Beginning with breakfast, the day continued through a series of programs, a talent show, planning sessions, a group photo, fun time and an awards presentation. The many activities wrapped up in mid-afternoon.
Guest speaker, prior to a noon luncheon, was 1992 Olympian Joe Jacobi, who joined with partner Scott Straussbaugh, to win a kayaking gold medal in Seu, Spain.
Jacobi and his wife, who still maintain a home in Ducktown, named their daughter Seu, after the small village. The daughter is now 11, and kayaking herself.
Jacobi, who is now with USA Canoeing and Kayaking in Oklahoma City, emphasized the spirit of teamworking and intermingling individuality in his Olympic specialty. He said the same concepts can be a key to success in the workplace.
His talk brought attention to this year’s 2012 Olympic Games in London, where Proctor and Gamble-Duracell will be a corporate participant.
The corporation has announced the launch of its “Rely on Copper to Go for the Gold” program this Olympic year.
The company has solicited the assistance of six-time NBA All-Star and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Dwight Howard, and Olympians Hunter Kemper (triathlon), siblings Mark and Diana Lopez (taekwondo) and Olympic Gold Medalist Summer Sanders for the promotional event.
Friday was a special “Oympic” Deployment Day for the company’s Cleveland workforce, spirited by Jacobi’s talk. The theme for the appreciation program was “One Team Winning Together,” which the company has adopted globally.
Jacobi began his talk by saying the Gold Medal he and Straussbaugh won in 1992 was the first for the U.S. in kayaking. It is also the last.
“We need to get the country back to the top of the podium,” Jacobi said of the United States’ inability to return to the Gold Medal platform in kayaking in the Olympic Games.
“We have to find more resources for our athletes and coaches.”
The former Olympian, who says he is not a competing athlete today, emphasized the world is a different place today.
“We have to adapt and adjust to those changes,” he said. “We need bold leadership, big ideas. We need team concepts with individual elements.
“You can have different views within a team, and I think it makes the team stronger,” Jacobi continued.
“Scott and I were different (20 years ago),” he added. “I was a brash 17-year-old, while he had already graduated from college. I’ve always remembered that, and I value people who see the world differently from me.
“I’ve learned from the river,” Jacobi said of kayaking and canoeing. “On the river you assume you’re going to get to the bottom of the rapids. But, there’s no guarantee. The rivers invite a little chaos into your life.”
“You must also honor the game,” he added. “It’s more than playing by the rules. It’s important to know about this game of life.”
Jacobi told a story of two high school runners who were competing in a race and had far outdistanced the rest of the field. The senior of the two had pulled ahead rounding the final turn, when she blew out her hip. The younger girl, following behind, helped the girl up and assisted her to the finish line where she pushed her to victory. The younger girl received the Olympic Committee’s Sportsmanship Award for her actions.
The former Olympic competitor now resides in Oklahoma City, and he emphasized how much the Federal Building Memorial means to that community.
He said there is a marathon each year, which he competed in this year, which finances the memorial “It’s very important to them, and to their game of life,” he said.
In conclusion, Jacobi said, “We’re going to see medals in this year’s Oympics. As someone who has won a medal, I know it’s about the decisions you make and how you honor the game.”
Bill Barkley of Duracell-Proctor Gamble presented Jacobi with a plaque of appreciation for his visit. Jacobi said it was an honor for the company to bring him in for the visit.
“I also get to visit my family,” he said.