For the second time, our DMC Seattle office hosted a Yearly Office Event (YOE). Known as the SeaYOEttle, DMCers from across the country gathered to spend a long weekend in Cle Elum, Washington.
To make sure there were events for everyone to engage in, this YOE followed a choose your own adventure style, and there were many adventures to choose from.
Before the YOE
“The Seattle office people were good at finding fun stuff for us to do after work before everyone had showed up for the YOE,” Aaron Shoemaker, DMCer from Chicago who arrived early before the YOE. “We went to a taproom with a food hall on it, we watched the sunset out on the shore at one point, and it was just a really fun week.”
The Monday evening before the YOE included a picnic dinner in the park with the Seattle office for those who already arrived in Seattle.
“On Monday night we went to Lincoln park, a local park, and we had dinner, brought some beverages, and just watched the ferries,” Elizabeth Goodnight, DMCer from Seattle who helped plan the YOE, said. “I think it’s fun just sitting on the water in the sound watching the ferries go by. It’s one of my favorite spots, so we got to take anybody who was around to a little more of a casual night just hanging out and being friends.”
While the office was busy Tuesday with more DMCers arriving in Seattle (including me), we went to dinner at a restaurant in Pike Place Market also on the water. This was a bit more of a classic Seattle tourist staple.
On Wednesday we hit another classic Seattle tourist staple after work and went to Flatstick to play duffle board – a local game that is a mix between mini golf and shuffleboard.
Thursday – Let the YOE Begin
While working in the office on Thursday, Caroline Corbois from Houston and Michael Sidler from Seattle say they got to see the Blue Angels fly over as they were practicing for the weekend.
“We watched the Blue Angels performing over the office essentially from the lookout area at the top of the building and just around the Seattle area,” Michael said. “And we got to play pool with all of the Chicago people who came in.”
After some pool, the first group of DMCers headed to the cabins we were staying at in Cle Elum. We spent the night snacking on pizza, playing games, saying hi to people we haven’t seen in a while, and meeting DMCers we hadn’t met before.
Friday was when the choose your own adventures began. One group went on a moderate hike to Peoh Point in the morning – including myself.
“We did a hike at Peoh Point, and that was fun,” Brian Sanderson, DMCer from Chicago, said. “We reached that peak where a couple of people went up and a couple of others did not. I think hiking is the one thing that is missing in Chicago. That’s why I was happy that Seattle was more of a hiking focus rather than walking around a city.”
Another group went rock climbing all day – a highlight for many people on this YOE.
“I used to be a climbing instructor, so it was really fun to get back out there,” Caroline said. “John and Kevin did a phenomenal job of planning a trip that was accessible for all skill levels. It was a super remote crag – no other climbers except two people at the very end. It was really nice to meet them and talk about local climbing. We were there for 9 hours.”
As hiking is not very easy to do around our other DMC offices, many DMCers say they enjoyed traveling and doing it at a YOE.
“It was a lot of fun! I’ve done a reasonable amount of bouldering in the past and have only been outdoor climbing once before,” Nick Leisle, from San Diego, said. “It was a good chance to get back out there and climb a bit more. I also got to do belaying, which is something I’ve done a little bit before in the past, but I got to learn a little bit more about it this time around. I really can’t complain about spending an entire day outside around the side of a mountain. The place we went climbing was very beautiful. We had a very clear view of Mount Rainier. Just being out there with great weather, lying in a hammock, and hanging out with the homies is a good way to spend the day – can’t complain about that.”
Many DMCers reminisce about climbing as their favorite part of the YOE.
“I think my favorite moment was the first climb of the day just looking out from the top of the rock face, turning around, and seeing Mount Rainier in the distance,” Michael, said. “That was a lot of fun.”
A small group also checked out a beach in Cle Elum Friday afternoon!
After all of the climbing and the beach, we had a cookout for dinner where Phil Schaffer made the best burger I’ve ever had – and some hot dogs. Elizabeth brought up a bunch of berries from her property and convinced us to eat blackberry crumble, which did not take much convincing at all.
Saturday morning was another choose your own adventure day with one group leaving at 4am to hike Colchuck Lake.
“Saturday morning, we got up really early, had three or four cars of people drive up to the Enhancements, and we hiked up to Colchuck Lake,” Michael said. “It was a slightly rainy day, so it fits in with what Seattle is normally like in the non-summer months. It was nice because it took away the heat, and it was a nice, shaded hike up to the lake.”
