Ronald McDonald House – Helping Families in Need

Ronald McDonald House – Helping Families in Need

Recently, several employees gathered together to help out the local Ronald McDonald House.  The Ronald McDonald house is a place where families of patients who are in the hospital can go to spend the night, have a meal, and rest while they are visiting their family members in the hospital.  The house, located in Falls Church, supports all of the local hospitals and can house up to 8 families at a time.  See more information here.

CC Pace employees prepared a delicious meal for the families and staff including: vegetable beef soup, garden salad, cornbread, cookies and brownies.  In addition, our employees collected a variety of supplies, arts and crafts, and puzzles to go into activity bags for the patients in the hospitals, as well as the family members taking care of them.

Thank you to Beverly, the house night manager, for her help and giving us a tour of this wonderful house.

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Well, it wasn’t actually a food fight with people throwing food at each other in a cafeteria, but rather a Food Fight to Battle Hunger!  Last Friday, May 13th, CC Pacers joined hundreds of other volunteers to help package meals to be sent to starving children around the world.  We participated in a mobile food-packing event sponsored by Feed My Starving Children that provides meals to children in over 40 countries.  The event was held at the Dulles Expo Center located in Chantilly, VA, over the weekend of May 13th through May 15th.  The goal of the event was to pack 5.1 million meals that would feed over 19,000 starving children worldwide for a year.

We started our session with lots of cheerleading from the event coordinators, donning very attractive hair nets, and energizing music to create lots of fun and excitement as we went to our packing stations.  We all had a good time doing our jobs while dancing and singing to “Up Town Funk”, “YMCA”, “Twist and Shout” and lots of other great tunes.

By the end of our session, the CC Pace team had packed 1316 meals and all of the volunteers for that session, packed over 146,000 meals that will feed 402 children for a year!

Thanks to all the volunteers for helping out at this very worthwhile event.  Already looking forward to the Food Fight next year!

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Who doesn’t love to make a night of it and put on some bowling shoes? CC Pace hosted a company outing at AMF Centreville Lanes located just a short distance away from our Fairfax office. We spent the night at the lanes where pizzas were ordered, drinks were poured, and our employees and their families put their best game faces on.

And, who knew the Gordon family (as in Mike Gordon, our President) were such great bowlers? Andrew Gordon, our new resident pro-bowler using his power house technique, rolled the highest score of the evening!  A good time was had by everyone, whether they came to bowl, eat or just hang out for some laughs.  The night was referred to as a “friendly competition” but who are we kidding, bragging rights were clearly at stake!

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In a business world where people are always moving on to new opportunities, what makes someone stay with one company? What makes you say, ‘I think I want to learn and grow with this company’?

This year CC Pace celebrates the 5 year anniversary of two employees, Jenna Bayer and Ashok Komaragiri.  Jenna is our Corporate Marketing Manager and Ashok is a Technical Consultant in our Enterprise Solutions practice. CC Pace President, Mike Gordon, recognized both at our Staff Meeting in March 2015.  He spoke about each regarding their accomplishments and how they have grown over their tenure with the company.  Mike then presented them each a service award and the traditional CC Pace gag gift.  We wanted to find out from Jenna and Ashok what drew them to our organization, what have they learned here and what do they see in their futures at CC Pace.

Why did you chose to join CC Pace?

 JENNA: Ultimately, I was drawn to the culture of CC Pace. I liked the work-life balance they offered and the fact that there were a number of employees who had been there for a decade or longer. At the time of my hiring, I believe the average tenure was around 11 years. To me, that said there were opportunities for growth and indicated that CC Pace must be a great place to work to have such a low level of turnover.

ASHOK: I first heard of CC Pace from a friend of mine who had worked with them very closely on one of their earlier projects. He spoke very highly about the standards set by CC Pace on that project, and the technical skill set they brought with them to the table. My friend mentioned how without ever losing focus on the client’s needs, the CC Pace team always delivered efficient solutions to complex problems. The fact that they were also at the forefront in using Agile Software Development Methodologies greatly caught my attention.  When I was looking for a new opportunity, I was very fortunate that my friend could refer me to CC Pace.

What have you learned while at CC Pace?

JENNA: I’ve learned so much in my 5 years, but I think the most impactful lesson I’ve learned is to not be afraid to take risks or make mistakes. Having the freedom and support from upper management to try things out and really be able to figure out what works, (along with what doesn’t) has taught me more than if I had it all spelled out for me.

ASHOK: The most valuable skills I have learned are the practical application of Agile Methodologies combined with Engineering Practices like Test Driven Development (TDD) and Extreme Programing (XP).

What is one of your most memorable moments?

 JENNA: It’s hard to pick just one, but October 2013 when our new website launched was definitely a highlight. It was my first time working on a large marketing project and I was so excited to be a part of it. It was a much larger project than anticipated, but I learned a great deal and it was a lot of fun to see the final product!

ASHOK: The most memorable moment for me so far has to be when we went live with both the Student Tracker for High Schools Rewrite, and the Student Matching applications at the National Student Clearinghouse. It was very gratifying to hear from a client how we greatly improved their productivity and what used to take them a month to process now takes only a few hours. In our world that is a huge success!

What are one or two of your future professional goals that you would like to achieve while working at CC Pace?

 JENNA: I’d definitely like to see our blog readership take off (shameless plug: if you haven’t subscribed, now would be a great time to do so!) and I am looking forward to being a part of increasing our marketing efforts.

