The trend continues… the return of corporate gatherings and holiday celebrations after two years of isolation. They are celebrations of the spirit: a chance to not just see co-workers in the flesh after they beam back to earth from the Zoomiverse, but to touch the foundations of what brought them all together in the first place.
The gatherings have this in common: they celebrate organizational roots. Often, gatherings include tributes to influential members of their organizations, to founders or outstanding employees. In the case of Western Partitions Inc., or simply WPI, their early December holiday gathering celebrated fifty years of industry leadership- and celebrated its founder, Mike Roach, who started the company in 1972. One of the largest interior and exterior prefabrication contractors in the Northwest, WPI’s portfolio includes the Nike Campus and the Federal Courthouse in Portland, and the Asian Art Museum in Seattle. Over the last half century, it expanded to ten regional offices across the United States.
We photographed the December 2 event to tell a story. Much of WPI’s construction work is about installing pre-fabricated panels to form the exterior skin of high rise buildings. WPI crews often work over 500 feet off the ground, in every kind of weather. Their working conditions are about as far removed from a virtual meeting environment as you can get. The worker’s safety depends on close contact, trusting relationships and teamwork. However you measure it, the generations of WPI employees who came together on December 2 nourished and protected that teamwork until it was as much a part of their history as the buildings they helped construct.
Coming together at Christmas for the first time in two years, WPI returned to smiles, hugs, dancing, a shared toast to their founder – and to their roots.