Team building can be a valuable tool for corporate growth. I’ve experienced various styles and activities of team building over the years. Everything from charity drives to obstacle courses and even the simple “trust fall”, all effective in their own way.

This year our directors took a simple trip to the Palms Springs Air Museum.

What was obviously relevant for this visit and to us, was the history of our industry, its impact on America and the world. Showcasing our drive for excellence, pursuit of the sky and the sacrifices made to get there. For 40 plus years Verify has been an active participant in this industry.

What was not obvious was the emotional awe and introspection this museum evoked.

As museums go this one is laid out in a very simple grid, almost what you would expect from a collection of creations built by people who understand grids and processes and control. It makes for a great experience albeit if different from let’s say the MOMA where you are guided by prescribed genres instead of metrics like dates and geographical locations. In this museum those metrics did exactly that, the perspective of time and place framing some of the greatest engineering accomplishments of the last century, got us all quite impassioned.

When you add story telling from Korean War Veterans who are there to shepherd you through the various historical sections, its introspective and inspiring to say the least. These Vets along with other staff at the museum steward these snapshots in history and every article, every polished warbird is maintained with the care and attention of someone who shares the actual reverence of the time and place no matter which side of history they were on.

So many of the stories were stirring. Firsthand accounts of war often are, and with the back drop of weapons, maps, planes and thousands of POW bracelets in a display, the chill you get is palpable. What also hits you is how these veterans tell their stories, there is no dread, no overtly sad reflection. They are happy to share and appreciative of interest. I think it’s because of their sense of duty, not only that initial calling that brought them to be Warfighters but also a sense of duty that it is their job to relay this history orally. To those who will listen. And we did.

What was also incredible to me, was the time and effort our Veterans put into being historians of the entire global war theaters. Be it WW2, Vietnam, the Cold War or the actual history of flight. Each one of them could just as easily relay interesting information on the Spitfire or the MIG as the Corsair or F14. You would be hard pressed to find any Veteran in that building who couldn’t be a history professor.  We marveled at it.

We work intrinsically with the A&D supply chain every day. We deploy thousands of inspectors, SQEs, SMEs etc to provide solutions. It’s a complex global web with sometimes insurmountable issues which need to be methodically and efficiently dealt with.  It’s our job and we do it, that’s not going to change.

But the why, for me anyway, has changed, even if just a little.

In aerospace and defense the big why is penalty for failure. Our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the lives of those Warfighters that protect our freedom.

But the added why that I and my colleagues acquired from this visit is our history and those that truly represent it, our Vets. Vets that relied on companies like ours to make sure those air ships were built to perform, built to protect, and through unimaginable conditions. As much as we relied (and continue to do so) on them for our freedom and ultimately our history. We felt a bond, it might be separated by decades of turmoil and prosperity but when they asked what we did and learned about our role in the industry there was genuine interest and reverence as well. What we do is important. Teamwork is important

More than other Air museums this one, set against the California desert seemed to resonate with us as a team and truly engaged us to perform better and reflect more. Compared to those that charge into the fight it’s the least we can do and strive to do better.

Hank Hagedoorn: Verify Global Marketing

Verify Inc.

Palm Springs Air Museum: From their website

The Palm Springs Air Museum is a living history museum dedicated to educating the public about the role Air Power played in preserving American liberties and way of life. The Museum preserves, exhibits, and flies aircraft from World War Two, Korea, and the Vietnam Wars. Most of the aircraft are in flyable condition.

Many of our docents are veterans and are willing to share their experiences and sacrifices for the education of future generations. In addition to flyable and static aircraft, the Museum uses permanent and temporary exhibits, related artifacts, artwork, and library sources to perpetuate American History.