TESTIMONIAL: Reflections on a meaningful Years-Of-Service Award

Recently, Trophyology created some executive recognition gifts for Corgan, a large architecture firm with headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Corgan employees with 25 years of service were awarded handcrafted wood stationery boxes which we custom-designed specifically for the occasion.

We are so happy that our recognition awards and milestone gifts seem to be truly resonating with their recipients. One Corgan honoree, Vice President David Zatopek, AIA, wrote a note filled with gracious praise that we will always treasure. You can read David’s full letter here. Because he so eloquently summed up our mission to change and elevate the world of recognition, we wanted to share his thoughts with you here on our blog. If you’ll be choosing a years-of-service or recognition award or a milestone gift soon yourself, David’s reflections may offer some interesting points to consider as you make your selection. David opened his letter by describing how conventional awards and recognition gifts often fall short of communicating the sincere meaning organizations long to convey to deserving recipients: “Award recognitions fall most often in the range between tacky and banal. Even recognition of some note causes no sense of expectation on my part. Experience has let me to expect something to hang on the wall, or to collect dust on a shelf or hide in a closet. It isn’t from a lack of trying or heartfelt sentiment on the part of those selecting the award. This is a tough problem to solve: How does one manifest in a material object something as ephemeral as time or service to an organization? How does one impart meaning that transcends merely saying “thanks for what you’ve done”?” We understand the dilemma and it is our goal to raise expectations and help you express gratitude and appreciation with beautiful objects that are eloquent representations of the intent and the honor.

David goes on to explore how the Trophyology stationery box improves upon old ideas of what an award or corporate gift can be.

“A stationery box, in this age of speed and electronic communication — an invitation to slow down, to reflect and offer thanks. And to remember the time in my life that it represents.” As we wrote about last week, the custom-designed and handcrafted stationery box reflects Corgan’s focus on company culture, personal development and storytelling. It is quite the opposite of a one-size-fits-all gift. David also responded to how Trophyology craftsmanship creates meaning. As an architect, he expresses this especially well, but it is something we all respond to instinctively.“It feels right in the hand. The smoothness of the wood is made richer by attention to the values of joinery, fit and finish. It is heavy, substantial; honestly taking its place in time.” He goes on to note how the design of the box makes it an object its recipient can joyfully interact with over time. “It feels right to the eye as well. The overlapping forms reinforce the deep attention to design and craftsmanship. It floats above its footprint, owning its position, yet fitting to its surroundings. It is architecture.”Everything adds up to something that’s at the core of what we do and what we believe at Trophyology: Awards and commemorative gifts are more meaningful when there is a sense of humanity and personalization behind the work. “So perhaps it is not so hard to impart transcendental meaning in an object when it is designed and crafted by loving hands. For an architect, this is something to aspire to, and for that I am grateful.” We are so grateful to David and everyone else at Corgan for the exceptionally thoughtful feedback and for such a satisfying partnership in the creation of these gifts. – Sarah Beckham


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