National Gypsum was formed in Buffalo, New York, over 75 years ago. Some years ago many employees transferred to a new plant in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Weather in Buffalo in August is traditionally at its best. August dates were chosen to coincide with the Erie County Fair in Fort Erie, Canada, horse racing and the 100th anniversary celebration of the Pan American Exposition. Those in North Carolina who had once resided in Buffalo visited frequently and were more likely to rearrange summer visits to coincide with the BASH. Another consideration was that many Charlotte members are somewhat younger and probably have greater expendable income. Buffalo members stayed home while Charlotte members stayed with relatives and friends.
The get-acquainted event was a picnic with traditional Buffalo offerings. To attendees’ surprise and joy the current President of National Gypsum, a Vice President and a retired Comptroller, flew in from Charlotte; “tangible evidence of the spirit we were celebrating.”
The second day’s highlight was a four-hour Lake Erie dinner cruise on Miss Buffalo. A smaller boat was chosen so they could have it all to themselves. The boat was filled to capacity. The third day’s activities were golf and lunch at South Shore Country Club, the scene of many memorable employee golf tournaments.
The last day was a most memorable capstone of the Buffalo Bash, a joint luncheon meeting of the Buffalo and Charlotte clubs, attended by 170 members and guests — well beyond the most optimistic expectations. The mood was joyous, exciting and vibrant for a group of retirees. They read letters from folks who were unable to attend but wanted to send greetings.
These are tips for a company reunion from Buffalo Bash planners.
1. Planners should be computer literate. Without the ability to communicate via email and maintain records, write letters and flyers, we would have been at a loss to manage a gathering this size.
2. Have all charges paid in advance and keep accurate records of who reserved what, with accurate names and addresses for each, including guests.
3. All funds should be directed to one person who accounts for all income and disbursements.
4. At the last possible minute, mail a roster of attendees to everyone registered; include names, address and events registered for. Our attendees overwhelmingly expressed their thanks for letting them know who would be at what events.
5. Name tags are a must. Have them sorted and available at the first event. Place one person in charge of keeping tags in order and distributing them.
6. Give the event lots of publicity. We did constant hype at our meetings and in our newsletters. Talk it up among friends.
7. Select a locale, keeping in mind any memorable significance it may have to the group. Allow time for guests to visit local attractions.
Reported by Don Kent, Matthews NC, president of National Gypsum Trailblazers