Supporter Thank You Gifts

This post is not for students. This post is for mentors and teachers. I’d like to talk candidly about thank-you gifts for sponsors, but I need the students to stop reading.

No really, I’m supposed to tell you to stop reading.

Students, stop reading. Come back in a few years.

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Ok, are they gone? Is it just us now?

Growing up, I spent a decent amount of time around machinists and “shop guys”. During my first engineering internship, I worked in the pulp & paper industry, and hung out in paper mills all summer.

Through these experiences, I learned there is a specific method for “getting things done” which is widely accepted. I believe most other people know this method, but I’m starting to think this isn’t as commonly known as I once thought it was.

I know lots of people from around town who help me out personally when I need a favor, or need a hand with something. Our team has a number of sponsors and partners that do “good deeds” for us. We have some partners who we pay for their work, but they often go above and beyond in getting us what we need.

I’m commonly asked:

“JVN, how do the Robowranglers do it? How can I get my shop to deliver the same kind of service you guys get?”

Okay Real Talk… I know we’re not the only team operating within this system.
Here’s the advice I’ve never been able to give, and I’ve never seen anyone else say publicly…

Have you tried Whiskey?

On 148 we call it “turret-punch lubricant”.

Seriously. A case of beer here, a good bottle of whiskey there… it goes a loooooong way to showing your appreciation.

I’m not kidding. This is not a joke. Buy your shop guys a case of beer.

In this world there is an entire economy of “you do me a favor, I’ll do you a favor” and a big part of it is built around the ‘case of beer’ as the handshake.

As lead engineer of 148, that’s one of my major responsibilities and it turns into a big part of my personal donation to the team. We obviously can’t use team budget for this stuff (no matter how critical it is to our success)… so I just pay for it out of pocket.

You may think we’re over here sitting on piles of money, but in reality… a few well placed thank-you’s is all it takes to get the job done.

For those commenting about wanting 148’s resources… maybe you should ask your shop guys what their favorite thank-you would be.

Cookies may work… but there seems to be magic in the “case-of-beer” system.