This year we celebrated our 40th year in business, and we took full advantage of the bad over-the-hill jokes and lordy lordy look who’s forty anthems.  It is truly an honor be around this long and we want to start by thanking our employees, their families, our customers, our vendors and our partners.  We are nothing without these relationships; we have worked hard at establishing them over the past four decades, and will continue to work hard at maintaining and nurturing them.
January: We kicked the year off right with an entire staff visit to Dave & Buster’s in Milwaukee, WI;  two and one half hours from our headquarters. We incorporated this visit with our annual roll-out meeting where our organizational goals and keys are shared with the entire Bay Tek family.  All 150 of us loaded into three coach buses and we were off to celebrate a great 2016, to recognize forty years in business, review our goals and keys, educate our staff on our industry, and of course play some games!
February: Baby it’s cold outside, so why not go to New York City?  We attended the Toy Fair in February with our licensing agent, Dimensional Branding Group.  With the purchase of Skee-Ball one year prior, we had been hard at work reintroducing the brand to potential licensing partners.  We are happy to report that two physical Skee-Ball games will be hitting retail store shelves in 2018.  We are excited to keep you posted on these developments as well as any new deals that occur throughout the year.
March: March Madness means trade shows for this basketball frenzy month. Our main spring show is Amusement Expo International, put on by the American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA), where we showcased Jewel Mine, Pop the Lock and the newly overhauled Skee-Ball products Spin-N-Win, Super Shot, and of course the classic alley roller.  It didn’t stop there our new International Sales Manager, Mark Lenske was in Italy for the FEE show and visiting customers for two weeks and then off to the spectacular DEAL show in Dubai.
April: We continued to grow, not only were sales at all-time records but we added our third CNC router to help keep up with our high demand.  We implemented our new production layout with three value streams versus one main production line which helped increase capacity nearly 30%. Keep the sales coming!
May: As licensing continues to take a key part of our future, we attended at the Licensing Expo in May, looking for partners with our Skee-Ball brand but also for our other brands.  We hope you  saw the press release this year on our Pull My Finger deal with Jakk’s Pacific, the anticipation-style game just hit Toy R Us for the holiday season! Go check it out today, we are confident you and the kids in your life will get a real gas out of it!
June: Hurray, hurray…the weather is finally acceptable in Pulaski and we get to kick off our annual summer cookouts!  Each Wednesday our nominated grill master gets to grill up burgers, brats, chicken and hot dogs for our employees.  We believe breaking bread together is important to connecting with people and building relationships; plus it’s a great way for us to enjoy the summer months in Wisconsin!
July: Our newest Account Manager Lance Treankler, who will be covering Latin American sales, hit Peru this month with trips to Columbia and Argentina right around the corner.  We are more focused on this market than ever before and look forward to the new opportunities that will come from a dedicated representative for this region of the world.
August: What does strategy planning, year in review, and ATV’ing have in common?  Our sales and marketing mid-year meeting!  This year it took place at sister company, Northwinds Adventures in the beautiful Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan.  We continue to grow in members so it was important to us to take the team off-site for a few days to not only review and plan but to participate in team building!
September: We are growing in many ways! Our head count continues to grow, our sales levels are at new record highs, we are adding new equipment like our third router and flatbed digital printer, and in September we finally got the approval to go ahead and expand our facility from our current headquarters building measuring 49,000 sq. ft. to an expanded building totally 95,000 sq. ft.  We are excited about what the new space will allow us to do with manufacturing, inventory management, additional meeting spaces, and of course more toilets!
October: We kicked October at with the AAMA Annual Meeting and Gala in Chicago-land.  It was an honor to have our very own, Holly Hampton, become the association’s President while Todd Louthain accepted the Shining Star Award from the staffers of AAMA.  We debuted our new game Perfection and gave a presentation on our branding/licensing initiative. But most importantly we were able to spend time with our industry friends and colleagues!
November: IAAPA.  We could just stop right there!  Our biggest trade show of the year is always a wonderful week. We brought four new games: Perfection, Scooby-Doo, Squiggle and Steer Clear along with launching our Prize Hub Live software.  It was a wonderful four days on the trade show floor but our highlight was hosting a 40th birthday party for Bay Tek Games.  We had lots of fun with our industry friends who helped get us to where we are today and enjoy some cold ones after a long first day working the show!
December: As the year winds down all that comes to mind is gratitude.  We are grateful for so much this year including you the reader! Whether you are a customer, an industry partner, a vendor, employee or someone else who just enjoys our monthly e-newsletter, we are grateful you are part of our story.  Thank you for reading this far and may you have a blessed holiday season this year and only the best in 2018.