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Opening The Notebook

Cody's GJNC Blog - Opening The Notebook (July 1, 2018)

I'm an event manager by trade - a logistics nerd who enjoys the challenge of putting together the puzzle that is a large event.  A large part of my job is spent dealing in event management details, whether it's formatting a tournament, finding a facility, or assigning staff.  It's the stuff I enjoy doing, and it's the stuff I've been doing for much of my professional career (and even before that).  

Those who know me know that I'm a copious note taker.  You will rarely see me at a Power League, Regionals, or other event without my notebook and a pen in my hand (or clipped to my shirt).  I learned one thing long ago about myself - my memory is brutally bad.  So when I see something at an event that I want to remember, I have to write it down.  That being said, I wanted to share a few of the random observations I've made during my time at GJNC, and some of the things I've talked to the folks here about.  I said before that one of my main purposes for this trip was on-the-job research … here's just a touch of it.  My notes are written out here in bold, followed by an explanation of what I'm talking about.  Keep in mind - my notes are MY notes, and I'm probably the only one who can really make heads or tails of them in their original form:

- Staff structure (each department has a chair) - what I'm referring to here is that everything has a chairperson here, a leader.  There's a leader for the AES setup, for equipment, for officials, for each championship desk.  I'm trying to figure out if I can structure our staff at Regionals in a similar manner.  It should be noted that USAV runs on a very basic level of staffing in certain areas, and they don't lose any sort of effectiveness.  

- Scoreboards on the championship courts - each of the two stadium courts has 2 electronic scoreboards.  Can we do this at Regionals to give our championship courts a better environment?

- 15-20 feet between most courts, really good space-wise - there's no excessively narrow aisles between the courts here.  It's a spacious facility.  Is our layout at Regionals good enough to accommodate the traffic flow we've got?  At the Cobo Center, all 72 courts are literally on one floor, in one room.  That's a huge advantage for an event manager (last year's event in Minneapolis did not have this).  

- Carpeting for referee stands, or boxes - USAV puts a soft piece of carpet on each of their referee stands, to give officials something a little softer to stand on.  It's easier on most people's feet.  Why can't we do that?  The "or boxes" reference is to our referee stands we use at some of our events.  They're short.  Can we provide boxes or stools for our officials to stand on if needed?

I've also done things like count chairs on courts, measured court dimensions, and literally walked from one end of the facility to the other to see how long it takes.  I've made notes on how the lobby is set up, where banners and branding are displayed, and how the championship desks are set up and where they're located.  I've explored the system by which scoresheets are checked out to officials, how scores and results are verified at the desk, and how results are filed.  

I would venture a guess and say most people aren't aware of the level of detail that must be seen to in order to make a successful event as big as this one happen.  I'm not sure I have a full grasp of the details of this particular event - in fact, I know I don't.  But that's why I talk to people, that's why I take notes, and that's why I research.  Ultimately I want to bring some of these ideas back to CEVA.  I've said before that we need to be an evolutionary region - we need to constantly look for ways to get better, in EVERYTHING we do.  This trip to Detroit is one way to continue that mission for us.

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