With Colchuck Lake being one of the most well-known and visited locations to go hiking in the state, there were a ton of people there, according to Michael.
“There are absolutely incredible views,” Michael said. “Some people went and did some swimming in the lake when they got to the top, we enjoyed our trail mix and other snacks that we brought with us, took some pictures, and then headed back down.”
For those who did not want to wake up early but had an itch to hike, they headed to Lake Ingalls.
"I went to Lake Ingalls with Kevin Hsu, Rachel Hughes, John Williams, Nick Leisle, Milos Popovic,” Caroline said. “Kevin and I made it a trail run, which was really fun because then we had time to run all the way around the lake.”
While Caroline and Kevin ran around the lake, everyone else in the group hiked Lake Ingalls, according to Caroline.
“The Lake Ingalls hike was beautiful,” Rachel said. “Being from Chicago, you do not get a lot of mountains, much less lakes in mountains. To be outdoors in that kind of scenery for that long is awesome.”
While the early birds hiked, another group of us went on a thierd adventure to explore the cute little town of Leavenworth, a Bavarian-styled village in the Cascade Mountains.
“Leavenworth was fun. They have really committed to the bit out there,” Aaron said. “It’s all a very German looking town. Even McDonalds, Starbucks, and Napa Auto Parts are all [written in] bohemian script. We went and did a beer tasting at a local brewery, and then we went to München Haus and got bratwurst, sauerkraut, and more beer – it was a good time.”
Following the trip to Leavenworth, a group of DMCers headed to the state park to play Bocci Ball and Uno, eat lunch, and taste wine!
We did the wine tasting in our new DMC Seattle mugs, which was the SWAG gifted at this YOE.
Elizabeth was our Sommelier and presented us with Washington’s local wines to taste. Wine tasting is a Washington staple, according to Elizabeth, and she even gave a second wine tasting back at the cabins for those who went on the long hike and missed it.
As we left Cle Elum and headed back to Seattle, the choose your own adventures continued. One car of DMCers stopped at a local coffee shop for breakfast in the town of Roslyn, Washington that we drove through. Another car stopped at Roslyn’s local farmers market and bought eight pounds of fruit to split on the rest of the drive home. A third group, who hadn’t had the chance to go before, went to see Leavenworth.
“Kevin Hsu, John Williams, Ryan Druffel, and I went to see the Blue Angels,” Caroline said. “We got sushi after, and then we flew home.”
YOEs are an essential part of DMC’s great company culture and allow all the offices to come together and fulfill some of our Core Values – Have Fun and Share Information.
“Why I care so much about YOEs is because we are really big on sharing information, working in a collaborative team, relying on the people around you, and asking for help when needed,” Elizabeth said. “For me, that’s difficult if I don’t know someone – especially for a newer member of the team. [Asking questions] is just so much easier to do if you know somebody as a person, if you’ve gone on a hike, or if they like your dog. I’ve always been a person who attends other YOEs, but it’s fun to be able to return the favor a little bit, pay it forward, and plan one to keep that community aspect going. You’re not just asking someone technical questions. It’s more personal, and I like that a lot.”
While we had the opportunity to personally meet Elizabeth’s dog, I am not the only one who agrees that this YOE allowed us to grow more personal connections.
“I really like going on YOEs because, I feel like, every time I go, I get to connect with a coworker that I don’t normally see on a daily basis,” Aaron said. “Even people that I work with in the Chicago office that I see every day, you don’t get to see them in a non-work context until you get out on a YOE or something. It’s fun to connect and make friends.”
As a newer DMCer, Brian says this YOE proved to him what DMC’s company culture is like.
“I joined DMC in part because of their great culture,” Brian said. “I wanted to meet a bunch of people and immerse myself to see if it was worth it, and it definitely was. It’s cool that we’re at a place that promotes things like this, puts their money where their mouth is in terms of the great culture that they have, and [has] just a bunch of friendly people who made enough of a first impression on me that I will travel across the country to go hang out with them.”
Without a doubt, the second Seattle YOE was a fun, impactful, and memorable event!
“I think it was a great success and everyone had a fun time,” Michael said. “I can’t wait for when we do it next time.”
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