At the Bee Informed Partnership, we hold an annual Tech Team summit in the middle of the summer when there are few days when the teams are not busy. We began this tradition last year and hope to continue working this into our culture as our organization grows and matures. We use this time to focus on a specific project or a training objective, to spend quality time talking about our mission, and cover issues that crop up over the course of the year. Since most of us do not get to be in the same location for 6 months, it is also a valuable and fun time to spend 2 to 3 days in team building. No one enjoys conference calls and that is our main path of direct communication, but it is extremely difficult to keep a cohesive and happy staff over long distances so these gatherings are rare opportunities to compare war stories and revel in each other’s unique training. If we are fortunate, some of our board members attend and we enjoy their input and I think they enjoy hearing what our field crews are seeing.
Last year’s summit was held at the University of Maryland and we were lucky to get a behind the scenes tour of the Smithsonian’s insect collection.
This year’s summit was held at the University of Minnesota’s stunning new bee lab courtesy of Marla Spivak. We focused on adding some critical detail to our BIP Commercial field guide (coming in 2018!), learn from the experts at Purina about sales training who graciously gathered our team of talented folks (admittedly we are mostly introverts who would rather just talk bees all day so this was a stretch for some of us) to provide us some much-needed tools, and to hang out with the Project Apis m. board at a BBQ held behind the bee lab adjacent to some honey bee training yards. Lastly, we took a long bike ride around Minneapolis to enjoy the sites and tastes of this wonderful city. My notes went on for pages of all the ideas discussed and I think we all left with a feeling of great optimism and with much more defined goals to move BIP forward toward providing additional value to our participants.