Picture this. A taste of what *I* imagine Heaven is like – in Columbus, Indiana! Who knew? It was certainly a surprise to me. I mean, sure, I expected to like the place. But I didn’t expect to LOVE it as much as I did. And our tour guides were simply the best! Thanks, guys. We really appreciate everything you did for our benefit!
Backtracking a little bit – here’s the full story:
Getting to the ABC Expo in Louisville involved me flying in and out of Chicago. Since Darren was making the trip by car, he was kind enough to offer me a ride. We decided that since we had to drive past Dorel’s HQ in Columbus, that we would try to make an appointment to stop there on the way back. We missed the big grand opening celebration of their new Technical Center for Child Safety back in September 2010, and we were eager to check the place out.
We were joined by Alisa Baer (aka Car Seat Lady) and her partner, Emily Levine. From the moment we arrived, it was clear that this wasn’t going to be the standard nickle tour. They even had a personalized sign to greet us! That was a nice touch. Hopefully they didn’t use it as a dart board after we left! LOL!
The Dorel Technical Center for Child Safety serves many purposes, not just for Dorel and their employees but for the surrounding community as well. This new facility centralizes much of their North American product development, bringing R&D and technology together under one roof. The Technical Center encompasses everything necessary to conceive, build and test car seats in one ultra-modern, state-of-the-art facility. The common area and conference room also accommodates local civic groups. The center even provides a permanent carseat inspection station for the community!
Perhaps one of their greatest accomplishments is what they don’t contribute to the community [landfill]. Dorel is now a zero-landfill facility and I think that’s pretty damn awesome!
After I started writing this blog I decided it was way too much to try to cover all at once, so this will be is Part I and I’ll follow up with Part II and maybe even Part III if necessary. There were certain things that we weren’t allowed to photograph (and we can’t talk about them either but let me just say that the future is going to bring some incredible innovations in child occupant protection), but I took pics and/or video of almost everything that wasn’t off limits.
Let’s begin with the reception area when you enter the center. The first thing that catches your eye is the prominent display of Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 fashions. We were told that these are “original Dave Taylor designs”. Dave Taylor is President and CEO of Dorel Juvenile Group, USA. I think Mr. Taylor has a keen eye for fashion! Too bad the buyers from BRU and BuyBuyBaby would never order these because they’re actually fun and cool. I really like 3 out of the 4. And even the one I don’t really care for is still better than having another coma-inducing combination of black and gray. Whaddaya think?
Next up, the conference room. Where various Dorel seats were displayed. I took pics of anything that caught my eye.
In the next corridor there was a little trip down carseat memory lane. Dorel, you’ve come a long way baby! Actually the whole industry has and I feel privileged to have witnessed much of the amazing transformation that has taken place in this field over the last 2 decades.
Part II of this blog is posted HERE.