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It Takes Balls to Be a Champion!

Posted by Lee Steneken on

…and Jason Wickersham & Chris Russell have balls!!!!


Now in its third year, the Esco Optics Beer Pong Tournament did not disappoint! Held during the SPIE Photonics West Show in San Francisco, California, this annual networking event was once again a huge hit among industry leaders. President and CEO of Esco Optics, Lee Steneken, continues to host this event in appreciation for everyone’s support that was given to Esco after its fire in 2014. Universal Photonics became a sponsor this year and assisted in executing the most successful tournament yet.

With the help of hired security and a DJ to run the floor, everyone was able to enjoy good company, good food, and FREE beer! Eighty attendees watched on as thirty two teams tried to take down defending champions Jason Perch of SI Howard Glass and Frank Nuernberg of Heraeus. While many teams had their own psych-out techniques; such as arm wrestling, fireball & tequila shots, and exposing fingers through pant zippers, in the end it was Jason Wickersham of Esco Optics and Christopher Russell of Universal Photonics who stripped Jason Perch and Frank Nuernberg of their titles and their belts! Elizabeth Keefe of SI Howard Glass found her way back into the finals, this time with Kerry Scarlott of Baker Hostetler Law Firm. Wickersham and Russell dropped them like a bad habit!


The award ceremony was held at Esco’s booth on the last day of the show with representatives from Paramount Glassworks, Schott, Hereaus, Ohara, OptiPro, A&M Tool, Corning, LaCroix and many others to witness the crowning of the 2017 Champions. And although it was a close battle between Dave Jenne of Corning Inc. and Jason Wickersham of Esco Optics, Jason pulled ahead in the end to became the 2017 Beer Pong MVP!


Esco is proud to have the belt and MVP trophy back “home” and sends its sincerest thanks to all those that helped! The Laurin Family of Laurin Publishing/Photonics Media once again donated noise cancelling headphones to the event. The winner of those, Mike Ogenovsky of Sydor Optics, no doubt had a quieter trip back home (he was sitting next to Naselaris). Steve Rowe is the graphic designer behind the scenes, and he deserves a big “Thank You” for this year’s digital designs and custom artwork for the beer pong tables. Clayton Carpenter of LaCroix Precision Optics is sure going to have an easier time practicing for next year’s event, as he was the raffle winner of Esco’s custom table. We are extremely grateful for the help from the team at Universal Photonics, Jason and Bridget Perch of SI Howard, Kenny Plouffe of Paramount Glassworks, and Diane Schulmerich for everything they do with setting up and breaking down.


This event could never be pulled off without Amanda Farrand (soon to be Steneken!). She is the organizer and director of this event and spends countless hours making sure everything goes off without a hitch. Even more burdensome, she has to keep Lee in line during the planning stages!


Esco is honored to host the best of the best, and we can’t wait for next year! Save the Date – January 29th, 2018!

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