“Good company, good wine, good welcome, can make good people”

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Every year, we gather together the entire team of hardworking Cougar employees — or Cougar Cats, as we call ourselves — from all six of our offices for a day of fun and teambuilding. This year we all met up in Stratford upon Avon, birthplace of the Bard, and, we hoped, the place for us to build upon our culture of comradery.

We started the fun with a treasure hunt around town. The tasks ranged from finding something foreign (one team included a Canadian, and apparently that counts), something educational (the local Oxfam bookstore benefitted from many visits from Cougar teams), and a four-leaf clover (which is where the, shall we say “creative,” arts-and-crafts talents of a few of our Cats came to the fore). One task required “taking a chance,” the result of which was a fabulous video of one of our apprentices aqua planning in the puddles!

Oh yes, the puddles. Despite the sunny dispositions of the entire Cougar community, we did have to dodge a lot of raindrops during the day. It proved serendipitous that many of the treasure hunt’s clues required visits to historic pubs. When the rain became torrential, we could seek shelter, and still be actively participating. The Garrick Inn is one of the oldest pubs in town, and we were pleased to discover it can hold a surprising number of Cougar Cats.

The winners of the Treasure Hunt were the aptly coloured Gold Team, with members: Keld Orum-Petersen, Matt Barkwith, Andrew Little, Janice Lord, Mark Curtlin, Cristina Moreno, Jack Ventham, Lewis Povey, and Andy Rapacz.

Later that evening, we enjoyed a lovely dinner together, then celebrated with our annual Cat of the Year Awards. Each office votes for the person they feel has made an outstanding contribution Cougar Automation’s success over the previous year. This year we congratulate: Mark Best (South West), Martin Bezzant (Hampshire), Shane Hodgson (Yorkshire), Dionne McCullen (Central), David Robinson (Support), Bogdan Sdrobis (Warwickshire), and Vincent Ward (Cheshire).

We also said goodbye to our VINCI director Philippe Guerin, who is moving on to a new challenge, and we welcomed new perimeter director Derek Burton, who we know rather well.

And we’d share more, but as the Bard so eloquently put it: “That which I would discover, the law of friendship bids me to conceal.”