September 29, 2012
That was the thought left by one or our members at closing. It truly was a wonderful day. The best part was seeing the over 70 members and family who came to share memories and update things that are going on with their lives today.
From the start, we were treated very well, ‘customers for the day’ by Sherrie Williams and her team Eric Thiele and Kari Atkinson. We were greeted at the front door by Kari and escorted to the Showcase for Building Efficiency. That is the customer center located on the top floor of the Brengel Technology Center. Kari graciously fielded questions about her experience at Johnson Controls from all of us on the elevator. We all had lots of questions that morning, and, an open, interested, caring approach was the standard for everyone from the current Johnson Controls team.
In the showcase, over our continental breakfast and coffee, we were treated to tours of the fantastic technology in use today. We learned though that it is not about the technology. It is about the customer and finding solutions to their business challenges and the opportunities provided by Johnson Controls. Sherrie and Eric led the tours explaining the value of this approach and the role that the technology plays. It has been very successful. A solution sale involving the showcase averages $8.8 million, more than double previous experience!
Dave Myers, President, Building Efficiency next led a discussion of “Johnson Controls Today.” This was great, really a discussion. Dave had the corporate presentation as a base, but he opened his presentation to any and all questions. Our group, as you may recall, is not afraid to ask a question. Dave responded to every question with a direct, thoughtful answer. Dave took us through the business units and numbers. And, he added those personal experiences, like describing how one manages an organization operating from 500 branches in 148 countries. He gave good credit to the strength of the Johnson Controls culture and an organization that reflects the local country population, but I am thinking that leadership plays a pretty good role also.
Andrew DeGuire, VP, Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions continued our learning process with the same open discussion approach on the topic ”Johnson Controls – Something Special”. Andrew hit a series of winners describing advanced technologies that are currently being developed by Building Efficiency with its customers. Net Zero Energy buildings in particular generated a lively discussion. Ron Waller who saved a few Btu’s in his time had a good technical exchange with Andrew – good stuff! I think Ron may want to stage a comeback. The care Andrew put into the discussion, his response to questions, and the preparation time taken from from his busy schedule, was appreciated by all.
After lunch we were treated to a review of the Milwaukee art scene, and a lesson in just how to view art. Jonas Karvelis, a tour guide at the Milwaukee Art Museum, gave us an animated presentation, where to find art in Milwaukee, and an introduction to the show “Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London”. This is the fellow who took Guinness public. He was looking for respectability through his art collection – lots of money, skipped by Monet in favor of the old masters! Oh, and that self portrait of Rembrandt we see so often reflects a man beaten down over time, out of money, with his head is cocked that way because he needed to look into the mirror to do the painting. Jonas gave us new insight into viewing art and ways to enhance our next visit to the museum.
The reunion continued, dinner with friends at the Italian Community Center. We had good food, good drinks, and music of the big band era from the Wilson Knights. Best of all there was lots of talk with friends and family. Paul Froehling, our president, was host in good form as always. At closing, Paul expressed our shared thought to recognize the tremendous contributions of Sharlene Wardinski over the years, both at work and in retirement. Due to her health condition Sharlene was not able to join us this year – but you can be sure that she was there in the minds of all, wishing her well.
With that, the Reunion 2012 came to a close.
Thanks to all for making it a wonderful day. . . . . Let’s do it again in two years . . . .you are all invited!
Jude Anders, VP Program