At The Zoo: ASG Thanks Customers With San Diego Zoo Party

At The Zoo With ASG

Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based solution provider, earlier this month held its annual customer appreciation party at the San Diego Zoo.

It was a great place to catch a glimpse of pandas, iPads, birds, businessmen in Hawaiian shirts and even Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.

And what would be a visit to the Zoo without the appropriate mood music? How about "At the Zoo" by Simon and Garfunkel?

Start the music, turn the page, and join ASG at the San Diego Zoo.

Hello, Everyone!

Personally greeting almost every ASG customer and family member was Burt Shure, account executive for the company's San Diego office.

After watching Shure for about 10 minutes, we came to a startling conclusion: Shure not only knows the name of every local customer, he also knows their spouses' and their children's names as well.

That probably comes from sponsoring the San Diego Zoo party for 15 years.

Old BakBone Hand

Also mingling with arriving guests was Larry Fox, a senior solutions consultant with ASG. Solution providers who have been in the storage business for a while might recognize Fox from his previous life as one of the co-founders of BakBone, the data protection software vendor which was acquired by Quest Software earlier this year for $55 million .

Come On In!

At the registration desk for the event, pre-registered ASG customers and their families could pick up their free Zoo passes and a wristband which would let them enter the dinner buffet later that evening. Those who did not pre-register could still get in with some help from Shure.

Mmmmm! Bamboo!

While waiting for dinner, ASG's customers and guests had time to enjoy the San Diego Zoo. The weather was perfect, as it usually is in San Diego in August.

Those who got there early enough had time to wait in line for 30 minutes to see the Zoo's resident pandas, Gao Gao and Yun Ze. While Yun Ze slept in a hammock, Gao Gao did what pandas do best: Eat lots of bamboo.


What better way to relax after a couple of hours of watching bamboo being devoured by a panda or monkeys eating each others' bugs than a nice cold beer or choice of wine?

Don't worry. ASG thought of the under-21 set with a choice of soft drinks.

Ace Ventura, Pet Detective

The San Diego Zoo is the perfect place to meet Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.

Well, not really Ace, per se. Dataram, the Princeton, N.J.-based vendor of storage and memory products, hired a Jim Carrey look-alike, Larry Bulot of Hemet, Calif.

Bulot was the perfect Ace Ventura, down to the walk and the voice.

Just where the heck does one actually go to buy trousers like that?

Entertaining The Kids...

...and the kid inside everyone.

A couple of the Zookeepers brought in several animals to entertain ASG's customers and guests.

The children especially enjoyed the appearance of an anteater who decided that a solution-provided dinner buffet was the perfect venue to regurgitate some of the ants it ate earlier in the day.

Dinner And An iPad

After dinner, ASG's vendor partners handed out prizes to guests whose names were drawn randomly from those who deposited business cards in the vendors' jars.

The most common prize? Apple iPads, several of which were provided that night to lucky winners.

Surprisingly, Hewlett-Packard did not bring an HP TouchPad as a prize, but instead provided a new portable PC. Perhaps all the free TouchPads were grabbed by Frank Rauch, vice president of channel sales for HP, who gave one to every solution provider attendee at last week's XChange Americas 2011 conference.

Ever Busy, Even At The Zoo

After a long day at the Zoo, what better way to relax than talk to customers on a cell phone?

That's what John Murphy, executive vice president of ASG, did late into the evening, under the watchful eye of Dan Park (left), CIO.

ASG this year is celebrating its 30th year in business. It started out as a ComputerLand franchisee, but changed into a full-blown solution provider a few years later when Murphy, who was selling Sun servers, joined the founders to remake the organization as Advanced Systems Group. It was an easy transition for him. Back in the '70s, he and the company's two other founders became best friends after meeting in their college dorm.