There’s a little snow left on the ground and the steady hum of a packing shed on the outskirts of Malin. Yes, it’s definitely shipping season. It’s also the holiday season at Gold Dust and Walker Brothers!
Things kicked off with the Leadership Dinner on Saturday, the 14th at Mr. B’s in Klamath Falls. Gold Dust’s partners invited both Gold Dust and Walker Brothers’ leaders from the farm, shed and offices to drinks and dinner. Bill kicked off the series of talks by thanking everyone there and appreciating the efforts they’ve made in helping the businesses succeed and helping create a great place to work. Since John was unable to attend, Bill continued with discussing the future plans for the farm, including Weston’s push into new markets and the creation of a potato seed farm. He also lauded praise onto the shed crews for going 250 days without an incident while mentioning cost savings in insurance it’s saved Gold Dust. “I’m so proud of this company,” he said, “and so proud of these people.”
Tricia followed Bill by discussing the partners’ efforts to change their methods of communicating and their desire to foster a more a positive environment throughout the entire company, which would require help from everyone at the dinner. Weston also took this opportunity to discuss what the future is looking like for the farm and the impact of having visitors from all over the globe.
Once dinner was served and finished, Weston, Tricia and Bill recognized three employees who have went above and beyond in their jobs. Trino Zendejas Rodriguez, who has been promoted to manager at the Running Y, was called “The Man Who Has Got It”, by Weston. Since taking over as manager, Trino has stepped up and ran the ranch as if it were his own, meeting and exceeding the expectations of all the partners. Next to receive recognition for her hard work and ability to step up was Sarah Mendez. After receiving her blinged-out award, Tricia explained to the guests that Sarah has stepped into a new position, requiring her take on a huge amount of ownership for the analysis and book-work in the office. The final employee recognized for his dedication was Felimon Martinez Acosta. As Bill put it, “nobody hardly knows what he’s doing, but for the past three years he’s kept the packing shed running, taught himself welding and about machinery and how to keep things going.” Felimon’s dedication has saved the company a lot of money by the maintenance program he’s implemented and has kept the shed from having to be closed down. After the awards were handed out, Weston wrapped up the dinner by thanking each employee and telling the guests a little bit about each person.
The following Wednesday (December 18th), everyone at the shed was treated to lunch served by Tacos Ala Mexicana from Merrill. While the crews dined on chicken, beef and pork tacos, the partners stood up and thanked everyone for another year of hard work and dedication. The shed is getting close to a year without a serious injury, to which Bill and John offered a bonus if the shed crew could make it an entire year. They also praised the crews for staying with them and helping make Gold Dust and Walker Brothers not only successful, but also a good place to work with its own culture. Before the lunch was over, everyone had a slice of Christmas cake and mingled until it was time to put the tables and chairs away.
And if that wasn’t enough Christmas-time celebrating, the Gold Dust office crew had a lunch-time Christmas party of their own on the 19th! As with every year, they held a Secret Santa gift exchange along with an ugly sweater contest. Again, Necia took home first prize for her, erm, “stylish” take on appropriate Christmas wear with Tricia coming in second.
While ugly sweaters and lunch-time gatherings are fun, it’s also a time of year when we get to reflect on how to best help others. This year, Gold Dust and Walker Brothers decided to donate a load of potatoes to the Southern Oregon Outreach Foundation (SOOF). For over a year now, we’ve been hauling goods at a discounted rate to help SOOF with their mission of helping local food banks and other outreach organizations all over Southern Oregon, including Klamath County. With all the good that SOOF quietly does, we’re glad to help them out and hope others will too.
Before we wrap up this post, Bill, John, Tricia and Weston hope all of our employees had a wonderful Christmas with their families. The long hours our crews put in along with the dedication to their jobs and the great attitudes they bring with them help make Gold Dust and Walker Brothers successful. Thank you. And to our business partners, vendors and customers, thank you for making 2013 great! Here’s to a successful 2014!