The Susan G. Komen Twin Cities 3-Day kept the Event 360 team on their toes. This recap is from Liz Parks who played the role of Vehicle Coordinator. In this role Liz is responsible for managing all event-related vehicles in order to meet the transportation needs and expectations of event staff and crew members.
Monday, August 17 (Travel Day)
I left home at 8:40 a.m. and arrived in the Twin Cities at 1:50 p.m. and headed to the car rental to get a minivan. I plugged in the phone GPS to find my hotel. Once there, I got organized and waited for Tami Gray to arrive for dinner.
Tuesday, August 18 (Prep Day)
I headed to the load-in lot around 7:45 a.m. It was overcast and cool (low 60’s). There were a few box trucks (15′ and 24′ moving trucks) on the lot that had already been delivered by Budget. We expect them to deliver 24 box trucks total. And four of the 24′ trucks must have a lift gate. Budget was also in the process of delivering 14 passenger vans. The cars and minivans will be brought in by other staff as they arrive from the airport. There will be nine cars, 25 minivans and four pick-up trucks. I started by pulling the stickers for all the vehicles. These small vinyl stickers will be placed on the upper front passenger side windshield and upper driver side rear window.
I started placing stickers on the box trucks that have a lift on the back first so that they can start to be loaded with supplies. Before I got too far it started raining, and you can’t stick stickers in the rain. So I headed over to where all of the passenger vans were parked and started putting the stickers on the seats of the passenger vans.
All of the keys need to have a corresponding sticker to the ones on the windows. I separated the spare keys, numbered them and put them on my key board so that I have the spare in case someone locks their set in the vehicle. I wrote the vehicle number on the contracts and pulled them so they could be scanned. By now all the box trucks have arrived so I put the rest of the stickers on the truck seats and pull the contracts. Then back to the Command Center to scan the pulled contracts so we have a copy in case of any incidents. The rain hasn’t given up so I am soaked and dripping. After I finished, I put the contracts in a plastic baggy (it’s still raining hard) and headed out to put them back in the truck and passenger vans. At the same time I put contracts back into the box trucks and passenger vans, I also put an accident kit in each driver’s side door panel. I need to sticker the box truck keys but they are all wet from hanging in the doors. So I grab some paper towels and sit in the trucks to dry the keys, and add the stickers. Once done, I lock the doors and keep the keys.
Then I head over to the passenger vans and returned the scanned contracts, pulled the keys and locked the doors. All the keys are added to the key board to keep them in order and easily identified. It’s 4:00 p.m., time to head back to the hotel since there is not much else we can do in the rain as the rest of the mini vans and cars arrive. I grabbed some dinner from Five Guys and ate while trying to warm up in my room. It was good day and I got a lot done in spite of the rain.
Wednesday, August 19 (Prep Day)
We all met at 8:00 a.m. I learned where the vehicles would be moved on Thursday night in preparation for the crew taking them on Friday morning. Right now they are in a staging area we call the load-in lot. I also learned where the crew will park them over the weekend and where they will be returned to me on Sunday; also called the load-out lot. After the meeting everyone heads over to the opening site. There will be new cars and vans to check in, following the same process I did for the passenger vans and box trucks. The first order of business is to put the box truck keys in the doors. Then, with the help of other staff members, we take paper towels to dry the top corner of the windshield and apply the numbered stickers. We have to work fast since it is beginning to rain again. We really need to finish the trucks so we can start loading the supplies. After we finished the trucks we head over to put the keys in the doors of the vans and cars and get the stickers applied. New vehicles are on the lot that need to be assigned a number and the same process as Tuesday. I am working off a list that indicates who is supposed to receive a minivan, a passenger van or a car. We also must make sure that all of the minivans assigned to route marking, Pit Stops and the lunch coordinator have what is called a “stow-n-go” (basically all the seats need to fold flat so there is enough room for all the signs and supplies). There is also a list that lets me know what kind of vehicle is being brought from the airport. I started by assigning the Route Marking minivans so they can be loaded with the route supplies. They will leave early on Thursday morning to start marking the route.
During this time I am told that one of the 24′ box truck has a door that will not close. I call our contact at Budget to have a replacement brought in.
We must put a 3-Day magnet on each driver side door and the sweep vans have Alpha magnets for the back. Each vehicle is also assigned a GPS. These are specifically numbered to match the stickers. We work off of a spreadsheet and make sure we do not miss any steps in the process and each vehicle is checked in and loaded appropriately.
