Also, first new photo frames from Camera+ in years – huzzah!Originally published by DK on December 8, 2022 at 7:42 am
Some interesting topics, to be sureOriginally published by DK on December 7, 2022 at 12:44 pm
Comfort food, indeed. Great to catch up with Cheryl and Josh in EaganOriginally published by DK on December 2, 2022 at 2:04 pm
This food court has a lot of character(s)Originally published by DK on November 28, 2022 at 12:14 pm
Somebody raided my childhood homeOriginally published by DK on November 22, 2022 at 3:09 pm
Now that I’ve been in my new role as systems engineer at TPT for a month, I figured it was a good time to reflect on this change and write about my experience so far. The organization’s post-COVID return to the office has been branded as a “Return to Lowertown” and it literally is for me too. Hard to believe it’s almost a year already since we left Rayette Lofts to head on down the river…
The commute back and forth has been great so far, usually taking under 15 minutes each way. Next spring, I hope to ride my bike a few days each week if I can sort out the storage issues. I splurged on the expensive parking option in the Lowertown Ramp, which is easy-in on Sibley and easy-out on Jackson (plus covered spots with no winter scraping). I’ve never really had any security trouble in Lowertown, but it is convenient to have a parking spot right next to the office entrance.
Some other logistical things: currently working a hybrid schedule of four days in the office and one day from home (Wednesdays), which has been very nice. While every day has been focused on getting up to speed on systems and technology, I’ve been trying to use the work from home day as a deep-dive research day (which is easier alone). TPT has a nice lunchroom, so I’ve mainly been bringing in frozen lunches to eat. The reawakening of the downtown St. Paul lunch dining scene has been slow, but there are pockets here and there. Still exploring the skyway, but always open to suggestions and recommendations.
Totally digging the culture and mission of the organization:
Enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media.
How can you not smile walking into an office with a two-story Big Bird on the wall? I grew up watching Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, The Electric Company and 3-2-1 Contact, while my kids were raised on Teletubbies, Arthur, Caillou, Zoboomafoo, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Sagwa and Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman. Our family was addicted to the old Action Auction they produced in the former studios across from the fairgrounds on Como, regularly bidding on 25-pound salted nut rolls (among other things).
Looking at some of the other pictures and signs around the office bring back a flood of other positive memories: Downtown Abbey, Rick Steves’ Europe, Nova, Nature, Austin City Limits, Lowertown Line and Almanac. So much good content has been broadcast from this PBS affiliate and I’m really excited to help such a talented and creative crew. My high school friend Terry Gray has been at TPT for 15 years and was a major influence on me considering this role. Super excited to work with him again (we worked together at HSRA Minnesota and I saw him occasionally on the sidelines at U.S. Bank Stadium).
The Information Technology team at TPT is solid and I really enjoy being part of a larger group again. Former McNally Smith veteran Nick Kaihoi is great to work with and we have so many shared tech experiences and philosophies, it’s scary. The team picked out a new M2 MacBook Air for me to use, which was just perfect. I also appreciate that the HR department has an actual “No Jerk Policy” and find the overall vibe just so refreshing. It reminds me of this Mr. Rodgers quote:
There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.
“Funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and contributions to your PBS station from Viewers Like You”Originally published by DK on November 17, 2022 at 9:14 am
Easy to make at work and the sale price was good, but the flavor just isn’t quite thereOriginally published by DK on November 11, 2022 at 12:10 pm
Swapped home office day this weekOriginally published by DK on November 10, 2022 at 10:05 am
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/13/arts/television/pbs-pledge-drive-history.htmlOriginally published by DK on November 3, 2022 at 3:29 pm
Will never get tired of seeing this on the way in to workOriginally published by DK on November 1, 2022 at 8:26 am
Damn, I already love this place 🧁Originally published by DK on October 18, 2022 at 1:18 pm
Day Four ✅Originally published by DK on October 13, 2022 at 4:59 pm
…and beyond!Originally published by DK on October 11, 2022 at 6:29 pm
Going away drinks and burgers @ the OG ParlourOriginally published by DK on June 22, 2022 at 10:39 pm
Originally published by DK on June 21, 2022 at 9:28 am
Opening Day @ The HotelOriginally published by DK on June 1, 2022 at 8:44 pm
Waldmann Brewery and Wurstery, Hennepin County Library, Socca CafeOriginally published by DK on May 28, 2022 at 8:28 am
Thanks, Yagya ⚽️Originally published by DK on May 7, 2022 at 10:14 pm
Always nice to have treats at workOriginally published by DK on April 13, 2022 at 8:48 am
Not sure where this one came from (it was Wrecktangle)Originally published by DK on April 1, 2022 at 12:48 pm
Would probably be even better straight out of the ovenOriginally published by DK on March 19, 2022 at 12:21 am
Big thanks to our training manager for the Baker’s Wife donutsOriginally published by DK on March 1, 2022 at 8:37 am
Design is the spice of lifeOriginally published by DK on February 18, 2022 at 6:23 pm
The skyways are now openOriginally published by DK on February 12, 2022 at 4:45 pm
Thank you, Florian!Originally published by DK on February 7, 2022 at 6:53 pm
https://fourseasons.wd3.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/search/job/Minneapolis/Assistant-IT-Manager_REQ10233293Originally published by DK on January 15, 2022 at 8:54 am
Work doge has two offices againOriginally published by DK on January 3, 2022 at 11:14 am
Thank you for all the kind hospitalityOriginally published by DK on December 10, 2021 at 8:57 pm
The spa sells logo merch!Originally published by DK on December 9, 2021 at 12:23 am
Such an eye-opening start to the tripOriginally published by DK on December 6, 2021 at 9:53 pm
Fun team visit to Cafe Alma (going back for birthday dinner on the fancy side next year)Originally published by DK on December 3, 2021 at 8:20 pm
Late work lunch with the crew @ Pizzeria Lola, MinneapolisOriginally published by DK on November 24, 2021 at 5:22 pm
https://www.fourseasons.com/minneapolis/Originally published by DK on November 19, 2021 at 12:21 am
The Market at Malcolm Yards, MinneapolisOriginally published by DK on November 12, 2021 at 10:21 pm
Way closer to the temp office than I thoughtOriginally published by DK on November 10, 2021 at 1:05 pm
Roti Modern Mediterranean, IDS Crystal Court, MinneapolisOriginally published by DK on November 9, 2021 at 1:26 pm
The small Apple + Pear @ Green + The Grain, MinneapolisOriginally published by DK on November 8, 2021 at 4:29 pm
A little late on writing the follow-up story to my post about the end of the stadium chapter, but as many of you already know, I’ve decided to return to the hospitality industry. On October 25th, I joined the opening team at the new Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Minneapolis, which will be located in the RBC Gateway building at the intersection of Nicollet Mall and Washington Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.
The project is owned by the Pohlad family, so a tip of the hat to Twins technology guru John Avenson for telling me about this opportunity (and the history behind it). The tower will be mixed use: office space for several Pohlad companies and RBC Wealth Management, a new ground floor restaurant and coffee shop from Gavin Kaysen, event space (two ballrooms and multiple meeting rooms), an outdoor pool deck with restaurant, spa with indoor pool, exercise and yoga rooms, eight hotel floors and 34 private residences.
The Four Seasons brand and corporate culture is outstanding and will be a great addition to the Twin Cities market. I’m so impressed with the local team being assembled here, along with all the people that I’ve met from the home office in Toronto and at other locations around the world. The Director of IT from Houston was in Minneapolis last week and will help with our opening. Later this month, I will travel to Chicago for orientation (and my first stay at one of the properties).
From a technical perspective, this move will take me back to the world of Opera, along with all of the other systems that hotels need to operate: door locks and keys, IPTV, WiFi, telephones, security cameras and digital signage (among others). It’s also really nice to have a strong network of internal support, as well as a world-class corporate IT group that have well-defined standards and procedures. My office will have a window peering into the data center and it’ll be fun to have IDF rooms on multiple floors of a really tall building (along with brand-new equipment throughout).
