Last Tuesday, we had our official "Grand Opening" for the new Tucson Executive Briefing Center!
We sent out fancy invitations to all the IBM executives who supported this center, local dignitaries from the Tucson and State of Arizona level, and all of the IBM employees on the Tucson campus.
Since our new center is significantly cozier (5700 square feet versus our previous 15,000 square feet), we split the day into two separate events. The first for the IBM executives and local VIPs, and the second for the rest of the IBM employees on campus.
Of course, there is no free lunch. The day started out with a series of speeches. My manager, Doug Davies, was the master of ceremonies to introduce each speaker.
Alistair Symon, IBM Vice President of Enterprise Storage, explained how important storage affects everyone's lives. If you use an ATM machine to withdraw money, for example, you are most probably using IBM System Storage behind the scenes. Nearly all of the IBM disk and tape storage products are designed here in Tucson.
Bruce Wright (shown here) directs the University of Arizona's Office of University Research Parks, serves as CEO of the UA Tech Park, and the founder and president of the Arizona Center for Innovation. Bruce said a few words on how please he was that IBM decided to reverse its July 2011 decision to leave Tucson. The UofA owns all the property, renting back four of the eleven buildings back to IBM, so is effectively our landlord. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of IBM's sale of the technology park to the University.
Tucson Councilwoman Shirley Scott talked about the improtance of high-paying jobs to the local economy. While IBMers in Tucson are paid less than our counterparts in San Jose, Austin, Raleigh or Poughkeepsie, we are certainly [paid more than the average Tucsonan], thus helping to raise the standard of living here.
Dr. Michael Varney, president and CEO of the local Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, praised IBM for its strong reputation in ethics and diversity.
My new second-line manager, Karl Duvalsaint, and my new third-line manager, Doug Dreyer, emphasized the importance of co-locating Briefing Centers in sites that have Research and Development activity. It is important for clients to interact directly with developers, and it is also good for developers to understand directly from clients their needs, preferences and requirements. Worldwide, the IBM Systems and Technology Group has only twelve Executive Briefing Centers, and the Tucson EBC is one of them.
This is not to say that IBM does not have centers in other locations. Our newest client center in Singapore is a shining example. Of course, if they want experts to speak to clients there, they need to be flown in. Doug Dreyer mentioned that IBM plans to launch six such centers in Africa as well.
Next was the ribbon cutting. From left to right, Lee Olguin (our Gunny Sargeant), Tucson Councilwoman Shirley Scott, UofA's Bruce Wright, IBM VP of Program Management Calline Sanchez, My second-line manager Karl Duvalsaint, IBM VP Allistair Simon, my first-line manager Doug Davies, Tucson Chamber of Commerce President Dr. Michael Varney, and my third-line manager Doug Dreyer. We had a member of the local high school band do the drum roll.
Once the ribbon was cut, the IBM Executves and local VIPs were brought in to see the new facility, which has two large rooms, one common dining area, an 800-square foot green data center to showcase our products, our own set of restrooms, a galley to stage up the food and beverage service, and two smaller rooms for private conversations or conference calls. A local high school band provided live music throughout the day.
I am back from my awesome vacation in and around Portland, Oregon! I rented a hybrid Toyota Prius from Hertz, which got about 50 MPG for this trip.
On Wednesday, I walked through the gardens of [The Grotto] on Sandy Blvd, ate a German lunch at [The Rheinelander], then visited the [Crown Point Vista House] along the [Columbia River Gorge]. There were several fabulous waterfalls that could be seen from the parking area without hiking into the wilderness. We wouldn't want to encounter a bear in the woods, or a cow in the field!
Friday morning I spent at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry [OMSI], which had an [explosive exhibition based on the television show "Mythbusters"]. I then saw the OMNIMAX film ["Sea Monsters"] which followed the life of a pre-historic sea animal called Dolly.
In the afternoon, Rafael, Mo and I explored Portland's waterfront and various bridges via [Segway tour]. The cherry blossoms along our path were in full bloom. If you have not ridden on one of these Segway scooters, they are a lot of fun!
On Saturday, Portland held their [Saturday Market] with arts and crafts for sale. This is similar to Tucson's 4th Avenue Street fair. The difference is that the "Saturday Market" occurs every Saturday of the year and Tucson's 4th Avenue Street Fair occurs only twice per year. The weather was very nice, so, many of the locals were in t-shirts and shorts. A live concert by [Grupo Condor] were playing on the main stage.
I walked past the [Voodoo Donuts store]. There was a long line to get in. A woman leaving the store carrying a pink donut box complained she waited 2 hours just to spend $28 for a dozen donuts. The magic is in the hole!
Getting out of the hustle and bustle of the Saturday Market, I had some green tea at the [Lan Su Chinese Garden]. A sister city to Portland is Suzhou, China, and this garden was very peaceful to walk through.
Nearly everything was closed on Easter Sunday, so I went down to the [TulipFest at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm] in Woodburn, OR. This was the opening weekend, with over 40 acres of flowers to walk through, various food carts, wine tasting, and rides for the kids.
My final dinner in Portland was at the [Red Star Tavern and Roadhouse], just a few blocks from my hotel.
Getting back to Tucson proved to be a bit challenging. The flight from Portland to San Francisco was delayed due to fog, so we got re-routed to Seattle, then back to Los Angeles, and finally to Tucson.