Men’s basketball learns lessons for success from elite team at Nelson Irrigation
Monday, May 10, 2010
WALLA WALLA, Wash. — It was one team learning from another when the Whitman College men’s basketball team visited Walla Walla’s own Nelson Irrigation Corp. in late April.
Nelson is the global leader in planning, designing, developing, manufacturing and selling proprietary products for the agricultural irrigation equipment market.
Nelson, whose slogan is “Innovation in Irrigation,” is a company obsessed with the conservation of water, earth’s most precious element.
All company products are designed to save water and energy while doing a better job of irrigating.
The men’s basketball team took its trip to Nelson with the goal of examining the core values and ideologies of an elite company.
In viewing Nelson as an overwhelmingly successful team in its own right, the players and coaches were eager to find out the details of how the company became a global leader.
Dressed in ties and slacks and armed with pens and pads, the basketball team arrived to a warm reception at Nelson’s Walla Walla campus.
Waiting to meet the team in the parking lot were Bob Rupar, vice president of marketing and Reid Nelson, compay vice president. After introductions, Reid and Rupar led an extensive tour of the campus and facilities.
In spite of business being in full swing, the team was treated to an up-close look at the inner workings of the company.
Rupar and Reid utilized their 35 years of experience to provide detailed examples of the company’s progress from a two-man operation to an industry leader.
The tour took the team through the quality assurance and production sites, where players and coaches marveled at the scope of effort and attention to detail involved in the process of first creating, then testing the world’s most advanced irrigation technology.
Next, the tour took the team to a testing area where they were treated to a demonstration of the most powerful irrigation devices on earth. Players and coaches scribbled notes and watched in awe as Reid demonstrated the capabilities of a sprinkler affectionally dubbed the "big gun" which is capable of projecting water over 100 yards through the air.
The tour concluded with players and coaches being given an &lquo;inside look” at several devices that are likely to become the future of irrigation technology.
Following the tour, Rupar and Reid — already at the end of a long day — spent another 90 minutes around a conference table with the team, giving detailed accounts of how the company achieved its current level of success.
Players and coaches asked a variety of questions, and were given generous and detailed answers. As this Q & A session played out and the day came to a close, the players and coaches couldn’t help but draw parallels to their own goals of building a nationally elite basketball program.
“The benefits of a team of student athletes having the chance to experience, first hand, the inner workings and history of a global industry leader just cannot be overstated,” said head coach Eric Bridgeland.
“We cannot thank Mr. Rupar, Mr. Reid, and everyone at Nelson Irrigation enough for donating so much time out of their very busy schedules to visit with our team.
“The lessons our coaches and players learned through this experience were invaluable, and will directly impact our future growth. What an amazing experience for our program.”