Similar to my start at the stadium, we are in temporary offices down the street while construction continues (offices should be ready in February, with the hotel set to open in the summer). Great to be back in construction mode again with a hard hat and reflective vest: McGough is the general contractor and I get to work with Gephart again too. Other primary groups include Pohlad-owned United Properties as the site developer and JLL as the leasing agent.Originally published by DK on November 7, 2021 at 11:59 pm
Team outing on UniversityOriginally published by DK on November 5, 2021 at 5:43 pm
First day at the new projectOriginally published by DK on October 25, 2021 at 11:08 pm
Yesterday was my last official day working at U.S. Bank Stadium as the Director of IT. I was about a week shy of six years, but what a wild ride it has been:
- Five plus seasons of Vikings Football (including the Minneapolis Miracle)
- Super Bowl LII
- Men’s Final Four
- Summer X Games
- A.C. Milan vs. Chelsea
- Monster Jam and Super Cross dirt shows
- MSHSL Championships
- Metallica, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Guns N’ Roses, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, U2 with Beck (and many other shows)
It’s been an honor to work in this building from pre-opening through today, partnering with outstanding organizations, working with truly amazing people and learning an awful lot about the sports and entertainment industry.
There are really too many people to thank for helping me succeed in this chapter of my life, but I’d like to call out a few:
- Armon Farrari, who I stole from Apple (h/t Pash) and who became one of the best technology managers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with in any industry.
- Curtis Schmillen, Director of Operations, Leo Pidde (now retired) and Ed Kroics (who took Leo’s place): just an amazing group of coworkers inside the building and great people to be with outside of work – be it on a golf course or at a happy hour.
- Jim Farstad, executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (and former technology consultant during construction): a true renaissance man in every way.
- Inaugural GM Patrick Talty (and HR manager Shelly Wynia) for picking me to join the opening team back in 2015.
- Current GM John Drum, who helped during my health emergency outside the stadium in 2018.
- The CTAC team at CenturyLink (now Lumen) that designed and built the original technology infrastructure: Andy Diment, Mark Olson and Evan Teisberg. Still helping to this day, extraordinary knowledge that always made my job “really pretty simple.”
- Bill Anderson and Wesley Terry at AmpThink: no one in the world knows more about WiFi than these two individuals.
- Mentor Doug Podolak: your continued support of my career (and friendship) means the world to me.
- My wife and daughters: zero percent chance I’d be here today without their love and support. You da best ❤️
Lastly, to everyone at the Vikings (past and present): you’ve been great partners and I can’t wait to see you bring home the Vince Lombardi trophy to the great state of Minnesota. Skol, Vikings!Originally published by DK on October 21, 2021 at 10:50 pm
Emotional day at the stadium ❤️Originally published by DK on October 18, 2021 at 7:25 pm
Last Vikings game @ U.S. Bank Stadium: Vikings 19, Lions 17Originally published by DK on October 10, 2021 at 7:47 pm
https://recruiting.adp.com/srccar/public/RTI.home?c=1152751&d=ExternalCareerSite&r=5000780763706#/Originally published by DK on October 9, 2021 at 10:16 am
I was a skeptic, but it really is a cool effect ❄️Originally published by DK on October 1, 2021 at 3:40 pm
Should’ve put it on my calendar – missed all the chefsOriginally published by DK on September 23, 2021 at 6:30 pm
Thanks to Cisco for helping cross that one off the listOriginally published by DK on September 16, 2021 at 9:28 am
Work outing to Target Field with a stop @ Kieran’sOriginally published by DK on September 14, 2021 at 10:11 pm
And both at Target Field, no lessOriginally published by DK on August 24, 2021 at 9:29 am
Reverse ATMs and WiFi6 @ Target FieldOriginally published by DK on August 18, 2021 at 2:49 pm
The first of many, I’m sureOriginally published by DK on August 17, 2021 at 10:55 am
Release the hounds!Originally published by DK on August 14, 2021 at 10:04 am
MAKE IT LOUDOriginally published by DK on August 10, 2021 at 6:51 pm
