Byrne Celebrates St. Patrick's Day as a Reminder of their Gratitude
March 16, 2021 @ 1:56 PM
AT BYRNE, ST. PATRICK’S DAY REMINDS EMPLOYEES THAT SURVIVING – AND THRIVING – IS SOMETIMES ABOUT MAKING YOUR OWN LUCK
For many, St. Patrick’s Day means throwing on something green and heading out to raise a glass with friends. But at Byrne, the holiday means more. For this community-centered company, it’s a special day of recognition – an opportunity to show their gratitude for one another and celebrate the hard work and never-quit mindset that are intertwined into the company’s culture. It’s also a day to celebrate the story of each employee while honoring the struggles of immigration, personal sacrifice and outright survival that have been woven into the lives of so many of these individuals.
Norman and Rosemary Byrne, founders of the West Michigan-based electrical company, have always embraced their family’s history, and for Norman, that heritage reaches back to the rolling hills of Ireland. It’s an identity he wears proudly all year long – but when the calendar flips to March, that same energy and excitement begins to build for Byrne employees across the organization.
For the Byrne family of employees, Irish pride runs deep, and the day allows them to joyfully revel in their Irish roots – honorary or otherwise. But the day also speaks to hardships shared, a theme that has only been underscored by the unprecedented events we’ve all lived through over these past months. At Byrne, it speaks to approaching life with positivity and perseverance…even when times are at their toughest.
Byrne’s CEO, Dan Byrne, is quick to ensure that, despite the challenges of the pandemic, this “St. Patrick’s Day will once again serve as a great reminder of who we are, where we each come from, and the amazing things we can accomplish when we all work together.” It’s also a time-honored way for the company to emphasize its profound dedication to Byrne’s family of employees, their customers, and their community – even if they’re celebrating six feet apart these days.
In years past, St. Patrick’s Day has begun early with kiltsmen in traditional dress playing bagpipes and filling the air with the sounds of Irish cheer. All Byrne employees, as well as many vendors and customers, are treated to a breakfast feast including authentic Celtic favorites like bangers and mash. Afterwards, Norm and Rosemary, who have been celebrating the day with their employees since the company began back in 1970, lead a parade across campus to whatever festivities would await. In 2018, it was a spirited battle of the bands allowing Byrne employees to showcase wide-ranging musical skills. The next year, the crowds cheered on nationally ranked strongmen in contests that wowed one and all.
Heather Pifer, a three-year Byrne team member now working as part of their special forces production group, was a big fan of the 2019 event. “The competition was fantastic! A great group of guys and definitely my favorite event so far.” The strongmen, while incredible to watch, were the perfect way to symbolize Byrne’s own strength – both the journey the company has been on over the years and the challenges they’ve overcome.
Not surprisingly, this year’s St. Patrick’s Day will look a bit different with big festivities put on hold until 2022 due to the extensive Covid precautions being taken at each Byrne facility. They are still planning to mark the day with live music and a delicious breakfast – just in smaller, socially distant gatherings. The company’s yearlong celebrations that mark Byrne’s 50th Anniversary year will wait until 2022 as well, but the milestone remains a powerful acknowledgement of all that’s been built over the preceding decades.
Struggle comes in many forms, from the challenges of families separated by war and poverty to friends and coworkers separated by a pandemic. But at Byrne, their tight-knit team understands that the best chance to survive – and thrive – in the face of any adversity is to reach for the strength that lies within each of them…and reach out to the caring community they all share.
Wishing you a very Beannachtam na Feile Padraig (Happy St. Patrick’s Day) from everyone at Byrne!