Perspectives

2023 Summer Extravaganza

By HDJ

How do you collaborate and develop strong working relationships with your team when many are distributed across the United States?  This is the question we asked ourselves a few years ago.  The answer is simple, we travel our entire team and families in from locations throughout the country to West Michigan for an active week together.  Our steam from across the United States traveled to West Michigan to participate in this annual event where we celebrate our successes, focus on collaboration, and develop strategies to grow as a company and as people. 


Tuesday, June 13, 2023: HDJ kicked-off its 2023 Summer Extravaganza on Day 1 at The Michilinda Lodge in Whitehall, Michigan, along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. Day 1 kicked-off with a Lean Six Sigma training session for the entire company.  During this day-long session, HDJ participated in an active training to learn about the Lean Six Sigma program. HDJ also spent the day in breakout sessions focusing on continuous improvement. After a big first day, the team spent a low-key evening together at the lodge, sharing some laughs, catching-up, and developing new friendships. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2023: Day 2 of our Summer Extravaganza began at the White Lake Yacht Club in Whitehall, Michigan. As part of HDJ’s commitment to Lean, the morning began with a Kaizen event where our team split into groups to focus on developing small areas of improvements. Topics covered during this Kaizen event included:

  • Better ways to collaborate
  • Running efficient meetings
  • Standardizing a work process
  • Professional growth


Using the Kaizen approach, each group spent time actively collaborating to discuss the topics and creating lists of specific implementation ideas to propose as efficiency improvements. Groups presented their topic to the entire company and shared implementation ideas. Based on the impressive ideas and feedback, HDJ will be actively implementing these ideas in the days ahead. 

After an energetic staff lunch, HDJ held its annual staff update presented by leadership where we reviewed overall performance, vision, and strategy.  Later that afternoon, many of our talented architects, engineers, and interior designers shared project case studies with the entire company.  Case studies included highlighting projects throughout the United States, including California, Montana, Texas, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, South Dakota, Arizona, and Colorado. 


Following an educational and active day of collaboration and learning, HDJ relaxed with a company cookout and volleyball during the evening at Michillinda Lodge. 


Thursday, June 15, 2023: In an eventful day for HDJ that began at our Grand Rapids office, HDJ officially launched our new Corporate Social Responsibility program. As part of the launch, we welcomed Don Wilkinson, the executive director from Habitat for Humanity Lakeshore. Don provided our team with an overview of Habitat for Humanity and shared information about many of the current homes being built in West Michigan.  After the morning session, HDJ split into five groups and spent the day performing volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity at four active build sites in the Grand Rapids area and a ReStore location. 

Later that evening after spending the day with Habitat for Humanity, HDJ gathered back at The Michillinda Lodge for our annual summer picnic to enjoy an evening with family and friends, capping off an amazing week along the shores of Lake Michigan.  While we were slightly bummed to see the 2023 summer event conclude, we’re thankful for the amazing week together with our team. HDJ is looking forward an even better event in 2024!

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How do you collaborate and develop strong working relationships with your team when many are distributed across the United States?  This is the question we asked ourselves a few years ago.  The answer is simple, we travel our entire team and families in from locations throughout the country to West Michigan for an active week together.  Our steam from across the United States traveled to West Michigan to participate in this annual event where we celebrate our successes, focus on collaboration, and develop strategies to grow as a company and as people. 

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