All is going well, but it does not appear that we will have enough stow-n-go minivans and based on what is being brought in by other staff we will have too many passenger vans. My co-worker and vehicle assistant, Val, started to call some of the incoming staff to ask them to request stow-n-go minivans from the Budget counter. We are successful in getting two additional stow-n-go vans but will still be short one. After discussing the situation with Brian Preyers, the Operations Manager, I call Budget to see if we can get another minivan, preferably a stow-n-go.
Two staff flying in are picking up passenger vans so we will have to assign the extra passenger vans to crew that are supposed to have a minivan. It will be okay, just a little extra room. The day has gone well. With the help of so many wonderful staff members, I am in a good place to end the day. We go to each vehicle to make sure it is locked and pull the keys. In the vehicle world, ending about 6:30 p.m. is early.
Thursday, August 20 (All Crew Kick-Off)
The day starts bright and early. We head to the load-in lot at 7:00 a.m. to get a head start. Again, Val and I start by putting all the keys back in the doors of all the vehicles that are on the lot. We complete the process on the new vehicles that have arrived. I am still waiting for at least three more stow-n-go minivans for the pit stops. If we cannot get them, we will need to remove the seats from the regular minivans.
At 10:00 a.m. Val and I head over to the crew meeting to complete driver training for the route marking and camp logistics crew teams. They need to head out early. Driver training is a driver safety quiz and I made sure everyone knows how to contact me if they have issues (accident, flat tire, car won’t start, etc.). I also collected a copy of their driver license for our records. After I completed the driver training, I heard back from Budget, they have a stow-n-go minivan, we just need to come pick it up. Val and I head over to the Budget location to get the van, pick up lunch at a quaint French bakery and head back to the vehicle lot. We now have enough to finish the pit stop vans. Vehicles must be immediately stickered, keyed, contracts scanned, magnets and GPS placed. They have to get over to the supply truck location to get loaded with supplies.
We head back over to the All-Crew Kick-Off meeting by 2:00 p.m. for the staff introductions to the crew captains. Then I completed the driver training for the Youth Corps drivers. The rest of the crew that will be driving a vehicle will have driver training from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. We offer anyone who wants the opportunity to drive and practice on the vehicle they will be driving. I have one crew member who will be driving a 15′ box truck for the first time. He says he drives a large pickup truck so how much harder can it be? So, with five crew members I head over to where the box trucks are parked. It is a fairly open lot where they can practice driving, backing up and maneuvering the larger trucks. Since the trucks have to be moved to another lot in preparation for the Opening Ceremony on Friday morning, I have them move the box trucks. With the assistance of other staff members, we moved and positioned all the vans closer to the Opening Ceremony site. Again, we lock all the vehicles and pull the keys.
Friday, August 21 (Day One)
It’s very early. We head out at 4:00 a.m. so we can be at the Opening Ceremony site by 4:30 a.m. I am excited for the start of another wonderful event. I put all the keys back in the doors so when the crew arrive they are ready to go. Several crew come early to decorate their vehicles. We then headed over to watch the Opening Ceremony. It was wonderful and inspiring. I wandered through the crowd and helped tie on some of the promise ribbons and then cheered the walkers out onto the route to start their 60-mile journey.
I get a call on my walkie talkie that the car for Grab & Go A is missing. I do not have the key, so I know it should be on the lot. We look up and down the lot but cannot find it. The Grab & Go A crew team decides to ride with Grab & Go B to their stop since there is room in the passenger van for everyone. I continued to look for the missing vehicle. I also get a call that they cannot find the Camp Hydration box truck. I find the box truck parked over by the Opening Ceremony. Then I find the missing Grab & Go A car over by where the All-Crew Kick-Off was held. One of the support services crew members volunteered to take it out to the Grab & Go A stop. That is two problems taken care of.
I received a call from the Youth Corps team captain. One of the passenger vans that should hold 13 is missing an entire back row. It will only hold nine passengers. I remembered that one of the extra passenger vans was given to the Medical Director and she only needed a minivan. So I called her to see if her van had three rows and if we could switch out the vans. We agreed to meet at Pit Stop 2 and complete the change. I take three of the Youth Corps members with me since there are not enough seats in the van. We also take Dave Kitchens, Support Services Coordinator, so we can drop him off at the Command Center, which was moved to camp. We all meet at Pit Stop 2 and switch the stickers and key tags and I update my contract list. I take Dave to camp. I need to log into my computer and update the vehicle number on the vans I have just switched and then email all of the contracts to Irina, Event 360’s General Counsel. She needs to have a copy in case of any issues. After I finished and there is nothing else required of me, I headed out on the route. I have my phone handy for any emergencies. I decide to head out to lunch thinking it would be a good place to cheer and greet the walkers. But after four laps there is not a place to park. I have Kim the lunch staff member hand me a bag and take off for Grab & Go A. I walked out to the bridge where the walkers were crossing and cheered some of them in.
