Ann Brett Gillespie Strickland, General Manager of Bulldog Sports Properties
Collegiate sports are definitely something that runs deep in the culture of the South. The state of Mississippi is certainly no exception to this axiom. A perfect example of this fanatic behavior can easily be found on the campus of Mississippi State University in Starkville. On any given game day, cowbell carrying, maroon wearing Bulldog fans show up in droves to cheer on their Dawgs to victory, regardless of the sport! MSU is of course well known for its traditional SEC sports, such as basketball and football, but they also have a rich history in baseball, as well as other sports. In addition, because of the town of Starkville and how the campus is laid out, MSU has many fans that visit multiple sports venues and events on a regular basis. With all of these events and passionate fans showing up in mass, the logistics of “game day” can be quite challenging to pull off.
Take for example, on any given Saturday for an SEC football game, there are many things to move around and get into place, so timing and efficiency is crucial. Maneuvering heavy loads through a maze of campus-sized roads filled with students, faculty and fans, quickly and efficiently can be challenging at best. The facilities crew were faced with many challenges and were looking for the right solutions to help them orchestrate all of their events with precision, so that their fans would not even notice all of the behind-the-scenes goings-on. Enter The Lilly Company. Lilly was able to offer several pieces of equipment that would help in various ways to eliminate the logistical issues facing them on a crowded campus. First, the Toyota forklift was introduced to help with all the moving of larger loads to and from the various venues. From the basketball arena to the baseball complex, and even to the football stadium, the Toyota forklift serves many functions and is in use multiple hours per day.
Jim Gaskin, Coordinator of Athletic Facilities states, “Everything we do here is all about timing. Just a simple lift from the forklift can save us from having to move something 20 times by hand. You have no idea what time that saves!” He continues, “I’ve been working with forklifts for around 20 years and the Lilly-Toyota brand have really blown away each and every other brand of lift I have ever been on.” Ann Brett Gillespie Strickland, General Manager of Bulldog Sports Properties tells us that “the Toyota forklift is used in a variety of ways to help improve our timing and solve heavy lifting needs. They help make the Mississippi State game day experience be the one that everyone wants and is expecting.”
In addition to the forklift, Lilly helped solve some TV and broadcasting related issues by offering a rough terrain scissor lift and a small, fuel efficient LSV (low speed vehicle) to the fleet. The scissor, which can serve several functions, can be regularly seen behind the outfield wall as a television camera platform. The Vantage LSV is used quite frequently to take camera and other broadcasting equipment to and from various fields, and because of its small footprint, it is much easier to maneuver around campus.
Strickland affirms that “On game day, when our fans come into the stadium, their experience is made possible by our partnerships like the one we have with The Lilly Company and Toyota!”