The 2020 Market Ambassador Meeting: A Toast to Virtual Collaboration and Cocktails

Seven GRC team members, nine Market Ambassadors, and two executives from GRC’s portfolio log into a Zoom chat …

No, it’s not the setup to a classic joke but instead the start of this year’s annual Market Ambassador meeting (although we have been known to walk into a bar all together in the past). The pandemic may have forced us to modify our usual format and setting, but our ability to exchange ideas, strategize for the future and even share a cocktail remained unchanged.

After a quick update on GRC’s portfolio, marketing efforts, active deals and latest investment (more on that later), we discussed how Market Ambassador leads over the past year have transformed into active deals and companies of interest. This then led into roundtable topics on industry focus, networking tips, market research and 2021 planning. These roundtables are one of the best parts of the annual meeting (for us, at least) because we get to witness our ambassadors’ remarkable wealth of expertise and experience on display and in collaboration with one another.

We had two special presenters join us for the meeting as well. First up, GRC Industry Advisor Dan Trott spoke about our latest investment, FairWave Holdings, a specialty coffee collective designed to support and grow locally-branded coffee companies. As the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the collective, Trott explained the rationale behind its creation and the kind of targets we’re looking to add to it in the future.

Next, we heard from Reid Oyster, Executive Vice President of Apple Bus Company, on a painfully relevant topic: leading a company in the midst of the pandemic. As a student transportation provider, Apple Bus has had to navigate almost universal closings of schools in March, months of restructuring and planning, and all the uncertainty that has come with schools opening back up again.  Oyster and the Apple Bus team have devoted themselves to adapting to the current reality and have even managed to find some silver linings and learnings to pass on.

Finally, thanks to a little pre-meeting planning, each attendee had been shipped everything they needed to make their own GRC Horsefeather cocktail to imbibe during our virtual happy hour. Some traditions don’t change, regardless of our circumstances.

Obviously, we love these meetings and know how valuable they are to the future of Great Range Capital. But we also love hearing how they benefit our ambassadors too:

Thank you so much for producing a terrific meeting. The Zoom format worked extremely well. The business updates were very interesting, and the virtual happy hour was amazing. I enjoyed the opportunity to network with other Market Ambassadors. Dan Trott provided an exceptional strategy presentation, and Reid Oyster provided a clinic on effective leadership in a crisis environment.  Both are very impressive leaders. Thank you very much for the opportunity to be part of the GRC team. I look forward to the opportunity to get together in person when the Covid-19 pandemic passes.        —Michael J. Shonka, Executive Partner, Wichita, Kansas

Here’s to hoping we’ll be toasting each other in person next year.

More about MAP

GRC developed its unique Market Ambassador Program (MAP) to increase its visibility in the Heartland, ramp up acquisition activity and expand its growing portfolio. Distinguished Midwest-region executives are invited to join the MAP and represent GRC in their communities and networks. MAP executives have planted their roots and built their careers in cities throughout the Midwest. They are highly esteemed for their expertise and career accomplishments.

Interested in joining this amazing group of professionals? Know someone that might be?  Please feel free to contact Christie McFall, Business Development Director, at Great Range Capital for more information about the program.