The boys and girls who accompanied their parents to work on Thursday also got a close-up look at several of the trucks used by Tampa Fire Rescue Engine 8
He was, admittedly, influenced by the vanilla-with-sprinkles ice cream cone that was trying to melt down his right hand, but Sammy McNair was still thinking big picture when he gave this assessment of the hours he spent at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday:
"Best day ever!"
These days, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are busy finalizing their preparations for this weekend's NFL Draft, when a new wave of young talent will be added to the roster. On Thursday, however, the Bucs' staff took some time to connect with the next generation in another, more personal way.
It was Bring Your Child to Work Day for the team's employees, and it turned One Buccaneer Place on its head…in a good way.
Everywhere you turned in the spacious hallways and offices of the Buccaneers new, state-of-the-art facility, hardworking employees were shadowed by their sons and daughters, all eager to see what mom and dad do from nine to five. McNair, the cousin of Photo Archivist Anique Coffee, was one of over 30 children who spent the day with their parents, cousins, aunts, uncles and siblings on Thursday. The day-long event was the brainchild of Executive Vice President Ed Glazer, meshed with the nationwide Bring Your Child to Work initiative that some organizations take part in.
"Mr. Glazer thought it was very important that the children of Buccaneer employees understand what their parents do on a day-to-day basis," said Director of Business Administration Brian Ford, who brought sons Brian (12) and Brandon (10) with him to work Thursday. "There is more than just football to the Buccaneers. A lot more goes into what the team does every day than what you see on TV."
There was even more than usual going on at One Buc on Thursday, which was evident to the visiting kids as soon as they walked into the building's lobby. Each child was greeted emphatically by Captain Fear, the Bucs' gregarious team mascot. Captain Fear welcomed the kids to One Buc, handed out hugs and high fives and posed for pictures.
Most of the kids then headed to their escorts' offices, where they got a rare glimpse at what their parents and relatives actually do for the Buccaneers. Garrett Hammond delivered important payroll forms with his mom, Kristin Esteppe. Trevor Beadles helped his father, Executive Chef Mike Beadles make gourmet macaroni-and-cheese. Elena Trescastro helped her dad, Director of Security and Facilities Andres Trescastro, make key-card badges for all of the visiting boys and girls.
Jay Campbell, one of the team's radio sales professionals, even took his bright-eyed seven-year-old daughter, Marissa, into an important on-site meeting with a potential client. Marissa, said Campbell, was his "closer;" she definitely got an up-close look at how daddy makes a living.
Midway through the morning, the visiting children reconvened in the lobby for a special treat. They were met there by the firefighters of Tampa Fire Rescue Engine 8.
A month ago, Buccaneers.com reported the arrival of a pair of special new vehicles for Engine 1, a ladder truck and a pumper truck, both painted in Buccaneers' colors and script. On Thursday, the men of Engines 1 and 8 brought that special ladder truck back to One Buc, along with three other specialized vehicles.
The visiting Bucs kids were treated to a close-up look at the impressive vehicles, including a chance to walk through the jumpseat area of one of the trucks. The firefighters also delivered an important message of safety to the boys and girls, covering such matters as dialing 911, testing fire alarm batteries and avoiding strangers.
Lunch followed not long after, with Chef Beadles and his crew serving up a kid-friendly menu of mac-and-cheese, mini-burgers and fries, hot dogs and the like. The well-appointed dining room at One Buccaneer Place is outfitted with a frozen yogurt-dispensing machine and an assortment of toppings to go with it; needless to say, that area was a popular one with the kids.
Video Production Manager Ed Bottger, who was shadowed on the day by seven-year-old daughter Brandi and six-year-old son Christian, had another treat for the visiting kids. Using a press conference setup in the team's studio – the same space that Head Coach Jon Gruden holds his weekly meetings with the press during the football season – Bottger let each of the boys and girls take a turn in front of the camera.
Brandi, who wanted to be a part of everything dad was doing Thursday, served as his assistant, handling the microphone and helping get the miniature newscasters into place. With her help, the kids took turns identifying themselves and their parents, describing what their moms or dads did for the Buccaneers and recounting their favorite parts of the day.
After lunch, some of the younger kids were given the opportunity to run around on the One Buc practice fields and toss a few balls around. Many of the older children, on the other hand, were interested to see what their parents would do with the afternoon, back in their offices.
Business went on as usual, more or less…there may have been a bit more noise in the halls than usual, and perhaps a few more cookies consumed at lunch. In all, the day was a rousing success, as team employees brought their kids into their daily lives for a change. Everyone enjoyed the day so much that the team plans to hold the exact same event next spring…only bigger.
"That was important, to see what mom and dad do," said Ford. "We tried to take the kids around and introduce them to the other people on the staff, to promote the team and family effort that we're trying to maintain around here. The kids saw a lot of neat stuff, met a lot of new friends and we're looking forward to next year to make it even better."