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SJE Rhombus's 'iron' employees build mini golf course

A putter strikes a ball, sending it up a ramp made from a house gutter. The ball drops into a sink, down the drain and across a rug into a plywood box. It's gone forever, until -- by some mysterious act of fate--or just skillful engineering--it r...

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A putter strikes a ball, sending it up a ramp made from a house gutter. The ball drops into a sink, down the drain and across a rug into a plywood box. It’s gone forever, until  -- by some mysterious act of fate--or just skillful engineering--it rolls out of a hole, onto another piece of gutter and across another rug, landing in a kid’s toilet. And that was just the first hole at SJE Rhombus’s EOAC (Employee Ownership Activities Committee) mini golf event.

The company kicked off SJ month in June, which celebrates the anniversary of their employee ownership, and an employee-built mini golf course was one of their chosen activities this year.

One of the other eight SJE companies--the one located in Plymouth, Minnesota--successfully built an inside course back in January, which is where the Detroit Lakes company got the idea.

“We had no idea how elaborate our team would get,” Natasha Nodsle who chairs EOAC, said.

The company broke up their employees into nine groups and each was tasked with building a hole. The only stipulations being they had to use SJ company duct tape. The employees took off with the idea, building a course that took roughly 45 minutes to get through.

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“These guys have spent a lot of time on it,” Executive Administration Assistant Brenda Houts said. “People had to carry chunk after chunk after chunk out here (onto the SJ lawn) to get them set up,” she laughed.

The company made the event a contest, casting ballots for whichever hole they believed was the best, and the competition was steep.

“Pretty much every group had an engineer or some type of designer--mechanical, electrical person,” Houts said.

Some of the holes required electricity because teams had rigged different electrical parts to make pieces of the course move or to make a beeping noise when the ball went into the hole.

“They have sensors, so we make control panels and alarms, and then they have reconfigured these sensors, so when you land in the hole the lights and alarms go off,” Nodsle said.

One hole had reconfigured a MySpy, placed stacks of paper and dangled a mouse to make the course more challenging.

“We just try to make if fun and just try to add some obstacles,” Nodsle said, adding that most of the parts are scrap pieces from the company and a few items were brought from home.

Another hole featured a cardboard box with cutouts. Golfers had to launch their ball up a ramp and land it into one of the holes.

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A few holes featured cardboard cut-out heads of people from the company.

“That is Carl. He is the focus factory leader for the switch side, so that is a supervisor,” PCA Alarm Focus Factory Leader Stacey Hunt said as she enjoyed the course. “His people probably helped build it. He probably had a little bit of input in it.”

As for what the company plans to do with the holes they built, “they’ll probably get repurposed,” Nodsle said, but they might do an event like this again and leave the holes up for a longer time, since the response was so positive.

“At 11 o’clock it was just packed--the whole yard was filled...It’s been really fun to hear the cheering for the people that have got a hole in one,” Nodsle said.

The employees were pretty pleased with their hard work, and excited about the event.

“It’s fun. It’s nice that SJ goes and does fun things like this for their employees. It’s a beautiful day out, and it’s great to have a little fun and see all their imaginations getting put into a golf hole,” Hunt said.

Related Topics: SJE RHOMBUSGOLF
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