STAFF MEMORIES


Work hard, play hard. At the Thunder business office, one more entry is needed: laugh hard.

Collectively, we share a commitment to the Thunder mission to build, enhance and sustain a professional, fan-oriented organization that provides an engaging NBA experience, first-class guest service, and meaningful community. That commitment is unwavering. The fact we get to carry out this mission in such a fun, collaborative culture makes it that much more rewarding.



TEN YEARS, TOGETHER


We came together in a hurry, blending backgrounds and work experiences to form the foundation of the Thunder family. Thirty business staff members recently celebrated 10 seasons together with this on-court photo and framed personal jersey to commemorate the milestone. “ ‘I love us!’ is something I say about our office and organization a lot,” said Katrina Wiley, director of Human Resources. “We are a unique bunch that comes together frequently to celebrate birthdays, milestones, life’s big moments and the occasional happy hour!”

TEN YEARS, TOGETHERPhoto by OKC Thunder



SOUTH BEACH, HERE WE COME!


SOUTH BEACH, HERE WE COMEPhotos by OKC Thunder
Riding the wave of joy with the Thunder being in the NBA Finals, rumblings of an all-staff trip to Miami where the flight and game tickets were already paid for started circulating the office. Late in the week, a meeting was called where the official announcement was made: we were going to Miami!

On June 17, the staff boarded charter buses in downtown OKC that Sunday morning and headed to the airport. After arriving in Miami, another set of buses took us to South Beach where we were dropped off for a day of fun in the sun. From there, Joseph Crall (front-end web developer) and I embarked on our first mission: find wifi. There was still pre-game work to be done for the website, but we didn’t care. Albeit laptops open, we were at South Beach with food and beverage on the table, sun aplenty and the ocean breeze hitting our faces. Life was great, but the basketball fan in me was eager for what was coming later.

Later that afternoon, the business office held a staff happy hour at the Conrad Hotel. There, tickets were handed out for Game 3, but there was also a raffle drawing for an upgrade to sit just a few rows behind the Thunder bench. It may sound cliche, but it was true – I had never won a raffle, of any sort, in my life. I was just happy to be there. Little did I know the day would become even more exciting. I WON! I actually won a ticket upgrade!

The seats were fabulous, literally five rows behind the Thunder bench! Even at the Thunder games, I work in the press box during games, so sitting in the middle of everything was a unique, amazing, yet intimidating experience. You can really feel the entire home crowd on top of you. We cheered loud and proud, but after a back-and-forth battle, our guys came up just short in a 91-85 loss.

It was a disappointing flight home, but one that we were all very reflective on of what had just happened. We had flown to Miami and attended Game 3 of the NBA Finals for free. None of this needed to happen or was expected from anyone, but it showed an appreciation to everyone on staff for the work that’s put into the business. We were all very grateful.

The rest of the series did not go the way we wanted, but that day will live forever in the lives of all who went. To this day, it’s still surreal that this actually happened. It was a quick trip, and still a little blurry because it all happened so fast, but it’s something I will always cherish. —Matt Bishop, Web & Publications Coordinator

miamiPhotos by OKC Thunder



‘TEAM JANE’


The Thunder has had a close working relationship the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure for years, signing on as a sponsor and also providing entry fees for employees who want to run or walk in the annual fall event. In October 2011, the event struck a personal chord for Thunder staff members, nearly 100 of whom pulled together to form ‘Team Jane’ in support of co-worker Jane Stanford and her fight.

‘TEAM JANE’Photo by OKC Thunder

‘TEAM JANE’Photo by OKC Thunder



SURE BET: PONIES AND FUN!


Worn out by the heat of summer parties, the Thunder human resources team came up with a new tradition to bring that fun, festive energy indoors: A Night at the Races. Held every August at Remington Park, the annual celebration brings staff members and their significant others together for a fun evening of food, drink and prizes and also includes a how-to-play-the-ponies session.

SURE BET: PONIES AND FUN!Photo by OKC Thunder



STAY IN YOUR LANE: JINGLE BOWL BASH


No annual event creates more excitement in the office than our annual Christmas holiday party – Jingle Bowl Bash. The Thunder secures Heritage Lanes each December for a private afternoon event that includes food, drink and prizes. Staff members are randomly placed on teams about a month before the event and work together to come up with team names and costumes or T-shirts to match. Prizes are awarded for top male and female bowler, highest-scoring team, best team name and best team spirit.

STAY IN YOUR LANE: JINGLE BOWL BASHPhoto by OKC Thunder



ALL OUT FOR HALLOWEEN


Coming together as a group is a hallmark of the Thunder staff, especially for holidays. Halloween is one of those annual dates that never disappoints. Employees are encouraged to dress in costume for work, with prizes awarded for the best individual, small group and large group costumes. In the afternoon, staff members’ families are invited to join in on the fun and trick-or-treat throughout the office.

ALL OUT FOR HALLOWEENPhoto by OKC Thunder



COMING TOGETHER AS ONE


Working together on a project to improve our community is a privilege, one we do not take for granted. In April, the entire organization – players, coaches, executives and staff from both the Thunder and the Blue – assembled at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma to pack meals, package dry goods and fill boxes with food. The previous year, the same group effort was used to bring some much needed updates to Westwood Elementary. Other notable projects in years past that brought the staff together include a Habitat for Humanity home build, a day of service to recognize the Oklahoma Standard and assisting tornado disaster relief efforts in Moore.

COMING TOGETHER AS ONEPhoto by OKC Thunder



MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY


We love tradition at the Thunder, almost as much as we love bacon! What better way to combine the two than over breakfast? We have two annual breakfasts: the start of the season, when the executive staff dons aprons and chef’s hats to man the serving stations (oh, those looks from below our walkway in Leadership Square!) and the end of season breakfast, a formal affair held at Vast with our chairman, Clay Bennett, to recognize the work that has been done and needs to be done in the coming months. There also is a monthly breakfast, held the third Thursday of every month to introduce new employees, highlight new initiatives and continue to build the camaraderie that is so important to our culture.

MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAYPhoto by Zach Beeker/OKC Thunder



TAKE US OUT TO THE BALL GAME


Traditions are big at the Thunder, especially in the off-season when evenings are (mostly) free. One of the more popular outings is our annual Thunder Night at the Ballpark, where staff members and their families come together for a food-filled night of socializing at an OKC Dodgers game.

TAKE US OUT TO THE BALL GAMEPhotos by OKC Thunder

TAKE US OUT TO THE BALL GAMEPhotos by OKC Thunder