Incentive Talk with SITE Texas — Episode 1
Welcome to the Incentive Talk with SITE Texas blog. I’m Wayne Wallgren, and for now I’m the guy responsible for its content. This includes any cockeyed observations and bad puns that I might write between now and December 31, 2019. Once you’ve had a look, I hope I’ve given you a reason to come back.
I’m a longtime, and very proud, member of SITE Texas and I’ve just come back on the SITE Texas board after being away for 4 years. As you follow the year, I invite you to make a point of connecting with the chapter, becoming involved and getting to know our members and sponsors. It will be worth your time.
As I write this, it strikes me that just a week ago the joy of Christmas was still holding a prominent place in my collective memory as I prepared with wide- eyed wonder for whatever 2019 would bring. It was New Years day, and my mind was fresh with anticipation. Or at lease as fresh and inspired as a blurry post New Years mind can be.
My travel schedule for the first half of the year was starting to fill and I already had more on my calendar for the 3rd quarter than I imagined not too long ago.
I’m not complaining.
I love to travel.
I love travel for business, for pleasure, for a combination of both. I love traveling with my wife, with friends and with clients. Perhaps the best is doing all three at the same time. I’m lucky in that I get to do more of that combination than I ever imagined. It makes me happy.
I’m going to be coming back to this over the next 12 months and continue to tell the story and what it means to me, to you and to the industry.
Bangkok or Bust!
Hardly one week of the New Year has passed as I settle into my seat on the non-stop DFW to Hong Kong where I will spend three days then make my way to Bangkok for the SITE Global Conference. SITE Texas promises a more than respectable showing regarding turnout. In addition to myself, a past Chapter President, I’ll be joined by Jonathan Richards, also a past Chapter President and just coming off of a 6 year stint on the global board, Kelly Kunz Meyer; Chapter President-Elect, Lauren Dunnaway; Past SITE Global President, Bill Boyd and Catherine Jones, a past board member and speaker at this year’s conference. There are a couple more that are falling victim to my lack of short-term memory, but I think we are representing well.
Landing Hong Kong right on time at 5:15 pm Hong Kong time, almost 17 hours after lift-off in Dallas, we arrive at our hotel, the Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong, a little before 7. I say “we” as I’m traveling with my good friend and industry partner, Jonathan Richards of Maui Jim, or JR as I’ll refer to as from time to time. An industry friend of Jonathan’s, Eldridge Mayor-Parry, Director of Sales for Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, was kind enough to make sure we were upgraded to harbor view and given access to the hotel club lounge. Being JR’s friend is paying dividends!
A few cocktails in the club lounge and it’s off to bed by 10:15 pm.
I won’t bore you with the trivial details of our two days in Hong Kong other than to say it was terrific and I would repeat all of it in an instant.
Suddenly it was “So long Hong Kong”. After less than 48 hours on the ground, we are on our way to the airport and in a few hours, Bangkok.
Three hours on a Cathay Pacific flight later we landed in Bangkok. I had hired the local transportation company recommended for the conference, and they proved to be a wise investment. Almost immediately after stepping off the plane, stands a staff person holding a sign with my name. She quickly escorted us into the terminal and past all the distractions that might have slowed our exit had we stopped at each to see if it was meant for us. Taken straight to the Diplomats immigration line, we cleared immigration quickly and made our way to baggage claim. Our airport minder, who had disappeared when she dropped us at immigration, suddenly reappeared behind us at baggage claim. Once we claimed our bags, she walked us out of the secure area and directly to our transportation. A quick thank you, and she was gone again. Best $45 (including transfer) I’ve spent in a long time.
It was rush hour, so the trip to the Hotel Shangri-La Bangkok took about an hour. With the lights, people and general hubbub, the visuals as we neared the hotel was like being in the movie Blade Runner. Very exotic and a tad overwhelming.
There’s more to the day, but I don’t want to bore you with the minutiae.
The conference starts tomorrow. I’ll start the story fresh then.