By Craig Ruppert, CEO
After a year that has changed so much about the way we work and live, it feels good to be returning to some normalcy. We’ve continued our commitment to giving throughout this past year when it was more essential than ever, and we feel fortunate that we’re able to give when times are tough just as in good times. Now, as most restrictions have been lifted and we are able to work together once again in larger groups, we were glad to be able to continue our long-standing Field Day tradition.
For those reading this who are not familiar with Field Day, let me give you a brief history. It began in the mid-80’s as a day of training, competition, and fun, and in the process, we fixed up the landscape at our Ashton, MD facility. Each year it became slightly larger, more complex, and more competitive with higher standards for judging. In the early 90’s, once the event outgrew our facility, we had to find another site and it was a natural step to add the community service aspect so that we could put our energy and resources to good use. In the years that followed, this event has benefitted numerous schools, parks, and institutions.
As our team grows, we are always working to ensure that our deep-rooted culture and values are growing and evolving along with us. It’s fair to say that Field Day in the early days helped to create our culture, and Field Day as it is today helps to maintain and continue to create it. In the past, this event traditionally involved a higher percentage of employee participation (sometimes upwards of 500 people). But as we’ve grown, we’ve had to scale and adapt the business in many respects—Field Day just being one example—to preserve the small company feel and the culture that we value. In more recent years, we’ve found great benefit in performing work at more compact sites with fewer people. These regional field days, as we’ve started calling them, allow employees to be more intimately involved in the planning process and experience the feeling of goodwill that comes with giving back to the communities where we work and live. We wanted to build on the momentum of the past few regional Field Days, so we decided to hold our next event in one of our key markets—the DC metro area—where we knew we had a large concentration of branches who would be able to participate.
Although the event has greatly evolved throughout the years, its purpose remains the same: to sharpen our skills, have fun, compete, and do something good for the community. I was glad to have personally participated this year, competing in the tree and shrub planting, mulching, and dodgeball competitions. I went home tired but satisfied with what we’d accomplished. I’m proud of all the work that went into it and I appreciate the dedication of everyone who made this possible. This was truly a team effort and we couldn’t have done it without all of you.
Bringing it Back in 2021
This year’s regional Field Day was held on June 4th at the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus (RIC) in Washington, D.C. This site, which was once home to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, is undergoing a redevelopment effort, 12 acres of which has been designated to house the RIC. This project came to us through a long-term relationship with one of our customers, and we offered to step in and put the finishing touches on the landscape in preparation for their grand opening in September. We were honored and humbled to be able to use our time and resources to benefit Children’s National and support the researchers who are doing so much to improve upon the treatment and care of childhood diseases.
Field Day by the numbers:
- 80+ Ruppert employees from our MD, DC & VA branches
- $175,000 investment of time and materials
- 1,100 labor hours dedicated to completing the project
- 7 contests including safety and clean truck inspections, tree and shrub planting, mulching, and dodgeball
Congratulations to our D.C. maintenance team who took home the Field Day trophy! Their excellent safety, mulch contest, and dodgeball scores helped them win the day and make their branch proud.