First Line Technology rewards employees with fishing trip and seafood feast

September 22, 2013

Company: First Line Technology.

Location: Chantilly.

Employees: 9.

First Line Technology’s latest company fishing trip got off to an early start. Employees and their families met at the firm’s Chantilly headquarters at about 6:30 a.m. to hop a rented bus for a two-hour drive to the Chesapeake Bay. They passed the time on the ride with breakfast and mimosas.

When the group reached the Maryland shore, they boarded a chartered fishing boat and spent the day out on the water together.

“It’s team-building. It’s to kind of get everyone to know each other’s personalities outside the office,” said Jennie Williams, First Line’s marketing manager. “But it’s also definitely a reward for hard work.”

The timing of the annual trip is designed to follow the company’s May-to-June busy season, when the manufacturer and supplier of emergency response equipment typically visits a glut of trade shows. Late summer, Williams said, makes for a good time to treat employees to a day of relaxation.

Out on the boat, First Line’s team and their families got help from the ship’s first mate to reel in dozens of rockfish. When they returned to shore, the captain and first mate filleted their catches so the staff could bring them home in coolers.

After a long day out on the boat, the group gathered at Jetty Dock Bar for an all-you-can-eat crab feast, complete with fresh seafood, corn on the cob and hush puppies.

Chief executive Amit Kapoor got the idea for this event when he and Vice President Randy Sakowitz went fishing together during some down time on a business trip in Florida. They talked at length about business strategy, but they talked about personal topics, too.

“We thought, man, if we could have our employees, our team, do this, wow, we could really change the dynamics of the office,” Kapoor said.

Kapoor said these activities have helped draw shy employees out of their shells and have made junior staffers more at ease with the leadership team.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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