Monday, July 13, 2009


Chick-Fil-A is all over the country, but it's not the same as it is here. In Fort Wayne, it's an experience. I've never had service like this at a fast food restaurant. The manager is out on the floor, usually by the door to say "come on in folks" or some variation. Sometimes they even have staff outside to greet you. They are fast at the register, so there is hardly ever a line to order, even though the place is packed.

It's usually pretty full at lunch time, so you'd think it might be hard to find a table. Not here. They have "Grandma" and "Grandpa" to find you a table. These seventy-something-year-olds will give you napkins, a straw, dipping sauces - anything you need, and if you don't have a table they will find you one. I even have seen them move tables with extra chairs in order to make a seat for someone. Last time, I saw the manager personally serve a family of 8 and see if there was anything else he could get them. Then, to my astonishment, he asked if they would like fresh ground pepper for their salad, and proceeded to grind it for them from a large pepper grinder. At a fast food restaurant?? I think there are sometimes 2 grandma's - this is the first I've seen Grandpa.

They also walk around and ask if you got everything you ordered, if you need anything, etc. They'll stop and chat with you and be friendly. Today "Grandpa" gave me a mint as i was finishing up my lunch and "Grandma" was walking around with free samples of a milkshake. All of this is during their busy times, when any other fast food restaurant would be dirty, loud, and hectic.

The store has its own website and here's a quote:
"We’re committed to providing Second Mile Service and we strive to exceed your expectations. Whether it’s the friendly greeting as you walk in, the hot food or the comfortable dining environment, we hope you will have a great experience at our restaurant.

Community is important to us and it is our hope that we can enrich the lives of all of our customers. We’ve enjoyed getting to know our guests and look forward to any opportunity to give back to this community who has so graciously supported us. The next time you’re in our restaurant, please introduce yourself. It would be our pleasure to meet you."

When I left today, the manager took the tray out of my hands and said "I'll take care of that. Do you want a refill on your drink?" Amazing.

Oh, and did I mention that I'm addicted to their food? So, so good.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

TV and Three Rivers Festival

On Friday Kelly had to work late and do the graphics for the news.  Normally she would direct the news Mon and Tue and do commercial production Wed, Thur, Fri.  On Wed - Fri she's normally home at 5.  So i took the opportunity to go see her at work!

For those of you who think all television stations are like the NBC studio on Rockefeller Center, you are sadly mistaken.  From the outside, Kelly's station looks like a dive.  It's tin siding with a beat up parking lot.  The building looks small and little more than a shack with a tower on top.

Inside, it's much nicer.  I think her old station was slightly nicer, but this one has its perks.  Here's Kelly working on an awesome graphic for Michael Jackson that unfortunately got cut from the show.

The switcher (aka the machine where you press the buttons to change the shots and fade the graphics in)

The audio board and the control monitor that shows all the shots and video sources that can be selected:

Kelly working hard! (This shot was not staged)

On Saturday morning, it rained hard - but by the afternoon it was really nice out.  This weekend and next weekend is the Three Rivers Festival.  It's the biggest festival in Fort Wayne and I think it might be the biggest in Indiana.  They closed Main Street for the "Chalk Walk".  People could reserve an 8'x8' square and draw pretty much anything.  It's sponsored by the Art Museum and some of them are really good!

This one was done by Jenn, the graphic designer from work, and some of her friends.

It's all based downtown around the same park as Germanfest and all the other festivals have been - except this festival is much larger and connects all through downtown.  We hadn't been to this park before, which has a nice fountain and backs up to the art museum.  The white tents in the background are local art vendors.  There were hundreds of the tents all over the festival.

Friday, July 3, 2009


On Wednesday I gave a presentation to some important people at work.  If you've heard me talk about this already, scroll down to the bottom...there's more.

  • The CEO (Tim)
  • The VP (Jason)
  • My Boss
  • The Co-Director of IT
  • The Acting Marketing Director
  • The CEO's daughter
  • The CEO's assistant
  • and 2 people I work with - Sara (the copy writer) and Jenn (the graphic designer)

The last 2 were my support group...and i had shown it to my boss also, so she jumped in to clarify on my behalf a few times.  But largely, I was on my own.  My powerpoint didn't work because it was Office 07 and the conference room hasn't been upgraded yet, so I had to run back downstairs to my desk and save it back to 03 format.  By the time I arrived back up at the conference room, everyone was there and it was a few minutes past the start time for the meeting.  Everyone around the table was just chatting and I was standing up front, so I called the meeting to order.  Intimidating?  Yes.  Very much so.  Oh, and the CEO was in the front seat, so I was literally standing over top of him looking down.

I was rough when I started and out of breath from running downstairs and back up, but I went through things to consider while looking at the website design, including the potential audience and where the company could grow outside of our "insurance bubble". I keyed in on buzzwords that I heard Tim ( the CEO) mention at a sales meeting last week. When I showed the new design, I left everyone in the room speechless. After they saw the new design there was silence for about 30 seconds before Jason (the VP, who doubted hiring me because I didn't know the insurance business) finally asked "how long have you worked here". Me: less than 3 weeks. Jason: "You'd never know. You get it."  Or something to that effect. They are trying to grow Ash beyond just insurance agents to be able to expand cliental, and that was exactly what my proposal was about. Basically, I tied together all their company visions that they have brainstormed over the past year into a new web design without knowing it. They couldn't find a single thing to change about my design and concept for reorganization.

I thought I did a good job.  Every Friday morning, we have an all-company meeting where the CEO speaks and gives inspirational words.  It's always video taped for internal use.  I happen to edit the video, so I took a clip from it.  Check it out below: