Luc – Stijn – Silke
3 people on a
14 day trip taking
11 flights (2 transatlantic and 9 local) and rented
6 different rental cars good for a total 1369 miles,
9 different hotels and hitting
13 different USA States for
21 interviews and meeting
39 people in total.
Januari 12th. Early Sunday morning leaving for our transatlantic fligh to Newark, NJ USA. The starting point of our two week trip, meeting with important contacts of the industry that helped us to put Cartamundi on the map over there.
Day 1 – Monday Jan 13th 2020
After a courtesy visit to an old contact of the tarot world last night, we are heading towards to Seymour, CT to meet with one of the oldest USA clients, Caspari, Mr. Doug Stevens, owner of the company, for whom we already make playing cards, that he sells together with his high end paper gift products, worldwide. Amazing tour of the factory.
Day 2 – Tuesday Jan 14th 2020
Parker Brothers and MB, later all Part of the Hasbro organisation, were very important partners for Cartamundi in the early days. Who would be better positioned, then the former employees, Jim Engelbrecht and Fay Salt (ex Parker) and Stephen Baker (ex MB) to comment on what Cartamundi meant for them at those times ? We brought them together and had a wonderful meeting full of hartwarming stories.
In the evening we met with Mr. Monopoly, Phil Orbanes, and his son Philip Orbanes, now of Winning Moves USA. The perfect story tellers for a great evening. His wife Glenna used to work as a secretary and receptionist in our Cartamundi Kingsport TN plant
Day 3 – Wednesday Jan 15th 2020
Transfer day ! From Boston we flew to Cincinnati, OH, to meet the first ever employee of Cartamundi USA, Richard Dewert, and the longest working colleague of Cartamundi USA, Mike Szul. Our former competitor, USPC (United States Playing Cards) now recently part of the Cartamundi group, was their neighbour and former employer of Richard.
Day 4 – Thursday Jan 16th 2020
Brings us to our 8th state on our trip : we drive to Indianapolis to see Mr. Chip Voigt from Fundex before, publisher of the world famous card game “Phase 10” ! Our trip continues and brings us to the windy city tonight, Chicago IL.
Day 5 – Friday Jan 17th 2020
Talking about an industry icon : Joe Cusimano, former owner of International Games who put “UNO” into the market worldwide, with a little help of…. Cartamundi.
Day 6 – Saturday Jan 18th 2020
We managed to get out of snowy Chicago and traveled to Montana where Dave Jackman lives, with his wife Glenna. Dave was also part of International Games, Glenna was in the beginning secretary and receptionist in our Cartamundi plant in Kingsport Tennessee.
Day 7 – Sunday Jan 19th 2020
After our interview of Dave and Glenna Jackman, we will have a long traveling day towards Los Angeles. Watch out West Coast, here we come !
Day 8 – Monday Jan 20th 2020
Today we visit our design center in Hollywood. After that we see Fred Malmberg, ex owner of Target Games for whom we made collectibles (eg Doomtrooper) and board games ( amongst which Outburst).
Day 9 – Tuesday Jan 21st 2020
Today a visit to Konami – Mrs. Yumi Hoashi iis planned. With Konami we do have a fantastic collectible client, and Mrs. Hoashi is responsible for all business worldwide outside Japan. A red eye fligh will bring us to Seattle.
Day 10 – Wednesday Jan 22nd 2020
Wizards of the Coast (Wotc) day ! Our guide Tom Wanerstrand gave us a tour of the offices and we got a warm welcome from many Wotc people we used to work with and that are still around.
Next stop was our design center in Seattle, that wotks closely together with Wotc. Fantastic partnership with Wotc there. After a live performance on Peter Atkison’s Gencon TV Firetalks, we met with most Wotc founders and early day coworkers at Mox Gamecenter in Ballard (Seattle) – they continued their first day stories when we all gathered for diner.
Day 11 – Thursday Jan 23rd 2020
Transit day to Charlottesville Virginia to meet up with Pete Fenlon.
Day 12 – Friday Jan 24th 2020
Meeting with Pete Fenlon who is at this very Moment CEO of the Catan Studios, but a long time ago a good client with their Middle Earth collectible card game (Iron Crown) and before that even through Mayfair. After we did the interview, we headed back to Washington DC for our return flight to Brussels.
After a very long but a very hartwarming and so interesting trip, meeting all these former and current USA based industry icons, we are exhausted, but so pleased with these people’s testamonies that were all so thrilling. One thing is sure, Cartamundi helped them major way to make the difference, not to speak of the ever lasting personal relationships, or better friendships.