Surprise 30th Anniversary Trip Takes 1,030 UCG’ers to San Francisco



Contact: Nancy Becker
11300 Rockville Pike Suite
1100 Rockville, Md. 20852-3030

ROCKVILLE, MD, September 19, 2007 – UCG today officially disclosed to the media the spectacular details of its 30th Anniversary Company Trip to “Somewhere.” Details of the trip, by far the most elaborate and complicated of any of the previous six trips that UCG has orchestrated to celebrate its amazing growth, had been kept secret for the two years it took to plan the surprise adventure.

A total of 1,030 UCG employees and guests made the all-expenses-paid trip to San Francisco, but were not told of their destination until they were on the plane, just hours away from landing. They spent the full Labor Day Weekend treated to world-class celebrity entertainment, exclusive tours of the City, fine dining and a magical excursion to Napa Valley wine country.

“The Trip to Somewhere, which we take every five years, is our special way of celebrating our success and thanking our employees and their significant others for their contribution to building a great company,” said UCG co-founder Bruce Levenson.

The logistical challenges of the trip were staggering. They were handled by four sworn-to-secret staffers in UCG’s internal conference-planning department under the direction of UCG veteran Julie Upton. Moving 1,030 people to one location -- the historic Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco -- from UCG’s seven offices on both Coasts, and then home again, involved chartering several jets, clearing airport security checkpoints, anticipating emergency needs, police escorts through San Francisco for 24 buses and more. On top of planning the transcontinental travel for a thousand people was coordination of tours, entertainment, lodging and meals during the stay in San Francisco.

“Looking back, it was a pretty amazing feat of project management and my team thrived on the excitement of the challenge,” said Upton.

 Here are just a few of the highlights of the trip:

• An exhilarating sunrise hike across the Golden Gate Bridge.
• Private tours of Alcatraz, the famous Muir Woods redwood grove, and the Sausalito shopping district.
• Chinatown walking tour, featuring an authentic dragon dance, dim sum for lunch and a visit to the world’s leading provider of fortune cookies.
• Sunset cruise of San Francisco Bay aboard a paddle-wheeler, taking celebrants underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, a rare and awe-inspiring view.
• The big gala event, with comedian Dana Carvey from Saturday Night Live and the Grammy-award-winning Pointer Sisters performing exclusively for UCG.
• A private wine-tasting and dinner at Napa Valley’s premier Rubicon Estate, owned by Francis Ford Coppola. Live jazz, harpists and tours of the wine caves round out the experience.

 “The impression this trip has made on our employees is nothing short of awesome,” said UCG co-founder Ed Peskowitz. Here is what one UCG employee, Esther Oakley, a 29-year-old I/T manager posted in her blog about the trip: “Being taken care of all weekend. Treated like someone really important. Feeling truly appreciated for what I do here. Feeling part of something bigger than myself, something exciting. Knowing that I work for people I can truly respect and look up to. I feel like I'm on another planet, and I am not ready to go back to the one that represents my normal life. This was so incredible, and I can't remember the last time I felt this way. This is what it feels like to be truly happy. I'm floating on air.”

“Several reporters who are writing articles on company perks have called to interview me about the company trip. I point out to them that we don’t view the trip as a perk. It’s a UCG tradition, a way of expressing our gratitude and celebrating success,” said UCG partner Dan Brown, who joined UCG in 1983 as a journalist. “Sure, the trip is bound to help with recruitment and retention – and we do use it as a chance to ask spouses of our employees how we can improve the company -- but what strikes me most is how the trip changes the world view of so many people, broadening their perspective, how it connects co-workers in ways that aren’t possible during a 50-hour week and how for some employees who are going through tough times in their private lives, the trip is a reminder that good things can and do happen.” UCG’s five-year anniversary trips have taken place in New York City, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, and Marco Island Florida.

Founded in 1977, UCG is one of America’s leading, privately held providers of specialized business-to-business information. UCG’s portfolio is composed of companies serving the information and software needs of decision-makers in health care, oil & energy, high technology, telecommunications, banking & finance and the mortgage industry. UCG employs 700 people. Its headquarters are in Rockville, Md., but it also has offices in Boston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Seattle and Minneapolis. The company has received many awards for journalistic excellence and was recently voted one of D.C.’s 50 Best Places to Work, by Washingtonian Magazine.

 Photos of the 30th Anniversary Trip are available to the press on request.