How One Downtown DSM Company Activated the Skywalk and Created Their Own Scavenger Hunt
This article is written by Emily Biedenfeld and Emily Kessinger of The Weitz Company:
The Weitz Company, a national general contractor headquartered here in Downtown Des Moines (DSM), recently held a Des Moines Skywalk Scavenger Hunt with a two-fold goal of building relationships between their employees and introducing them to the many skywalk amenities near their downtown office location.
In 2022, The Weitz Company moved 150+ employees from two different Des Moines metro locations to the heart of downtown, 611 5th Ave. Newly renovated and located just blocks from the river, the Knapp-owned property features polished concrete floors, exposed ceilings and panoramic views of the Capitol. Being downtown also offers a variety of perks for employees including numerous walkable lunch options, great views and skywalk access (which comes in handy, especially during cold winter months).
Combining two office locations created a “melting pot” of sorts with many departments such as human resources, estimating, marketing, executive leadership, operations, supply chain and more. Employees who had been working at the company for years but never interacted due to their office locations were now sharing the townhall and exchanging conversations at the coffee machine. This led to natural relationship building, but Weitz’s leadership team was striving for more.
Weitz Team-Building Events
Building on the Weitz Core Value of Respect for People, employees of 611 5th formed multiple “Fun Committees” to arrange events within and out of the office to learn more about one another and have fun with other employees one might not interact with on a regular basis. Past events have included happy hours, luncheon bingo, as well as Weitz team outings at the Iowa State Fair, Big Grove Brewery, Principal Park to see the Iowa Cubs and Smash Park, among others.
In February of 2023, Weitz’s Quarterly Event Committee worked together to plan a scavenger hunt through the Downtown DSM skywalk. Ten activities were set up with specified areas in the skywalk from Wells Fargo Arena to Capital Square, where teams of five to seven people stopped and worked together to complete a team activity. Each station had a few different activities including:
- One-handed cup stacking
- Completing a ‘safety dance’ in Weitz safety gear (a helmet, vest, eye protection, and hand protection)
- Making a hole-in-one in putt-putt golf
- Completing 20 sit-ups, push-ups and jumping jacks
- Stacking hex nuts
- Team balloon walks
- Easy sudoku
- Brain teasers and puzzles
As Downtown DSM visitors, local office workers and walking pedestrians looked on, teams were competitive and proud to engage in the variety of challenges.
Some labor-intensive options were favorited, while other secret emoji challenges or “Where’s Weitz” map of Weitz built buildings were the most enjoyed team activity.
With physical challenge locations set on a map given to all of the participants, they were also given a questionnaire of 20 written questions to answer along the way. The hunt included questions such as “There is a photo mural for ISU and the Ivy School College of Business that pictures the Campanile. What time does it show on the clock?” and “What bridge is depicted in the Operation Downtown photo in the skywalk near the Ruan building and Hyatt Place?”
As the Weitz employees navigated the skywalk, they answered the ‘scavenger hunt’ questions, and received completion stickers for each activity they successfully completed as a team. After completing all 10 tasks, the teams were given the secret location for a happy hour overlooking lots of downtown projects that the company has completed over the years.
More than 60 Weitz employees participated in the fun. The skywalk scavenger hunt ended with a celebration at the Des Moines Embassy Club, on the 34th floor of the Ruan Building. From this unique event venue, our employees were able to reflect on the projects they’ve been a part of over the years in Downtown DSM. In the spirit of ‘activating’ Downtown DSM more and celebrating our people and surroundings, we found this interactive event to be a huge success.
Both Emilys work for The Weitz Company, a national general contractor, construction manager and design-builder that is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. With more than 1,000 employees across the US, Weitz is one of the top 100 contractors in the country and focuses on commercial and industrial construction projects.
Emily Biedenfeld is Marketing and Communications Specialist for The Weitz Company.
Emily Kessinger is the National Business Development Manager at The Weitz Company.
About The Weitz Company: Founded in 1855, The Weitz Company is a full-service construction company, general contractor, design builder, and construction manager that serves all 50 U.S. states. Weitz is one of the oldest general contractors in the United States and an industry leader in industrial construction, senior living, student housing, mission critical construction, virtual design and more. Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, The Weitz Company annually ranks in the top tier of Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine’s Top 400 Contractors and Building Design + Construction’s Giants 300 Contractors lists. You can read more about The Weitz Company at weitz.com.
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