Celebrating the 10th anniversary of BlueHive
A decade has passed since BlueHive Strategic Environments first burst onto the scene as a New England exhibit house, bringing with it a sense of creativity and ingenuity to the tradeshow industry.
The company’s growth is today evident in the form of a 100,000 square-foot property in Worcester, Mass., with satellite offices located in Portsmouth, N.H., Long Island, N.Y. and Atlanta. The exhibit house also maintains partnerships in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Las Vegas, with a number of connections across the globe.
BlueHive was the brainchild of industry veterans Paul Hanlon, Jack Hally and Jen Landry, a dream team boasting the combined experience of almost a century. The name itself has existed since 2001, the result of a particularly inspirational game of hangman between Hally and Landry, but it wasn’t until 2005 that the BlueHive project took off in earnest.
Meeting in the halls of Clark University, the pair outlined an idea for an innovative exhibit house, constructing a model that combined creative thinking with the promise of longevity. They then proposed the idea to Hanlon, inviting him to contribute his vision and wealth of experience as CEO. Hanlon promptly committed his personal savings to the venture so that the young company would enjoy a flexible and debt-free investment in people, technology and equipment.
“Our concept has always been simple,” explained Hanlon. “By putting our people first, we can ensure that they work with the best vendors, which, in turn, ensures that our clients receive the best products and services available.”
Its resolute commitment to quality and dependability strengthened with the addition of a millwork and retail wing to the company’s headquarters in January 2009. With this move, not only did the quality and the variety of the product improve, but the client experience was greatly enhanced by consolidating the design and construction process under one roof.
“The expansion allowed for a diversification of talent and services, in itself giving a lot more scope to the client and what they could expect,” explained Hanlon. “$1 million of the expansion was invested in computer software linked to production machinery. Designers can now draw a plan on their desktop, have it processed by the computers in the millwork shop, which in turn instruct the hardware to produce the design in 3D… all at the click of a mouse! It’s utterly mind-blowing stuff.”
The company ensures its employees are recognized as invaluable assets by encouraging a workplace with a strong social element. The annual summer cookout is a particular favorite, along with dinner parties and family hockey nights, to create camaraderie among a global mix of employees from as far as Germany and Ireland.
“We try to do as much as we can to give back to the employees,” commented Landry, currently serving as director of account services. “Without their trust and commitment, we wouldn’t be here.”
A sense of society has been part of BlueHive since its inception, and when the company was smaller, every new employee was subject to a ‘honey initiation’ comprised of a number of teambuilding challenges. Today, the ‘Passionate Bee Pledge’ reinforces the feeling of society.
“It’s all there in the name,” explained Hally, the company’s executive vice president. “Blue is the color of creativity while a hive is an environment where everyone works together in a social setting to achieve a final, singular goal.”
This decidedly “apoidean” flavor is found throughout BlueHive, and is part of the brand’s success story to ensure both its people and clients invest in the concept behind the name. The company’s mascot, Buzz, and other marketing campaigns, such as #ImABeeliever, WE. CREATE. BUZZ and #BlueHiveBuzz, all reinforce the company’s core imagery and principles both publically as well as internally.
“We take pride in our brand,” explained Landry. “The only way to ensure this is by bringing to life the vision of our clients; treating them all as if they were the queen bee.”
At EXHIBITORLIVE, which took place March 1-5, 2015, at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, the company was awarded Best of Show Small Booth, an accolade that Hanlon and Landry put down to the delivery of a consistent and trustworthy brand message.
“The bottom line is that our energy and imagination is returned in the form of quality and desirable products, and that our clients are both happy and relaxed,” Hanlon reflected. “Only then will we be able to see another 10 years because we really couldn’t do it without them.”
Ten more years with the promise of many more? It’s time to ‘bee’ part of it.