ASHOK: Personally, I look forward to continue to deliver quality projects by always focusing on clients’ needs and adhering to Agile Principles.

As we look forward to seeing what these two accomplished individuals bring to their futures here at CC Pace, we see that having a work environment that encourages growth and learning are strong factors in why employees make the decision to stay.

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pictured: Ashok at bi-annual staff meeting

The answer: CC Pace Technical Consultant, Christopher Soule!  Each year, members of the Fairfax County community are named “Lords” or “Ladies” Fairfax, an honor presented to individuals based on community service and leadership.  These honorees are named by Members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and receive their awards at the start of “Fair Week” each June.

Chris received this award because of his exceptional community service!  He has spent close to a decade as the President of the Jefferson Manor Citizens Association, one of the largest and most active civic associations in the Lee District.  In addition, Chris was named chair of the Lee District Association of Civic Organizations (LDACO).  He also represents the LDACO at the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations.

Chris said he has always had an interest in politics and government. That interest led him to the board of the Jefferson Manor Citizens Association back into 2005. The association acted not only as a community building tool within the neighborhood, but as a bridge with the local elected officials at the county and state level.

If Chris is not busy enough, there is even more on his plate.  As a long-time resident of the Route One Corridor, he is dedicated to revitalizing the area.  Chris recently joined the Board of Directors for the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC), a nonprofit economic development organization that promotes redeveloping and revitalizing the Richmond Highway corridor from the beltway to Fort Belvoir. As a board member with years of experience in the civic association world, Chris has had a front row seat to how contentious redevelopment can be.  He knows it can be easy to lose track of the daily life experiences of communities when redevelopment happens.  Chris hopes working with business owners, developers, and local residents that the Route One corridor revitalization efforts will be understood by all sides throughout the process.

Chris will receive his “Lord Fairfax” award during the Celebrate Fairfax fair being held June 5-7. Now the big decision, should he or should he not add “Lord” to his business card?

You can read more about the “Lord” and “Ladies” Fairfax awards at http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2015/may/20/lord-and-lady-fairfax-crowned/

Hard to believe we are almost through the first quarter of 2015!  Since CC Pace likes to participate in at least one charitable event a quarter we have decided to give back to our four-legged friends.  Homeward Trails Animal Rescue is a non-profit organization that provides adoption in the Virginia, DC, and Maryland area.  They find homes for dogs and cats that were rescued from high-kill animal shelters or whose owners could no longer care for them.

Meet Branson, he is 6 months old and amazingly sweet, he will roll over on his side and show you his belly at first meeting. He is a young boy who will melt your heart and wants nothing more than to find his forever home. Branson is just one of many adorable animals that Homeward Trails has available for adoption.

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The CC Pace team pulled together and we were able to gather various items to help support this organization’s efforts.  There was even talk of a possible adoption.

For more information about Homeward Trails and their mission you can go to http://www.homewardtrails.org/.

Keeping with the giving spirit of the holidays, CC Pace has decided to partner with our neighboring tenant AAA and participate in Toys for Tots. CC Pace tries to give back to the community whenever possible and participates in several charitable events throughout the year. This time of year in particular is a great time to remember those that are less fortunate.  Toys for Tots is a well-known charity that provides gifts to less fortunate children in the community.  The goal of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves is to ensure no child goes without experiencing the joy of Christmas while also bringing a community together to send a message of hope to these children that will help groom them to become caring and productive members of society.  Together, with AAA, we were able to collect over 5 large boxes of toys for some much deserving children. To find out more about Toys for Tots, visit their website here.

In 1970, Father Horace McKenna, S.J. and an interfaith group of priests, ministers, and lay persons founded So Others Might Eat (SOME) to offer food, clothing and health care to the poor and homeless.  CC  Pace has long been a supporter of this exceptional organization; and, CC Pace President, Mike Gordon has been a member of the SOME Corporate Advisory Board for fifteen years.

Each year SOME holds their Annual Dinner Gala and Silent Auction to raise funds for a specific need of the organization.  This year’s funds will benefit SOME’s Capital Campaign to develop a site on Benning Road in DC that will include housing, job training, offices, retail space and a medical clinic. This year’s event was held November 22nd at the National Building Museum with 850 attendees. The evening was full of a very giving spirit with gracious donors and praise for all the important work being done by SOME.  The entire event and silent auction resulted in approximately $1,000,000 of donations.

Highlights of the evening included a touching film featuring Dr. Maya Angelou; and, a tribute to her generous support and contributions to SOME over the years. Each year SOME recognizes members of the community for their outstanding contributions and support with the SOME McKenna Humanitarians of the Year award, this year’s recipients were Ed and Kathleen Quinn. Ed Quinn is the CEO of TW Perry.

Pictured here are CC Pace President, Mike Gordon, his wife Tracy and SOME President, Father John Adams who has directed SOME for more than 35 years.

CC Pace employees recently participated in Operation Gratitude, a program where Halloween Candy, Dental Hygiene items and cards and letters are collected and care packages are sent to the troops.

This year’s program was a great success!

We collected a whopping 37lbs of candy, many toothbrushes, various containers of toothpaste and dental floss and numerous letters and pictures for the troops!

We thank all who contributed and thank all of those that are currently serving and have served our country.  Learn more about Operation Gratitude at https://www.operationgratitude.com/.