Blizzard Strands Speaker After In-plant ConferenceOctober 11, 2013
OK, so Mike Loyd is technically not Cajun, but the Baton Rouge native—Ricoh's in-plant specialist—still found himself trapped in a blizzard early this week in Rapid City, S.D., after speaking to a gathering of in-plant managers at the Association of Rocky Mountain College and University Mail Services (ARMCUMS) conference.
By all accounts, the conference went well, with several in-plant managers giving presentations on strategies for success, Web-to-print, fleet management and other topics. Loyd's talk about "Achieving Excellence In Your In-plant" was well received.
But when it came time for him to fly home to warm Louisiana, a rare autumn snowstorm hit the region, dumping two feet of snow on Rapid City and closing the airport. Needless to say, it was a rare experience for a Southern man (who had only a light jacket, and no snow boots, in his luggage). Still, he appreciated the novelty of the situation.
"It was kind of cool because I never see snow like that," Loyd says.
As the drifts piled up outside, he and the other trapped travelers watched football in the bar ("I got to see LSU win," he remarks), mingled with the colorful members of the Red Hat Society (a social organization for women age 50 and beyond) and listened to a polka band.
"We formed a community because everybody was in the same boat," Loyd remarks.
He praises the staff at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn, many of whom worked 18-hour shifts because they couldn't get home. "They were exceptional," he says.
Instead of feeling miserable, Loyd says the experience was uplifting.
"It showed the good side of humanity," he reflects. "When you get this kind of experience, it kind of opens your eyes that people are basically good and they want to take care of their fellow man. In that aspect, it was a good thing."
As it turned out, by the time the airport reopened, it was time for Loyd's next trip. So he didn't bother going home, but flew straight to sunny California for the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association's regional meeting, which had been sponsored by Ricoh, at Moorpark Community College, northwest of Los Angeles.
After that, though, it was straight back to bayou country for Loyd, who by then was "ready to get home."