I ate my lunch and decided to head back to camp. En route I get a call to pick up Val who has transitioned from Vehicle Assistant to Overnight Support, at the hotel.
Val and I went back to camp and grabbed some dinner. We cheered in the last walker. I stopped and talked with some of the crew to see how their day went. Everyone seemed to have had a good day. There were no incidents. I stayed at camp for the evening awards since Robert Howard, a walker from Arizona, was being presented with the Milestone Award. It was a long but good day.
Saturday, August 22 (Day Two)
Saturday’s start time is not quite so early but I still need to be at the vehicle lot by 5:00 a.m. to make sure that everything goes well and there are no issues. I headed to the lot and greeted the crew as they showed up to start their day. After everyone left the lot I went over to camp to see if I could help with anything and grab some breakfast.
I head out onto the route to cheer some walkers and be available in case of any incidents. Kari Johnson, the Command and Route Manager is with me. She rarely gets to leave Command. We go to Pit Stop 2, cheer some walkers in, see the New Balance cheerleaders and have our picture taken with the fabulous Gayla in her groovy van.
Then it is off to a public cheering station and lunch. I take Kari back to Command and then head back to lunch. My brother and sister-in-law are driving up to meet for lunch and see what a 3-Day looks like. I show them around lunch and take them to camp for the grand tour. They are pretty amazed by the magnitude of the event and how well organized it is.
The weather is taking a turn for the worse and the Command staff has been keeping an eye on it. It is really looking like there will be a relocation this afternoon. I am assigned to a spot to direct the walkers to buses once it is decided to start the relocation. But first I swing by the hotel to pick up Val so she can report for duty as the Overnight Support. By the time we get back to camp, the wind is really blowing and it is raining a bit. Change of plans, I am now going to the Friends and Family parking lot to let everyone know that the evening’s events have been canceled and the participants are being relocated to a high school. We are officially under a tornado watch and want everyone to be safe. Back at camp, all the walkers and crew have been relocated to a high school and pizza is being delivered. One big slumber party! As I drive to my hotel it is windy, raining really hard, and there is lightning. I am happy to get to my safe, dry room.
Sunday, August 23 (Day Three)
Sunday morning I head to the high school relocation site as most of the vehicles will be parked there. The buses have been taking the participants back to camp for breakfast and most everyone has cleared out. I am told that one of the 24′ box trucks may have a gas leak. But the tank is mostly full and the driver feels safe driving it back to camp. When I get to camp I am told there are some keys missing from a box truck. I do not have a spare so several of us thoroughly check the truck for the missing key to no avail. The decision is made to cross load the truck and just leave it at camp. We are all hoping the key shows up. I get a call from the crew member driving the truck with a gas leak, it is really pouring when in gear. Again, we decide to unload all the gear and tents and leave the truck parked at camp. I will call Budget and let them know. The truck will probably have to be towed. After camp closes Dave (Support Services Coordinator) and I eat breakfast. I drop Dave off at the Command Center and head over to the load-out lot where everyone will return their vehicles to me. As they come on the lot I will check them in, making sure that they are 100% full of gas, clean and all event supplies have been removed. I complete a check list for magnets, accident kits and GPS units and if we have spare keys that need to go back into the vehicle. I also need to make sure I pull specific vehicles for staff to use and return on Monday. These are specific to the contracts. I pull these to the side so they are not returned to the airport with all the others. It is a fast and furious day.
The truck with the missing key shows up at the load-out lot. The key was found so all is good. I hear back from Budget that they will have a tow truck at the camp site to pick up the stranded truck between 8:00 – 8:30 p.m. Thanks to our wonderful crew and staff members, by 6:30 p.m. all of the vans and cars that need to be returned to the airport are gone. Budget will pick up the box trucks on Monday. I put all my vehicle supplies on Command where they are stored and head to camp to meet the tow truck driver.
The weekend was fun and a little exciting. It was an outstanding event with no accidents or other incidents. Thank you Twin Cities!