By R.V. Baugus
It was with a mix of joy (happy for your retirement!) and sadness (dang, this industry is going to miss you) that news came of the upcoming September 1 retirement of Peggy Daidakis from leading the Baltimore Convention Center after a brilliant career of almost 50 years.
But it was one day years ago at VenueConnect that will always stay in my mind when thinking about my dear friend Peggy.
We scheduled a time to meet at the annual conference away from the hubbub of chatter on the trade show floor and around the concourse for an interview to feature Peggy on the cover of then Facility Manager magazine. I was very much looking forward to sitting down and talking with Peggy as I knew of her years of giving to the association, the industry, and her beloved Baltimore.
We found an out-of-the-way place in the convention center, shared some personal time about life and family, and it was off to the races to conduct the interview. I must say it was one of the more exciting and revealing interviews I have done just for the sheer magnitude of Peggy’s accomplishments at the BCC and being instrumental in bringing tourists to Baltimore’s many offerings.
As I recall, the interview was just shy of one hour according to the cassette before I hit stop. In all candor, I could have listened to Peggy for another hour, but I knew she was not at the annual conference to spend her time chatting with yours truly.
There were — as they say — places to go and people to see, and with that Peggy and I parted. It was a wrap and I was excited to get back home, transcribe the interview, and write the cover feature story.
The day came and I grabbed my cassette, had a blank page on the computer screen ready to type out the interview, hit play … and then a strange thing happened. Nothing. I mean, nothing. I fast forwarded. Nothing. I started over from the beginning. Nothing.
Yes, it was an editor’s cardinal sin, I had not checked the batteries in the cassette before going into the interview. I had basically wasted an hour of Peggy’s time with NOTHING on the cassette. I panicked. What do I do? How do I explain this to Peggy without getting deservedly berated?
I mustered up the strength to make the call, stuttered and stammered myself away, and was beyond relieved when this gentle person said she understood and that we could do the interview again.
From that day forward, every time I saw Peggy at VenueConnect I could not help but think of that day of infamy. To her credit, she never again brought it up, sparing me undue embarrassment.
So, Peggy, if you ever want me to collaborate on a book project or anything similar in your retirement future, I am only too happy. I will even bring extra batteries.