Third time’s the charm, right?Originally published by DK on August 10, 2021 at 6:38 pm
Original Hockey Mom Brownies are coming to my office this fallOriginally published by DK on July 31, 2021 at 3:06 pm
…but the artwork is niceOriginally published by DK on July 6, 2021 at 4:27 pm
Why is my office always in the Star Tribune?Originally published by DK on July 5, 2021 at 8:24 am
Stadium Opening 2.0Originally published by DK on July 1, 2021 at 10:00 am
Rush Creek + WillingersOriginally published by DK on June 16, 2021 at 10:02 pm
Always good to get a refresher…Originally published by DK on June 14, 2021 at 2:39 pm
Events are coming back and U.S. Bank Stadium needs help getting ready. Looking for an entry-level tech support candidate to join my team this summer:
- Will train – great first job for a tech-savvy graduate
- NFL game day excitement at least ten days a year
- Good chance of working with roadies from world-famous bands
- Get paid to learn really expensive systems and equipment
- Flexible hybrid remote and onsite work environment
- Cool office that makes the news on a regular basis
- Fun team, decent boss
Days like these make it taste real goodOriginally published by DK on June 8, 2021 at 1:29 pm
Stadium deliveryOriginally published by DK on June 3, 2021 at 11:45 am
Ghosts of Final Fours 🏀Originally published by DK on May 25, 2021 at 4:15 pm
Getting ready for another goOriginally published by DK on May 18, 2021 at 3:48 pm
Lunch at Smokey’s – thanks, Jesse!Originally published by DK on April 28, 2021 at 2:20 pm
Not quite ready, but nearly thereOriginally published by DK on April 14, 2021 at 2:00 pm
Looking back through the archives, I don’t think I’ve ever actually written about our baseball ticket group. State Farm Insurance Agent Kirk Detlefsen (and his family) have been running a Twins season ticket group for quite some time. I was introduced to them through my Northwest Airlines mentor six years ago and have been hooked ever since.
Each season, Kirk buys up a bunch of season tickets in different sections, then divides them into shares at various price points. A ticket “draft” is held every year and each shareholder picks the games they want to attend. Usually this is held in February in the Delta Club with snow on the field, guest speakers from the Twins and an assortment of ballpark food available for purchase. We didn’t have one at all in 2020 and the 2021 version was held via Zoom (of course). Kudos to all the Detlefsens for pulling that off (and managing 100% digital tickets for the first time ever).
The smallest share in the group is two tickets to two games in the Champions Club. Since these seats are super expensive (and generally not available to the general public via single game sales), this was a nice way to splurge once a year (I split the share with my uncle). After a few years of that, we switched to a share with two seats for ten games in the Delta Club. That’s what we currently have, although it appears that our actual seats may be all over this season because of capacity restrictions.
So what was the return of fans like?
To be honest, the thing I was looking forward to most were the new Andrew Zimmern KFC wings that Stephanie March wrote about for Mpls/StPaul magazine. They are available in Bat & Barrel (which will now be called Truly On Deck, but none of the signage has changed yet), so we headed there first. They still apparently take advanced reservations, as most tables had reserved signs on them and you couldn’t order food from the counter (just drinks at the bar). I asked the person standing at the podium if I had to order through the app, but she wasn’t sure. The tables had QR codes on them, so I scanned that, which took me to a menu page, but no link to order online. Hmm…
So let’s talk about apps for a minute. MLB offers several, but these are the two primary ones I’ve used (and had on my phone): MLB and MLB Ballpark. I could’ve sworn the first one used to be called At Bat, but maybe I’m making that up. The MLB app lets you follow games around the league, while the Ballpark app is supposed to handle all the stuff you need at an actual game – tickets, mobile ordering, Twingo. I opened the wrong app so many times – maybe I need to move them to different screens. I also added the ParkWhiz app to my phone today to park in Ramp A, but more on that later.
