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Visual Edge Design, Inc. Wins Big in Best Places to Work in Tampa Bay

April 28, 2005

It all started as a regular day with a special luncheon at the Doubletree in Tampa. The event, put on by the Tampa Bay Business Journal is the first annual Best Places to Work in Tampa Bay. The majority of the attendees at this event are the finalists and their staff, all there with the anticipation of being deemed the Best Place to Work in all of Tampa Bay. No small recognition!

The atmosphere was fun and somewhat casual with party hats, noise makers and even some silliness. Not the usual stuffy business luncheon at all. The food was surprisingly quite palatable and the company at our table was pleasant. I was thoroughly impressed with the staff at TBBJ as they maintained a spirit of play which carried through the entire 2 hour event.

The MC for the afternoon was appropriately Tampa Bay Business Journal's Publisher, Arthur Porter, who I found to be a great host. His honesty and great sense of humor made the whole event - of course, I am quite partial to British humor anyway.

The proceedings started with an overview of all the categories that were competing, starting with the "Nearly Big" category, which is for 25 or less employees - which is the category we are in. He explained that they elected to call it "Nearly Big" instead of "Small" because the definition of small means "insignificant, of no consequence, etc" and since we are significant and of consequence, the category of "Small" did not fit at all. I liked him immediately.

I listened intently while Mr. Porter explained that since they put on this contest, obviously their company could not compete, but that one of the reasons he was so excited about this particular event is because he has maintained the philosophy at TBBJ that since his staff spend most of their waking hours there, it should be a great place to be. Lisa and I looked at each other with a raised eyebrow because I have stated that so many times to our staff and that is precisely our philosophy. We were definitely in the right room.

Each of the finalists were introduced and presented with a framed recognition for being finalists, this allowed us to square up the competition. I have to say that since we have always considered ourselves more like family than anything else, I felt a little intimidated by being surrounded by credit unions, lending institutions, and other industries. After all the introductions, they dove right into the 3rd Place Winner for the Nearly Big Category. We all applauded. I was just happy that we had been finalists, so when they announced the 2nd Place Runner Up and with the familiar words of are "Visual Edge Design, Incorporated" - I almost fell over. It was exciting and thrilling and I felt so proud that I couldn't stop smiling from ear to ear. I must confess that the rest of the event was a bit of a blur - but afterwards, Lisa and I plotted our celebration and could not wait to get back to tell the crew. We picked up a cake, non-alcoholic wine and treats, gathered up the staff and presented the award to them. The funny thing is that they were not surprised at all. They literally expected it.

I already know we have a great work environment. But it was very cool to know that our staff really feel that way too. After all, if you're going to spend most of your life somewhere, it should be fun.

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