AmericaOne New Zealand Chronicles:
AmericaOne's "First Ten"
About The Challenge
Daily Report - Tuesday, December 28, 1999 -
Well, I've seen a lot here at AmericaOne since July of 1996….
When I first started at AmericaOne, it was somewhat lonely…on my first day, Paul was in Europe racing and he stayed there for a month. I was sitting in our converted greenhouse office in San Francisco alone, moving to a different desk each day…(being employee #1 meant I could pick the location of my work space). I wondered what to tell callers on the phone…it seemed that I had to develop a system for everything…even how to answer the phones! I remember that for the first 10 calls it didn't matter if I had a system in place or not because the callers were all so enthusiastic I really only had to listen and take down their name and number…most were offering to help us out in some way over the next three years. Before long, we were hiring staff and assigning volunteer jobs, and here is our list of "the first ten" who are all here with us in New Zealand.
Jen McHugh was the second friendly voice on the end of the phone at AmericaOne. She also coordinated all of our volunteer projects. Her past experience was with the Boston Marathon, among other things, and she quickly became the project coordinator we needed.
Quickly following Jen's arrival to AmericaOne was Gina Anderlini (now von Esmarch). Initially managing the PR department, she is now our Director of Marketing. Jen and Gina worked great together and soon became AmericaOne's PR/Marketing team!
In July 1997 we added our 1st boat to our fleet, Il Moro de Venezia V (IMDV) "the red boat". Who would be its skipper? Don Anderson arrived on the scene, with his previous experience and knowledge of IMDV, he was the perfect person for the job. Will Benedict, former junior sailor with the St. Francis Yacht Club, was introduced to Don and another memorable team was formed. Don and Will quickly assimilated themselves and were soon calling us in the office to compare notes...
Bob Billingham arrived next with his amazing organizational skills in November of 1997. We were never the same again…
Jeff Mott is our Systems Manager now. He spent countless hours as a volunteer-after his "normal job" he came in daily to work on our database, help us with graphics projects and would troubleshoot our computers. He also joined our marketing team as our webmaster.
Ingrid Sommer our Accounting and Human Resources Manager shuffles more paper than anyone I've ever seen. Somehow, she manages to keep track of U.S. vendors, New Zealand vendors, health insurance policies in two countries and gets us all paid!
Jen's transfer to the Marketing Department full time meant it was time to find a receptionist…one of the more difficult jobs to fill. Being on the front line is never easy…. Answering the phones, answering the door, sending packages out, accepting deliveries, moving cars, setting up conference calls and keeping track of all our guests arriving in or leaving town…. Onto the scene came Carianne Larsen, who coordinates all these things and more.
Volunteers? Muggins Badgley walked into the office one day and said "I heard you're running an America's Cup campaign from this office, and I'm here to volunteer-I'll run errands, answer phones, just don't ask me to type-I don't know how!" This was the start of a great relationship-typing was inconsequential compared with the wealth of assistance she has provided for us over the years…in fact, Muggins and her good friend Lindsey are here in Auckland with us, both volunteering. Lindsey and Muggins are great friends-currently off on adventure rivaling Thelma and Louise! When Lindsey was invited to New Zealand, it was with the caveat from Muggins that she also volunteer for us, which she has been doing for the last year, assisting with Founders' Club fulfillment, and also providing assistance to our Accounting and Human Resources Department. Our volunteer list is long…Kellie Fennessy has coordinated the Founders' Club for two years. Tuesday nights would not have been the same without Chris Casey, Nadine Franczyk, Susanne Lea, Jeffrey Wilmore, Molly Wilcox and the rest of the great volunteers who showed up to assist us with all the large (and small) projects. The list continues with the sailing volunteers: John Broadhead, Damon Harvey, Dan Herman, Doug Holm, Marci Porter, Chris Shining, Ken Thompson and Greg Felton among others gave up numerous hours to assist us in sailing "the red boat" around the Bay.
That concludes the list of the "first ten"…the next 50+ members to arrive all have their own stories, to be sure. I believe the "first ten" are a testament to the pride, enthusiasm and the "family ties" we all feel to AmericaOne and Paul's efforts, and it's a great feeling to be associated with such a truly professional team.
I can also tell you that the phone calls that we receive here in Auckland are just as enthusiastic as those we received three years ago…especially with the Semi-Finals just around the corner! We look forward to seeing many of you here in Auckland, or following us in cyberspace via our website!
Chris Page Bertocchi
AmericaOne Director of Administration
AmericaOne is one of the leading challengers for America's Cup 2000. The team is currently competing in Auckland, New Zealand for the Louis Vuitton Cup and the right to challenge New Zealand for the America's Cup in February 2000. AmericaOne has built two boats based on 4 years of technology development and innovation. The top level technology partners are Hewlett-Packard Company, Telcordia Technologies/SAIC, Ford Motor Company/Visteon and United Technologies Corp. AmericaOne represents San Francisco's St. Francis Yacht Club. To learn more about AmericaOne visit: www.americaone.org.
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