PEP Squad – Season 2

The PEP SQUAD IS BACK with more legislative updates, UPEA announcements, prize giveaways, and guaranteed technical difficulties — We are excited to announce SEASON 2 of the Public Employee Podcast!

Join Todd, Kendle, Hannah, and Sam each episode to stay up-to-date on all things UPEA. For the season 2 premiere, we’re reminiscing about UPEA’s Whirlwind Tour – sharing our favorite moments, some unforeseen challenges, happy accidents, and the lessons we learned along the way.

We’d love to know what you want to hear about! Please reach out with ideas or questions you’d like us to cover in a future episode.

Todd:
Hi UPA members, this is Todd Losser, Executive Director of the Utah Public Employees Association. I’m here with the PEP squad. We are back after a little bit of a hiatus, and we’re going to be talking about the Whirlwind Tour, which we did over the summer and fall over three weeks. Kendle is going to go over the history of the Whirlwind Tour and Sam is going to talk about where we went and what we did. We’re all going to share our favorite moments about the Whirlwind Tour. Kendle take it away.

Kendle:
Thanks Todd, Kendle here. As the name suggests, the Whirlwind Tour was truly a whirlwind ever since we came up with the idea. Our old coworker, Christy Berk, actually came up with the idea for the Whirlwind Tour, to recreate it after the first whirlwind tour UPEA had in 1985. Their tour ran over several months and ours was a lot more condensed. Mark Mickelson was a staff member of UPEA at the time, and he came up with the idea to go around the state on a whirlwind recruitment tour. There’s was extremely successful, I don’t remember exactly how many members.

Todd:
About 300 new members.

Kendle:
We decided to kind of recreate that and then COVID hit. This was supposed to take place in 2020 so we had to move it over to 2021 and with that came a lot of other complications that we had to work through, but it was great. Sam has some of those final tally numbers for our tour.

Sam:
We ended up working around people’s teleworking schedules and the surge days that everyone knows about from the summer. We did three weeks. The first week was August 9 through 12. That’s when we did the southern Utah section of the tour. We went down through Price, Moab, Blanding, St. George, Cedar City, Richfield, and a bunch of little towns in between Kanab and Gunnison. Nephi was our last stop that week. It was really fun. We got to see some really small offices that have one person staffing the entire office. They were very excited to see us and tell us about what was going on. That was fun. The following week we were back in the office, but on August 17th we did one day that was dedicated to Salt Lake Valley Local Government. We went to a couple of different county agencies and that was a really successful day as well. Then September 27th through 29th we did the northern and eastern areas of Utah. Monday, we went up through Uinta Basin, and all the way to Vernal, Roosevelt, Heber and Midway. That was a very long day, but very beautiful. We got to see some really awesome fall colors on that leg of the trip. The next day we went to the Mountainlands district. All the way down to Spanish Fork, the most southern and then up through Provo and Orem, and Lehi.

Todd:
And we were in a hurricane at the developmental center. Very strong wind gusts.

Sam:
I think Mountainlands was one of our most craziest days but one of our highest recruitment days. It was also one of our most challenging days because the food was all late. I think our lunch was an hour late and then the cookies an hour late. But we still saw a lot of people and recruited 35 members. The last day that week we went up through Ogden Valley district and to Bear River district. The very next week, so we did not have much of a breather, we did the entire Salt Lake valley. We had North Temple district on Monday, and then the rest of the week we did the Downtown district and Salt Lake Southeast and Southwest. It was a very action-packed adventure. Hannah’s got our totals.

Hannah:
Like Sam, Todd, and Kendle were saying it was a hugely successful trip. We traveled almost 2200 miles across the state, and we visited 100 offices. We recruited a total of 252 new members which is so exciting. It was so much fun seeing everyone and going to all these places that we haven’t been able to go to because of the pandemic. It was just a lot of fun to catch up with everyone and meet new people.

