Out of Focus: Cashiers

By Kellie Groover

In the Fall of 2018 the Focus Lab team ran away to the mountains for a week-long company retreat to Cashiers (pronounced Cash-urs), North Carolina. It was a week spent away from the office where we were able to kick back, relax, explore, and enjoy each other’s company amidst the beautiful mountain scenery.

On Monday the crew rolled in, some kayaking occurred, and Erin coordinated a stellar taco bar to welcome all the weary travelers. We wrapped that up with some bonfire time and a restful night, with that peaceful quiet you only get in nature.

Tuesday was affectionately termed Adventure Day — with canopy ziplining and white water rafting at Wildwater Chattooga. First we raced down ziplines, then enjoyed our picnic lunch (with a stopover at a nearby apple orchard where we tasted some delicious, fresh mini-apple pies). Once we got back to Wildwater, it was on! Our river guides were awesome, and although it got hairy, it was very satisfying to conquer Bull Sluice, the Class 4 rapid. Amazingly, no rafts capsized!

We took it easy that evening, settling in to celebrate our patch ceremony. Team members are nominated for patches for a variety of reasons: upholding our company values, supporting their team mates, or going above and beyond, just to name a few.  The highlight of the ceremony is the coveted “Gold Standard” patch. The recipient is chosen for embodying all of the Focus Lab standards and values. This quarter’s lucky recipient was none other than JT Grauke! Way to be awesome, JT.

Wednesday was a rainy day, so most of the team relaxed and started the morning slow. Once the rain let up, some of the ladies decided to hike Nantahala National Forest to Whitewater Falls — while many of the guys ventured over to Cherokee, NC to visit the Casino. SPOILER: No money was made.

That evening we met back up at the guys cabin for dinner and trivia hosted by Will Straughn’s alter ego: Bobby “Big Show” Dilla. The powerhouse trivia team of Chase, Alex, and Joshua destroyed the competition. Their award? Gold hammer pants and hats.

On Thursday, some of the team took it easy while the rest went off to hike Whiteside Mountain. It offered some of the most stunning views of the entire area. Overall, it was a wonderful week with some of the greatest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Thanks, Focus Lab, for another memorable retreat. Till #OutofFocus2020!