First Day Feels
As if I was starting first grade all over again, I walked through the parking lot to the front door of a brand-new building with an open mind and a mix of emotions. As with anything new I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I wasn’t from a greenhouse background, and I wasn’t entirely knowledgeable with the process or the product. Going into the first day on the job I had already been researching a little bit about what the company does just to be familiar, but I was in no case an expert on any topic. As I reached for the big handle of the door I was met with an intercom stopping me from getting into the building. After buzzing my way in, I could feel the amount of professionalism throughout the workplace and as if on cue a blanket of nerves fell over me. I ascended the stairs up to the top floor and my legs felt like noodles. I walked cautiously through the hall, passing by offices with people hard at work. My hand was shaking as I reached for the door knob of the board room. What was on the other side? Who’s on my team? Will I be good enough? A million questions raced through my mind. This is it. No turning back. I turned the handle and stepped into the room. Immediately everything I was feeling, the nervousness, the anxiety all drifted away. I was greeted with friendly handshakes, jokes, witty banter and a fun environment that I knew I would fit into well. I sat down and met the team I was going to be travelling with all summer. The day was filled with making connections and learning about what our role is with our new Greenhouse Education Center team and how we can be effective in our new positions. I knew even after the first day of Orientation it was going to be a summer of hard work and good memories.
From Boardroom to Greenhouse the experience is much different. It’s one thing to discuss the growing process and it’s another to see it in action. As the team and I ventured into one of the greenhouses I could feel the sheer size of the building closing in on me. The thought that we were just in one out of several buildings was incredible. All around us people worked either packing or checking screens to see how efficient that pack line was going. In that moment, I realized the complexity of running a greenhouse. The day was filled with run downs on what happens at each facility and who controls everything. As someone who has little to no experience, I was overtaken by the process and by how many steps are in place to be able to grow, package and distribute the produce. Going from department to department and talking to people I could sense the dedication and passion every single individual put into their work, and that has already motivated me to do the same. I not only felt the need to work hard but I wanted too. I wanted to match the sense of accomplishment and pride each worker puts into their work. One of the huge aspect of the job that we learned about was teamwork and the whole company is centered around the aspect of “family”. By just meeting everyone and seeing the dynamic of the company this was evident. From the first moment I walked into the boardroom to meet everyone I felt accepted as a new member of the family. For me, the most memorable part was when Pete Quiring, the founder and CEO, casually walked up to our group and just started chatting with us as if we were all at his house for a Sunday barbecue. We talked about who we are, shared a few jokes here and there and then he just listened in on what we were discussing. It didn’t really dawn on me until after we started walking that this was the owner of a massively successful company and he treated us with the same respect as we would him.
My New Baby
I remember when I heard the Cavaliers came back after trailing Golden State 3-1 in the NBA finals. My only thought. Unbelievable! I had the same thought when I was told we would be driving a mini greenhouse across Ontario and the US. Unbelievable! After taking a minute to clear my head I could somewhat create a mental picture in my mind about what a travelling greenhouse might look like. I was dead wrong. The trailer was massive. It resembled a semi-truck trailer with clear walls that allowed for consumers to look in at the plants. Complex wiring and panels filled the truck as they’re needed to maintain a stable environment for the live plants to travel long distances. As everyone knows, with great power comes great responsibility, so the next hour was filled with safety precautions, and information about daily tasks needed to set up and take down our new friend. I listened and stared and listened and stared trying to take up as much of the info as I could to be as efficient as possible. This thing. This travelling greenhouse had become my new baby for the summer, and I was going to take care of It.
This was it. We went over all the info, met everyone we needed to meet, connected with various members of the NatureFresh™ team, and covered all the safety precautions needed for a trip like this. We were as prepared as we could be. I could see every kind of Tomato, Pepper and Cucumber whirling around in my brain. Facts about every aspect of the company keep running through my mind. Our group of 6 strangers had become a lot closer throughout Orientation. Even after just 3 days, we’re already connecting as a team and I know this is going to be a good summer. Soon we’ll be out on the road showing everyone we possibly can exactly how we grow. Game time.