Kendle:
We were blown away by the support that we received. When we started our first goal, it started at 100 new members and we had already surpassed that after the first week. It was incredible to see how many people came out and how excited everyone was to see us. And everyone got their shirts. It was just a really cool thing.

Hannah:
Special thank you to the UPEA board for being so supportive and all of our district leadership for all their help on figuring out all of the logistics and helping us pick up food and other things along the way. We couldn’t have done it without all of our members. Thank you to our members for telling everyone about it, and telling people to come out to our event. Thank you to everyone who helped schedule buildings. It was definitely a group effort.

Sam:
In honor of our old coworker Christy Berk, she always would have us do our rose and thorn. A highlight and good part and also the hardest part. I think we should go around and do our rose and thorn of the Whirlwind Tour.

Todd:
My favorite part was seeing everyone. Specifically, though, it would be the event in Blanding. We invited all the sheds to come to the Blanding shed. I went down there for 10 years as a field rep, so it was fun to see those employees that work there. After a year and a half of not seeing anyone and then being able to see everyone was really cool. Probably the toughest part would be waking up in the morning. Then if I got tired driving because I don’t trust anybody else driving. I didn’t ever want to give up driving, but I did relinquish the wheel and so that was that was probably the hardest part for me.

Kendle:
Just to continue that, I’d say my thorn of the whole thing was missing my alarm two times, but we recovered from it. Then I think my favorite part, I mean outside of seeing everybody and going to all these sites that we haven’t been for so long, is I was able to go to Arches for the first time. We hiked that on the first night. That was one of my favorite parts. I had never been there, and it’s been on my license plate for so many years and now I can really validate myself in that

Hannah:
Copying what Kendle and Todd said, it was a long three weeks. By the end of the day you’re exhausted, and during the day there was so much energy from all the people so it was so fun during the day, but when we got back to the office it was definitely like oh no I have to be back here at 5:00 AM the next morning. Other than that, it was so fun seeing the whole state that we all live in, and the different parts of it. One time we took a wrong turn when we were in the southern part of the state, and we ended up driving through Zions to try and get to our hotel. Seeing the beautiful scenery and just going to so many different parts. Seeing all these people that we haven’t been able to see for so long was a lot of fun.

Sam:
My thorn was probably, I kind of already said it, was the Mountainlads day, which I was in charge of. All of the food issues that we were having on that day, but everyone was a really good sport about it which made me feel a little better. I was very stressed out and working on not too much sleep so that was a difficult day. My favorite part was the behind the scenes tour we got of the Midway fish hatchery which was really awesome. A shout out to the staff over there because they took us through and told us about their operations and what they did. We got to feed some fish. If anyone wants to give us a behind the scenes tour of their office let us know. We ended that day driving through Guardsman Pass on the way home and got to see the super awesome golden colors.

Kendle:
It was perfect timing to see the leaves changing.

Hannah:
It was definitely a whirlwind for those three weeks, but we would do it again.

Todd:
We just wouldn’t do two weeks in a row. We need a break in between.  

Hannah:
Kendle did a great job capturing it all on our Instagram and Facebook, so check out our social media if you missed anything.

Todd:
I also contributed to the social media with some ideas.

Hannah:
Todd really upped his social media game this trip. It was also super cool to be able to visit all these places with the rest of the UPEA staff. We are usually solo on these trips, and it was really cool to introduce our fellow coworkers to other people in our district that they might not have met in those outer lying districts. We also had such great team to work with was super great.

Todd:
Thanks everyone for helping out

Hannah:
If you have any questions about any of it feel free to reach out to us.

Todd:
Or if you didn’t get a T shirt, we have a lot left at our office.  If you’re in the area we can drop it off at your office or you can pick it up at our office. Or we can mail it to you if you’re not nearby.

Sam:
We have some exciting things coming up with the legislative session so stay tuned. We’ll get back on our podcasting game and have updates for you here soon.

Hannah:
Like we said Christy Berk left us and she was our podcast person so we’re trying to figure it out.

Kendle:
We’re slowly getting the hang of it.

Everyone:
Thanks everyone!