By: Jay Gormley at 12:42 pm
DALLAS, TX - Have you ever wondered what it’s like to race against a cheetah? Have you ever soared through the air on the wings of a bird? Perhaps you’ve felt the adrenalin rush of a major earthquake.
If you answered “yes” to more than one of these questions, you’re in rare company; but not as rare as you might think. To fly like a bird, race against a cheetah or rock with an earthquake is all part of the experience at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Nestled against downtown Dallas, the Perot Museum has garnered national attention with glowing reviews among some of the most respected publications in the country. The uniquely-shaped building opened its doors December 1, 2012. The $185,000,000 structure stands ten stories tall with five levels of jaw-dropping, mind-blowing nature and science exhibits.
This article, however, is not just another feature piece about Dallas’ new crown jewel. This is a story about a relationship that falls under the familiar category of “did you know?” So here goes.
Did you know that Time Warner Cable partnered with the museum well before the Perot broke ground? Did you know the museum plays a key role in helping the company meet its philanthropic goal to Connect A Million Minds (CAMM)? Did you know that Time Warner Cable provides dedicated Internet and Ethernet service to the museum? Not an easy task considering the museum is 180,000 square feet. Finally, did you know that Time Warner Cable is the Perot’s largest corporate contributor to the museum’s general operations for education programming?
Time Warner Cable employee, Vickie Yakunin surely knows this. Vickie is Manager of Community Affairs for North Texas and has been there every step of the way; forging the company’s partnership. Vickie knew it was a marriage made in heaven from the start. “At the end of the day, our goal with CAMM is to inspire students to pursue an education and ultimately a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),” she explained. “What better way to do that, then to partner with the Perot,” Vickie added.
This special relationship began well before the museum held the name “Perot.” Vickie became involved in 2009 when it was simply called the Museum of Nature and Science and was housed in a building located in Dallas’ Fair Park. Fair Park is best known as home to the State Fair of Texas, corny dogs and fried Twinkies. Come to think of it, they fry everything at the State Fair.
Armed with Time Warner Cable’s CAMM initiative, the company began sponsoring events and exhibits at the old museum. Soon after, Vickie discovered the museum was looking for a new home, and when she got word that construction was to begin in November, 2009, she knew it was time to take the relationship to the next level. “What better way to make our mark in the city then to sign on and support the new museum,” Vickie recalled.
While the massive structure was being assembled in the public eye, Time Warner Cable was behind the scenes donating both financial and in-kind resources to the project. TWC produced TV spots promoting the existing museum’s exhibits and then provided complimentary airtime to run the ads across the company’s local channel line-up. “It was important for the museum to continue to attract visitors and sell tickets to their existing exhibits and programs while the new facility was being built,” explained Vickie.
The relationship quickly turned into an engagement when the Perot Museum sent out a request for proposal (RFP), asking some of the biggest companies in the world to bid on the job of providing Internet and Ethernet service. “I was really excited when we won,” recalled Time Warner Cable’s, Brooke Lindner. Brooke is an Account Executive and a member of the company’s Business Class team that helped land the contract.
Time Warner Cable faced some stiff competition, but in the end, beat out the likes of Verizon, Tel West and AT&T. Brooke says she was “pleasantly surprised” when TWC was awarded the contract, especially considering that AT&T’s headquarters are based in Dallas.
Both Brooke and Vickie sincerely believe that being a good community partner ultimately made Time Warner Cable the perfect business partner for the museum. TWC’s Jon Gary Herrera agrees. Jon Gary is Vice President of Communications for Texas and says the company has a “genuine” relationship with the Perot Museum. “It’s a true partnership because both parties depend on each other to maximize their goals and objectives together.”
One of the most important priorities that both organizations share is their commitment to inspire young minds in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. “Everything we do in the museum supports our mission to inspire through nature and science,” says Elisabeth Galley.
Galley is Chief Development Officer for the Perot and greatly appreciates Time Warner Cable’s financial support for monthly programs such as Discovery Days, which draws students and their families to the museum on the weekends. TWC is also a sponsor of the museum’s FIRST LEGO League and Engineers Week.
Galley is also quick to point out that TWC’s commitment goes beyond the financial realm. She applauds the time and effort donated by Jeff Greenberg, Regional VP of Marketing for Time Warner Cable’s Business Services. Jeff sits on the museum’s advisory board, while Magesh Srinivasan volunteers for the Perot’s technology committee. Magesh is the VP of Commercial Engineering for Business Class.
It’s no wonder that the relationship between the museum and the company is now stronger than ever. In fact, Time Warner Cable recently hosted an interactive party in December, 2012 at the museum to showcase its Signature Home products and to further its ongoing CAMM efforts. The company also presented the Perot with a $25,000 check in support of the museum’s educational outreach programs.
The future looks bright for this partnership. Time Warner Cable has committed nearly $400,000 in cash and in-kind resources to the museum over the next two years. It’s certainly proof that the nature of a great relationship starts with the simple science of finding the right partner who shares the same dreams, goals and aspirations.