There were multiple reports across the league of issues with mobile ordering on opening day, so I was interested to see how the process worked. I was also under the impression that all food needed to be ordered from the app, but that was not the case at all. With limited stands open, lines were long all around the main concourse, but you could place an order at a stand and pay with a credit card (no cash accepted – Apple Pay did work fine, which has been an issue for me there in the past). Here’s what the Ballpark app screens looked like to order my KFC wings:
The first disclaimer screen comes up every single time you try to order. The app doesn’t automatically try to figure out where you are located, so you have to select from the drop-down menu, which has what seems like a million options to scroll through. When I selected Bat & Barrel, there was a limited selection of items – I could order the wings, but no drinks or sides. The app was not integrated with Apple Pay, so I had to manually enter my credit card information. My card got billed right away and the screen said I would receive a text message when my order was ready. The app didn’t ask for my number, though, so I never received a text. Also, once you closed the confirmation window, it was not obvious how to pull up your order info (with the important order number) and I did not receive any email receipts of the transaction. Later I found that you can access a “My Orders” section, but that is only available by starting a new transaction:
There was signage at the front serving area for mobile order pickup, but there was no one working there. After a few minutes of standing around, someone came and asked me if I was waiting for an order, then went back to the kitchen to get it. By this time, there were a few other people waiting too. When they brought out my food, it was in a stapled shut brown grocery bag that just contained the food in a container – there were no utensils or napkins. This was only the second game back after a year of no fans, so hopefully these issues will get worked out as operations get back into the grove. The quality of the wings was really good, but a cheese brat I bought later from the Kramarczuk’s stand was small and overcooked.
While it was great to be back at a game, we had a few other negative experiences. The digital tickets in the app say you must enter at the gate indicated, so we headed to gate 34 when we arrived. Since we were early, there was no one in line at all, but a guest service staffer immediately confronted us. She said this was an ADA entrance and wanted to see our “Sweet Spot” card on the app before letting us proceed (?). That part of the app was not working and she eventually just let us proceed to the empty security screening line. Guessing this process will also get better as the season progresses.
The announced attendance for the game was 9,817 and the concourses never felt overcrowded. People in general followed the mask and distancing rules while moving around, but the concession lines were tight and the group of “bros” behind us decided that since they were drinking all game long, they didn’t need to wear their masks. At all. Seat spacing was similar to the Saints last season, alternating rows with four-seat blocks on both ends in one row with two-seats blocks in the middle of the next. Blocked seats were zip tied shut, but one group asked an usher if they were supposed to cut them to sit (they were in the wrong section). We didn’t see any ushers trying to enforce mask rules, the scoreboard and PA announcements were minimal and it would be nice if the fancam operators would only show people following the rules.
With state regulations capping attendance at 10,000 right now, I don’t envy the task of the ticket office managers. We really like our experience in Delta Club and hope that we can have seats back in there later in the season. It was rather frustrating to see entire empty sections up there the whole game, but I’m guessing that’s because most people wanted to stay inside the warm part of the club (which we would have traded our 12th row seats for in a heartbeat – it never got above 47F). Target Field’s current published capacity is only 38,544, so jumping up to 50% shouldn’t be a huge change. It will also be nice to see the menus expand back to normal – Red Cow, for example, was not offering turkey burgers yet.
The final issue we had (aside from the dumb start-a-runner-on-second rule and Twins loss) was leaving the parking ramp. I drove up to the exit kiosk and opened the ParkWhiz app, only to find my barcode gone and a prompt to login. When I bought the parking pass earlier in the day, they sent me an email with a link to the barcode, but never asked me to set up a login ID and password. With people waiting behind me (and no staff at the exit), I had to pull my car over to the side, find the email, then get back in line. I will now know to have this ready before I start driving, but I wasn’t the only car that had to do this. If there was a regular-sized crowd exiting at the same time, this would be a disaster.
A return to hockey is up next for me tomorrow night (with another Twins game on 4/23). Stay tuned for more reports…Originally published by DK on April 11, 2021 at 1:45 pm
First of four days @ USBSOriginally published by DK on April 8, 2021 at 9:28 am