Alan Beattey retired from Draper about a year ago, after serving as our Operations Manager for many years. As Draper employees and former employees, we take pride in seeing our products installed and in use in facilities throughout the world. Alan had the opportunity to visit a recently completed gymnasium equipment project at Defiance University. Alan is not only an alumnus of the school, but also had responsibility for Draper gymnasium equipment production for several years, so he has a doubly strong connection to this project. Here is the story Alan shared.
One Wednesday, I was headed to Toledo, Ohio for a late afternoon meeting. Having recently retired, I decided to make a day of it and to visit my Alma Mater, Defiance University, a small liberal arts United Church of Christ affiliated institution about 55 miles southwest of Toledo.
Late in 1998 when Draper, Inc. entered the basketball backstop business, I assumed operational responsibility for that production. I knew that Draper, Inc. had supplied the backstops and divider curtains for Defiance’s George M. Smart Athletic Center that opened in February 2012. So, after driving around the campus, I parked near the new building and went inside for a look. What a nice facility it is. The 84,000 square feet building is dominated by a six lane 200 meter track. In the center of the track, surrounded by Draper Radius Fold-up curtains, are three basketball courts. With the 40 foot high ceiling and the Draper TB-25 Rear Brace Rear Folding retractable backstops there is plenty of room for volleyball, tennis, pole vaulting, etc. in the center, plus two Draper Center Lift Multi-Sport Practice Cages and an exercise room on the outside of the track.
Old habits die hard and I couldn’t resist making sure the customer was happy, so I asked a handy staff member if everything was working okay. When she replied yes, and gave me a “why wouldn’t they be?” look, I left the building pleased to be an alumnus, and to having spent 24 years with Draper, Inc.
My memory was that the Defiance faculty and staff were particularly friendly. Sure enough, as I wandered around campus and through the buildings I remembered and those new to me, several people asked if they could help me. Without identifying myself I would reply “no thanks I am just an alumnus checking out the campus.” That sufficed until as I walked by (not into) the alumni office, I was asked if I had seen the new athletic center. When I said I had, and that my former employer, Draper Inc. had provided much of the equipment, my questioner smiled and said “is your last name Beattey?”
Twenty minutes later – as I was leaving the book store I heard my name and turned to see Cindy Shaffer, Senior Director of Advancement Services and Gift Planning who was on the hunt for me. So Defiance is as friendly as ever, and just as in my student days I will be writing a check to the college.