Day two coming at you from Fort Wayne, Ind. After some plane trouble, we finally made it. We knew we were in the right place when we got to the baggage claim and there was a Harris Flotebote parked right there.
Only one slight incident at the airport. When we got into the rental car and started driving, it was making this horrible noise.
Katie: Does that sound right to you?
Katie: What the what?
Terri: I think you need to shift it.
Katie: Shut up.
Terri: It sounds like it's in manual mode.
Peeps, it turns out that you can have a car with an automatic transmission that has a standard mode. I didn't even know this to be possible. Last time I tried to drive a standard, I almost ran into a mail truck in the mall parking lot.
I don't think I have to tell you that that would be a federal offense. Needless to say, I stick to cars that shift automatically these days. Like it should be.
After we figured out the rental car issue, we headed to Hotel Fort Wayne to meet up the Harris Flotebote Staff and their dealers. We kicked off the morning with the keynote speaker Clive Kessler, retired VP of Marketing for Harley Davidson.
I left feeling inspired. Clive told us that there really are five marketing P's instead of four. PEOPLE being the fifth P. Besides price, product, place and promotion, you have to take care of the PEOPLE who support your brand.
Though it shouldn't have been. All of you are the reason we do this and the most important component of our business. So thank you for your support!
After Mr. Kessler spoke, Nick Stickly from Harris Flotebote shared the vision for the company. He told us of all the changes that Harris is making to take care of the customers. The most awesome thing he said was if you don't like change, you'll really dislike being irrelevant.
Mind blown (X2)
The main thing I got from the meeting this morning is that Harris Floteboat is committed to serving YOU. It's great to hear a company say that, especially in times like these. The entire team is dedicated to the mission of giving you the best lifestyle possible. Yay for that!
They actually showed us EIGHT MILLION ways they continue to prove their commitment. These reason comes in the shape of a brand new manufacturing plant. Of which Terri and I got a private tour from Ed Baker, manager of quality improvement.
Ed took us through each station and explained how they keep manufacturing running smoothly at all times. We saw the tubes being made and acid washed. He explained to us that they run their operation with three separate lines. A, B and C. The entry level models are made in line A while the higher ends ones are made in C. This allows every boat to move through production quickly so boats that equipped with more options don't slow down other models.
The very best thing that I learned was the manufacturing plant employs almost 150 hourly employees in Fort Wayne, Ind. I don't know about you, but I'm grateful for the American work force and companies that help keep it alive.
When we were done with the tour, I asked Ed if we could take a selfie with him.
Ed: What's a selfie?
Katie: A self portrait of three of us. Like Amanda Bynes posts on Twitter.
All of a sudden, I came to the realization that I just compared our situation to Amanda Bynes.
Luckily, Ed didn't seem offended.
Whew. That was a close one.
After that, we hit the lake on the new 2014 Harris Flotebote models. One of my faves, Mark Wyrick, took us out and showed us how incredibly awesome the new Grand Mariner is. New for the 2014 model year is the Performance Package Plus which includes a full length center tube. All I have to say is that it moves like a classy pontoon should. Super love.
It was totally worth the 500 foot trek downhill to ride on.
It was a long hike back up though. That's how much we love Harris Flotebote.
From there, we headed over to the hotel to check in. When we arrived, the front desk told us that another boating magazine was also staying at the hotel while they hosted a photo shoot.
As we walked by what was sure to be their staff area, Terri turned her attention to the empty room.
Terri: They probably have logo's on those shirts.
Terri: If we saw the logo, then we would know who they are with.
Katie: This begs the question of why we would need to know that.
Terri: It will take two seconds.
Katie: Terri, stop it. This is the reason people call the C-O-P-S.
Terri: Let's do it.
Katie: Am I the only one who thinks it would be awkward to expense bail money?
Rest assured. We left well enough alone. I talked my (usually) responsible coworker off the ledge.
Well, peeps, I will probably wrap up day two now. I just want to leave you with some of the BEST new things you will see from Harris Flotebote in 2014.
-The 2014 Cruiser now has expanded floor plans and can come with a performance package.
-Upgraded steering wheel options are available on the Cruiser through the Grand Mariner.
-There are new flooring options, including a woven Seagrass and a woven Teak.
See you tomorrow!