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Lightning Staff Pauses for Community Time Out

by Lauren Sher / Tampa Bay Lightning
As the page turns to the 2009-10 season the leadership of the Tampa Bay Lightning has been looking for ways to engage the building’s employees and staff in a community initiative which would help bring everyone together as a team. Tuesday morning, as all employees gathered together to embrace the Lightning’s new rallying cry for the 2009-10 season, Together We Will, management found its opportunity.


In partnership with the Mayor’s Beautification Project, more than 140 employees set out behind the St. Pete Times Forum to clean up the banks of the Garrison Channel and the Hillsborough River, giving back to the community and creating staff unity.

“Together We Will means unity, finding success as a group,” Lawton said. “This is not just a campaign or a slogan, it’s a philosophy.”

Along with creating unity among employees, it was a way to build the foundation of the Lightning organization under new ownership. Oren Koules, Owner and Governor, addressed the past season, but looks forward to a bright future.

“This is how we build momentum,” Koules said. “Now we’re on our way up.”

The organization has acknowledged its role in maintaining the environment in the area surrounding the St. Pete Times Forum and the entire Tampa Bay community. Mary Milne, Vice President of Operations, acknowledges the part that the Lightning must play in protecting Tampa Bay.


With the Lightning’s new environmental program, Green Plan, the organization aims to decrease electricity and water needs by ten percent and increase recycling by ten percent.

“I really believe in our environmental program,” Milne said. “In this day and age, the negative ramifications of this business on the environment are substantial. We look forward to not only reducing those effects, but to bringing others with us to do the same good works.”

Vice President of Human Resources Keith Harris was equally enthusiastic and optimistic.

“I think the goal here is to pull our employees together as a team and show our support,” Harris said. “We want to show Tampa Bay that we offer more than monetary support and donations, and this will show them that we do truly care about the community.”

A sea of gray “Together We Will” t-shirts covered the parks in the Channelside District as employees cleaned the area, laughing while working knee deep in sea grasses and mangroves.

“I think today is great for the company, the community and something to look forward to in the future,” Lightning Facility Patrol Assistant Manager Kevin Alexander said. “This shows unity in our company.”

“I think today is a great morale booster and I’m so excited to help the community,” Community Operations Intern Erin Sujansky said. “It’s truly motivational.”

After their work was done Lightning employees sat down for a well-deserved lunch together, sponsored by Cheddar’s of Brandon. The team felt a true sense of accomplishment knowing that Tuesday morning was not only a big step for the Lightning organization, but for its employees and the Tampa Bay community.
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