A little chaos, some cocktails, and the team from OrthoGroup, Poland.
2017 in San Diego, California was the year it all started. Formally honoring the achievements of our partners was something we had never done any before, and we did not know what to expect. We weren't even sure if any of you would attend. We sent out email after email but we only received only 20 RSVPs. I was pretty sure it was going to be a low key evening. Was I ever wrong!
Earlier in the day we had held our very first Partner Meeting. There had been a number of changes and it was important for you all to hear about them and meet some new faces. We had recently introduced our new brand name; OC Orthodontics. Alan Kozlowski had joined to become President of the company. Also, a short but very handsome man with a slight Australian accent had recently become Vice President of International Sales.
Distributors from every region were in attendance and it was a positive and optimistic meeting. One of the distributors at the meeting was a distributor that had very much grown up with OC; OrthoGroup from Poland. If you do not know or have not met OrthoGroup, they are the slightly less handsome but significantly taller guys to the right of me, behind Blanca, Guido, and Lance in the picture below. (Fun Fact: The OG guys like to wear grey sweatpants when traveling and have questionable singing ability).
After the Partner Meeting we suddenly had requests for over fifty folks wanting to attend the Award Dinner. Panic!! We had only reserved enough seating and meals for thirty people. This was during the middle of AAO so it was impossible to find a different venue. We had to make our current venue work, somehow. Luckily the hotel restaurant that hosted the event were very understanding and obliging.
As our hosts were trying to create additional spacing for the additional attendees, you were all busy enjoying a specially created welcome cocktail. After some maneuvering, the venue was able to move some local restaurant diners out of the way and create (just) enough space to host everyone. You (and me) were unaware to much of the chaos as you happily enjoyed the free fruity blend of alcohol and mango.
Some of you enjoyed those cocktails more than others. Just saying. The team from Korea brought the bright smiles, a certain young lady from Belarus brought the glitz and glamour (love you Irina!), and everybody got into the celebratory nature of the evening. Needless to say if was a good time, even if a little bit unorganized at times. Some of the award winners were sadly not there in person to be honored, but many of you happily were.
The gentlemen from OrthoGroup were also there, and trust me when I tell you that they had a good time. A very good time. They were also the very worthy winner of the first ever OC Diamond Award. OrthoGroup set the standard of hard work, dedication, and commitment it takes to be a diamond award winner. We value them today as much as we did back in 2017.