Live By Chance, Life is Like Vegas

This past week we were down in Las Vegas, Nevada shooting a DaVita (Leading company in kidney dialysis treatment) convention at the Red Rock Resort and Spa. My first glimpse into this tremendously team/family oriented company was an amazing experience. The people at DaVita work extremely diligently and are incredibly generous in every aspect imaginable. As soon as I walked into my hotel room I knew that they wanted to make sure that I felt welcomed. I walked into my enormous room on the 18th floor. The room boasted trendy decor, two queen beds with Egyptian cotton sheets, a well proportioned flat screen in the main room with another in the bathroom and a nice little lounge to relax on while taking in the expansive views of the red rock mountains in the distance. DaVita definitely made sure that I felt welcome.

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The first day “on the job” was spent relaxing by one of the five different pools. 80* sunny weather made it a perfect way to kick off my first job with DaVita. After the laid-back day, we were headed to the first dinner meeting. We indulged on ceviche, sea bass, shrimp fajitas, tenderloin medallions and grilled chicken while discussing the weeks details. I was siked to be working for this company.

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Day two was similar to day one. We had a quick lunch meeting and then had until 5:00 before we were scheduled to start shooting. Another day by the pool wasn’t so bad. The opening night was a cocktail/dinner party held at the hotel’s night club called Cherry. This club had a unique tube shaped entrance that glowed an inviting shade of cherry red. (Side note, the movie 21, card counting movie with Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne and others was filmed at the Red Rock Hotel earlier in the year. There is a shot of Cherry’s signature entrance in the trailer for the movie if you catch a glimpse of it.) The rest of the club was very swank and offered inviting private booths, an outdoor patio, private pool and heated cabanas. We spent the majority of the night shooting the evenings happenings.

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(iPhone picture – Entrance to Cherry)

Day three began with early 5:45 am wake-up call. We were down and ready to work by 6:30, taking head shots of the desired executives. We were finished by 8:00 am. I went back to the room to help process the images. By 9:00 am I was fortunate enough to take a nap while Steve shot the general conference session. At 12:30 we were boarding a decked out tour bus with our grab and go lunches bound for St. Jude’s Children’s Home for a little service project. The DaVita crew spent the majority of the afternoon painting the interior of their main hang out center. When the painting was all said and done we were fortunate enough to have a chance to meet some of the kids that lived at the area. Cordial hand shakes and smiles were exuded by all. The children seemed like they were in great hands and grateful to be there. It was nice to see the efforts of this program up close and in person. After the meetings we headed back to the hotel. When we arrived the DaVita crew were presented with a surprise. That night was to be bowling night. Everyone was put into teams and were given matching bowling shirts color coordinated to their various team selections. The bowling was staged in the Red Rock’s V.I.P. bowling area (just beyond the 60 lane public bowling alley that they had). Finger food and friendly competition gave the employees a nice way to finish a rewarding day.

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Day four was another early 5:45 morning. We shot the remainder of the portraits and were finished again by 8:00. I once again was able to sneak a nap in before the afternoon events. The employees were given three activity choices, 1. golfing, 2. a jeep tour, 3. mt. biking. I was fortunate enough to be paired with the mt. bikers. I had no clue that Vegas had mt. biking near the city. My previous ventures to Las Vegas had me confined to the two mile radius of the strip. Being out at the Red Rock Resort totally opened my eyes to the other aspects of the city. Our venture to the biking trail took a mere twenty minutes. We were in a gorgeously desolate red rock valley out of the site of Vegas. It was really a great experience. I spent my afternoon on a perfect 19.5 Cannondale Rush 4 rallying through the desert terrain ahead of the group of executives. I had a guide mashing in front of me to position me in the more picturesque locations. I would shoot the passing riders, pack the gear and scurry to catch up with the riders again. It was a real treat to be back on the single track. We arrived back at the hotel with a hour and a half before the closing evening events were to take place. There was ample time for me to review the images and unwind. At 6:30 pm dinner commenced. I enjoyed a nice fillet with gorgonzola stuffed mushrooms and leak and garlic scalloped potatoes and various vegetables. After dinner, the CEO, Kent Thiry passed out a series of awards and honorable mentions for stand out individuals who went above and beyond the call of the companies core values. It was a treat to have the insight on how much these employees cared for each other. I have a lot of respect for the DaVita and their values. Wine and gambling ensued once the event came to a close. It was a great way for the week to come to a close.

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Day five I was finally able to sleep and finish packing before I needed to check out. We headed down to the hotel’s fine Italian restaurant for some food before we had to depart. On our walk to food we looked over on the casino floor and saw the cast of 21 being interviewed for the movie extras. I’d always had a crush on Kate Bosworth and now she was sitting 50ft. from me. Not a shabby last day. Next to her was Laurence Fishburne and Josh Gad. After ogling over Kate, I enjoyed a tasty penne pesto pasta dish and a glass of merlot. We got caught up in glamor of Hollywood and missed our shuttle to the airport. To our surprise, the hotel helped us out by sending us in their limo. What a trip. I look forward to the next one.

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(iPhone picture – Kate Bosworth)

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~ by skier2435 on March 16, 2008.

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