Jimmy John's Field - Everything Was Ready Except ...

09.06.17   Debra K. Osuch, CPSM, REM | More by this Author

Jimmy John's Field - Everything Was Ready Except ...


  • the untold stories of our passionate people underneath the technical surface;
  • the state of being wrapped up in our projects and the people we serve;
  • the peace of mind given to our clients when we act on opportunities to go the extra mile.


Picture this. It’s springtime in Utica, Michigan. Birds chirping, sun shining, and a gleaming new baseball stadium standing proud. Kayakers, cyclists and runners along the adjacent Clinton River can’t help but feel that longing for America’s favorite pastime knowing that opening day at Jimmy John’s Field is just around the corner. They can almost taste the ballpark hotdogs, hear the crack of the bat, and see the bright lights on the giant scoreboard. They can envision walking up the city sidewalk adorned with spring flowers that guide the way to the park entrance. It was all adding up to be a perfect opening day for the United Shore Professional Baseball League’s (USPBL’s) first independent professional baseball league in metro Detroit. Everything was perfect! Except….

Except for those light poles. Those monstrous eyesores along the city sidewalk leading the way to the ballpark were in serious disrepair with peeling paint. They made a terrible first impression as ballpark patrons made their way to the entrance. The developer and the community had worked hard to transform two unregulated landfill parcels into a $15 million minor league baseball stadium and it was finally becoming a reality. SME’s client, USPBL, was in final stages of preparing for opening day, but the task of fixing up the light poles became a low priority. It just wasn’t going to happen before opening day.

SME couldn’t stand by and let this important opportunity for a good first impression fall by the wayside. We contacted Utica’s Department of Public Works to coordinate an SME-led volunteer effort to fix up the light poles. After receiving the go-ahead, and having the paint type approved, we were ready to begin this DIY project.

It took a team of SME volunteers — Jeff Lanier, Bret Hart, Bryan Bernard and Andrew Brucki — a week to match the paint color and gather supplies. Between the four of them, they gathered and used plenty of supplies from home. Each volunteer was assigned a duty to either prep, clean or paint. The team began working on a weekday starting around 3:30 pm and finishing up at 6:30 pm. One visit, three hours, and four SME volunteers later, ten shiny black light poles stood awaiting a sold-out crowd, changing the whole vibe of the City’s sidewalk. Roughly 275,000 fans walked this sidewalk (twice) last season.

Andy Appleby, USBPL founder and owner of Jimmy John’s Field and City of Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan really appreciated SME taking care of this highly visible issue to ensure a good first impression. Underneath our technical surface, SME is a team of passionate people building and revitalizing our world. Not because we have to. Because we get to. Play ball!

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