The first day of The TFM Forum/LiveXchange got off to a breezy, yet upbeat start on Sunday, October 18, 2009 at the Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa in Fort Myers, FL. Events for the group began mid-day, with some opting to play golf (see photo below, at right) and others heading off to the historic Edison & Ford Winter Estate (interestingly enough, the tour coincided with the anniversary of Edison’s death–10/18/1931).
Fortunate participants in the estate tour (myself included) were greeted by Brandon Anderson, education coordinator, who immediately took the group through the grove of massive banyan trees and provided a little bit of background about the estate. (See photo below, at left.)
After the group (pictured below) finished lunch, Anderson spent more than two hours taking the group “behind the roped off areas” (as long as we wore blue shoe coverings or went in bare or stocking feet) in the three main properties: the Edison residence, the guest house, and the Ford residence.
While appreciating the historic, aesthetic aspects of the structures, some participants observed facets of the property that the layperson would more that likely overlook. For instance, one guest asked about the fire/smoke detection system in the primary Edison residence, which incorporated the very early smoke detection apparatus (VESDA) supported by a mist/fog suppression system.
Ed Kosmoski, Jr., R.P.A., vice president of facilities for the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care in Cheektowaga, NY, said, “I really enjoyed the tour. I found it very interesting and was impressed by the overall level and quality of maintenance, particularly from a historic preservation perspective. We have a property of this nature in downtown Buffalo, which is why I found this so relevant.”
Shortly after the golf and tour groups completed their outings, the networking reception began. The evening concluded with dinner and discussion, as attendees, speakers, and sponsors refueled and prepared for the start of Monday’s activities.