When a client invites you to Panama to go swimming with their fish as a kick-off marketing meeting, a lot of things come to mind: first - a kick off meeting in bathing suits?...Not your average business trip. We quickly discovered that we were in for some interesting experiences, and a little fun too!Open Blue Sea Farms is an offshore fishery of all-natural Cobia based in Panama. For this unconventional meeting, BIGfish set off to the Central American country to visit Open Blue’s facilities and learn about the Company through an extremely up close and personal experience. DAY 1 - Visit to the Fishery The drive to the fishery was a little over 2 hours through the long, winding streets of the rainforest. We conducted our initial facilitation meeting in the car while driving past cattle, dogs, chickens and several other wild animals. Again, not your average meeting. Once at the hatchery we were lucky enough to experience the entire operation from Frye to 150 pound, full-grown Cobia. This day was incredibly productive and our eyes were opened to so many new things. We learned a lot about Open Blue, what it stands for and how it operates. It is working towards fulfilling the industry standard of delivering consistent amounts of fish with ever increasing mouths to feed while still doing what's best for the environment, the local community and of course, the fish. It is an impressive operation working towards an admirable goal that we were lucky enough to experience first-hand. After hours of driving and exploring, the team was exhausted and we settled back into the city for some rest, eager to see what this country would have in store for us tomorrow. DAY 2 - Kevin the Tour Guide The next day we were fortunate enough to explore some other areas of Panama. We hired a tour guide, Kevin (who's real name is Earl but Panamanians have a hard time pronouncing it), who was able to provide us with some amazing insights into the Country and take us to some real cool places. Of course, we started with the Canal. After our day was complete we were tired but in awe of the amazing places we had just explored. In addition to the Canal and its accompanying museum, we drove through the old US military base where John Mccain grew up and went to high school. We took in a breath-taking view of Panama City and The Old City from an elevated location where a huge Panamanian flag flies. We shopped at a craft store full of genuine gifts handmade by native Panamanian Indians. We ate a late lunch/early dinner next to the Presidential Palace in The Old City. We drove by disco alley and Frank Gehry's new masterpiece - a soon to be museum in Panama. Finally, we drove on the causeway that was built with the displaced dirt from the Panama Canal which we took to an island off the coast of The Old City and snapped some photos of the beautiful yacht club at the mouth of the canal. All in all, Panama is a beautiful country. DAY 3 - Monkey Island The final day, before heading to the airport, we made a stop at Monkey Island. We took a small boat onto the Canal towards the Island where we saw some beautiful (and mischievous) monkeys! Next, we headed to the airport, tired but stunned at the amazing country of Panama and the awe inspiring operations of Open Blue Sea Farms. Who knows, we may just need to take a closer look sometime soon. ;)
By Christine Lovallo :: Over the past few weeks, the media has exploded with a variety of opinions and attitudes to hydraulic fracturing - also known as “fracking’’. This method of producing natural gas has received scrutiny across the country due to concerns that it may be polluting the drinking water in the regions of Texas, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. Below are the top news stories discussing the pros and cons of fracking: Wall Street Journal 6/19/2011 Fracking' Disclosure to Rise Fox News 6/20/2011 Many Remain Fractured on Fracking, Even as Texas Passes Disclosure Law The New York Times 6/20/2011 Texas: Drillers Must Disclose ‘Fracking’ Chemicals BusinessWeek 7/7/2011 Official: Ark. 'fracking' disclosure rule success CBS (60 Minutes) 7/10/2011 Energy: The pros and cons of shale gas drilling Philadelphia Inquirer 7/10/2011 Entrepreneur hopes to make money purifying wastewater from gas drilling Boston Globe 7/11/2011 Smart Fracking BusinessWeek 7/11/2011 W.Va. study raises questions about fracking fluid BusinessWeek 7/11/2011 Marcellus shale pros, cons aired at W.Va. Capitol BusinessWeek 7/11/2011 Marcellus fracking foes call for W.Va. moratorium BusinessWeek 7/11/2011 Legal questions raised on NY's gas-drilling rules Colbert Report 7/11/2011 Colbert Report: Anti-frack Attacks The Huffington Post 7/11/2011 Facing Scrutiny, the Oil and Gas Industry Yet Again Resorts to Ad Hominem Attacks and Tantrums BusinessWeek 7/12/2011 Acting W.Va. gov orders emergency Marcellus rules Denver Post 7/12/2011 Study sees more gas, oil potential in west Houston Chronicle 7/12/2011 Another voice: Safe, not sorry, on drilling Houston Chronicle 7/12/2011 Two factors are likely to strengthen support for domestic natural gas in our energy mix Philadelphia Inquirer 7/12/2011 Frack humor falls flat for energy company Associated Press 7/12/2011 Legal questions raised on NY's gas-drilling rules NPR 7/13/2011 As Focus On Fracking Sharpens, Fuel Worries Grow Treehugger 7/13/2011 Fracking Could Damage New York & Pennsylvania Tourism, Too Treehugger 7/13/2011 After Lifting Fracking Moratorium, Will NY Gov. Cuomo Explain Girlfriend's Ties to Petroleum Industry? Fox News 7/14/2011 Energy Company Abandons 24-Page Coloring Book on Fracking Featuring 'Friendly Fracosaurus'