms meant was somewhat tricky. At my old company, we didn’t use any acronyms. At my new one, acronyms are all over the place, so that’s a pretty big change. The campus is very nice, and everyone I met seemed nice and smart. They seem genuinely interested in doing good work, and having us help.
Where this leaves me longer term, I still don’t know, but short-term it looks like I’m going to have extra work coming up. The Photo Engineering manager made a point of asking me how much I had on my plate right now, so that’s a good sign.
Anyway, until next time: Have fun, don’t die, and make mine Marvel!