VAR ASG Takes Over San Diego Zoo For Customer Party4:00 PM EST Mon. Aug. 26, 2013
Advanced Systems Group (ASG), a Denver-based solution provider, in early August held its annual customer appreciation party at the San Diego Zoo.
This was a most unique family-oriented event. Unlike most vendor- or VAR-held customer events, there were no speeches extolling the virtues of working with ASG or its vendor sponsors. Instead, customers of ASG and their families were treated to great food, great door prizes, plenty of alcohol (and sodas for the kids), and, of course, plenty of time to wander the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
Want to see how to leave customers and their families happy on a Friday night? First, put on some good zoo music, like "All Of The Monkeys Ain't In The Zoo". Then turn the page and enjoy your virtual attendance at the ASG Zoo Night.
Customers who arrived at the San Diego Zoo starting about 3:30 p.m. had a couple of hours to wander the zoo before dinner started.
David "Stosh" Sosnowski, president of ASG, said the annual ASG Zoo Night is one of several customer events the solution provider sponsors each year, and it's definitely the largest in terms of attendance. Several of those events help bring cash to local charities, including the Virtual.com Open, a Boulder, Colo., golfing event.
The organizer of the ASG Zoo Night event is Bert Shure, a San Diego-based account manager for ASG.
Shure has been doing this for years. So many years, in fact, he is not always sure how many. But, Shure said he's certain this year's event must be the 17th or 18th.
Most of the customers at the event are from the San Diego and Los Angeles area. The farthest any customer drove for this year's event was from Tucson, Ariz., Shure said.
Kent Kellough, western area vice president of ASG, said that over 500 customers and their family members signed up to attend the ASG Zoo Night.
"It's like a big family gathering," Kellough said.
San Diego Zoo employees brought in interesting birds and animals to entertain the kids, and the adults enjoyed the opportunity to be kids at least for the night.
Some of the kids who thought they were being entertained accidentally learned something at the event. April, pictured here, said owls really aren't as wise as they are commonly thought to be, although they are really good at hunting and, therefore, not starving to death.
The ASG Zoo Night was sponsored by several of ASG's vendor partners that set up tables where they extolled the virtues of their hardware, software and services all while trying to give away all their tchotchkes so they could go home empty-handed.
Oracle provided this wind-up dancing robot. Or is it a fighting robot? Put two together face-to-face, and it's hard to tell.
Click here to see this little guy do his stuff.
Toward the end of dinner, Kellough had the pleasure of handing out prizes provided by the vendors.
There was quite a haul for the customers and their families, including an Xbox 360, a couple of iPads and external hard drives, and several gift certificates.
The winner, Daniel Ronald (center, in the white shirt), is a sales manager at TW Telecom, one of the vendor sponsors for the ASG Zoo Night.
Rather than take the money and run, Ronald drew a new name from the door prize ticket box and then personally handed the gift certificate to an ASG customer.
"This was the first time I've won anything in my life," he later told CRN.
Well, Daniel, CRN salutes you for being the biggest winner of the evening.
Stosh (center) told CRN that so far 2013 has been a great year of transition for ASG as it moves more into the services and consulting part of the IT business.
"Cloud computing has more and more become a big part of our business," he said. "We're looking at how to handle recurring revenue, and at how to pay our reps on recurring revenue."
Stosh said that he and his team look forward to the annual ASG Zoo Night.
"It's our biggest event," he said. "And it's important for our customers. It's not just business. They bring their families. They don't have to just talk about business all the time."
Dan Park, CIO of ASG, cheers on the winner of one of the door prizes.
Park, like Sosnowski and much of the staff managing the ASG Zoo Night, flew to San Diego from Denver just to attend the Friday night event.
It wasn't all work for the ASG team, however. Most of them spent Saturday hanging out on a boat off the Southern California coast slaving away at schmoozing with a couple of clients.