Part of the culture at BVA is the allocation of budgets allowed for teams across offices to be able to get together annually and share in both company and team-building activities. After a managerial change and numerous new hires, the BVA design team scheduled an offsite retreat in order to further develop its already strong team chemistry with its new staff as well as create better cohesion with the designers in San Diego and Columbus. With a great suggestion by the Creative Services Director, Jacob Gilmore, the team decided to rent a Duffy boat for a cruise around San Diego's Mission Bay. On the boat the team would have open conversation, treats, and discuss their Big 5 results. The three Columbus designers (Jacob, Mark Oxier, and Sean Sewell) flew into San Diego for an entire business week to work with the San Diego designers. On Wednesday of that week, the retreat began.
Festivities started with a group trip to the local Vons grocery store to stock up on snacks such as salt and vinegar chips, s'mores, charcuteries, and always necessary carrots with hummus. After numerous difficult choices and multiple pauses to crunch budgetary numbers (a time-consuming task for designers), the grocery gang was able to acquire all of the desired snacks and drinks. Tristan Reed, a San Diego designer, was particularly sad though for the national White Claw shortage had finally come to San Diego, and they were forced to purchase the inferior Truly.
The design team boarded the Duffy boat with oceanic trepidation but were soothed by the ample supply of spiked seltzer and relatively calm bay waters. With a great big push from Mission Bay Marina employee, Steve, the gang was left to drift at sea. Capt. Gilmore deftly steered through a crowded boat dock with confidence and nautical mastery. With a highlighted map in hand, Capt. Gilmore directed the boat through a few docile turns before passing a sleeping seal on a buoy to find open waters. With the air at the team's back, and a motor that capped speeds at 5 mph, the design team set sail. The playlist started strong but eventually faded into late-90’s mediocrity before an executive decision was made to switch to upbeat jazz. Active discussions, drinking, and salt and vinegar chips eating was had by all.
Enjoying the bay views with salt and vinegar chips
San Diego's Michael Weller (left) and Steven Oey (right) chilling on the bow
Columbus' Mark Oxier and Sean Sewell (left) enjoy the food with San Diego's Grace Anello (right)
San Diego's Jeremy vanderPluym (left) enjoys his chips, Courtney Wall enjoys her inferior Truly (right)
Columbus' Jacob Gilmore captains his team
As part of the retreat, the design team discussed their overall Big 5 scores and how they matched up comparatively. There were a few interesting results. The team was mostly evenly distributed for ‘Need for Stability’ with small but equally spread groupings but found itself leaning largely in the Extraverted scale for Extraversion, an interesting breakaway from traditional designer stereotypes. The stand-out category for the design team was Originality, which had the entire team, save for Madalyn Lee, with the points of 49-55 in ‘Moderate’ territory (Madalyn, meanwhile, held out as a strong Preserver with a 36). It was fascinating to see the entire team not include a single Explorer. In addition, Accommodation saw the complete opposite results, with the team perfectly distributed across every point of the spectrum. And last, for ‘Consolidation’, the team once again found itself similar to its spread in the ‘Need for Stability’ category with more closely distributed groupings.
After draining the spiked seltzer supply, eating ample amounts of salt and vinegar chips, and completing three sizable rotations of Mission Bay, the ship returned to port and the design team made haste for San Diego's famous Sunset Cliffs. Chasing the sun, the group reached the cliffs at the perfect time to find an amazing and trademarked Southern California sunset for the Columbus designers to experience.
After sunset, the decision was made to split up once again, sending one group to Nico’s in Ocean Beach for essential California burritos and the other to the shoreline of Ocean Beach to find a fire pit. The Nico’s group successfully ordered eleven burritos with Courtney Wall’s adept ordering skills but failed to find a bathroom after visiting three separate establishments. Meanwhile, the beach group found the perfect fire pit and with shockingly little struggle, were able to start a great fire and settle down.
The Ocean Beach bonfire was a fantastic bonding time and a great showcase of San Diego for the Midwest designers. There was nothing more ‘San Diego’ than eating California burritos in the sand with a can of Tecate. S'mores, wine, and more vinegar chips were consumed late into the night. An especially active buddy system was necessary for attending the beach bathroom due to a rather concerning homeless person in the bathroom who had taken to the difficult task of sliding an old credit card through every bathroom tile. Past 11 o’clock, the team, now entirely sick thanks to a summer bug spread haphazardly by Tristan, retreated for the night ahead of a full and productive workday the following morning.
The whole team with Tecates and fire