This was a special WEFTEC for Entex Technologies. We won an award. We took three new employees. We were noticed. Not that a combination of these things hasn’t happened to some extent before, but we think this time it was different.
For starters, more people than ever seemed to recognize our company name, what we do, and our technology. Winning the 2014 WEF Innovative Technology of the Year Award also won us a spot inside the Innovation Pavillion, a central booth on the conference floor where most exhibitors and attendees venture at some point during the week to see which companies and technologies are currently on the cutting edge of innovation.
Beyond this surface layer of acknowledgement at WEFTEC, something deeper happened that week. We sent three new employees to New Orleans early on Wednesday to set up our booth alongside Jason Bowman, Regional Manager. These two Project Engineers, Mark Gockowski and Patty Richeson, and our new Marketing Analyst, Brittany Reeves, accepted the challenge of three full days of rigorous set-up. They hoisted, snapped, built, and hung each piece during the day while also finding time to keep up with their other work responsibilities.
In the middle of this phase of WEFTEC, the group spent Saturday volunteering at the WEFTEC Service Project building bioswales in Conrad Park to prevent the previous frequent flooding of the area, one of the only places where neighborhood kids congregate regularly. The leader announced upon arrival that there would be several volunteer groups, and Entex jumped right into the “break a sweat crew” to shovel and wheel barrow dirt, gravel, and sand for the majority of the day. The most rewarding part of the day was when some of the neighborhood kids came to shovel with the team and ate lunch with us, playing small pranks on the volunteers throughout the day.
On Sunday, the rest of the Entex team flew in to have a company dinner. The new employees wrapped up the preparation of the booth that morning to join the rest of Entex for some food and fun with their co-workers. This was a cherished time since our team is rarely all together in the same room as we travel often and some people work distantly.
Monday morning brought the official start of the conference. Entex team members, old and new, stood at our booth and talked to attendees about our solutions, technologies, and ways we could collaborate. Jason gave a presentation in the Innovation Pavillion about our award-winning Webitat for Lagoons technology, and we learned that the Indian food vendors easily sold the best food at the conference.
On Tuesday, we continued to connect with conference attendees and exhibitors. In addition, we attended several educational technical sessions to learn more about the industry, a crucial learning opportunity for our new hires. We ended the day at a reception for the WEF Award winners and attended the ceremony, where we formally accepted our 2014 WEF Innovative Technology of the Year Award and took an Entex team photo with it.
Wednesday was a day to network. Attendee traffic is always slow on the last day of the conference, giving time to talk with some of the other exhibitors who are friends of Entex and collaborate with us. At the end of the day, the Entex leadership team flew out of New Orleans, and our trusty booth crew broke down the booth, coming back early in the morning on Thursday to finish the job before they caught their own flights.
Sitting at the airport waiting to start the journey home, Jason, having worked at Entex for seven years, summed up what made this WEFTEC so special. He said “I feel more comfortable with this team than I have with any other team we have had.” The rest of us agree. There is something special about this team. We work together well and act like we have all known each other for much longer than a few months. We are excited for the progress we are going to be able to make with this group in the years ahead. In our tenth year, we feel that we are finally building a recognizable and trusted brand with an extraordinary team behind it.