Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – John Quill

Congratulations to former Gentle Giant all star John Quill on his selection to the US Eagles Rugby squad to play a number of international games this fall.

From USARUGBY.ORG

BOULDER, Colo. – Men’s Eagles Head Coach Mike Tolkin has selected 35 players to be available for at least one of the team’s four matches in the month of November, including the historic match to take place Nov. 1 against the New Zealand All Blacks.

The Eagles will begin the November Tour against the All Blacks at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., before heading to Europe. Romania will host the first match of the European leg at Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf in Bucharest Nov. 8. Tonga awaits the Eagles in their next match at Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester, England, Nov. 15, before they head to Stade de la Rabine in France for a match against Fiji Nov. 22.

Though the match at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., is not scheduled within the IRB’s end-of-year-test window, USA Rugby and Premiership Rugby reached an agreement for the release of Eagles playing in the Aviva Premiership. Tolkin will welcome Northampton Saints Cameron Dolan and Samu Manoa, Newcastle’s Eric Fry, Leicester Tiger Blaine Scully, and Saracens’ Hayden Smith and Chris Wyles in Chicago. The six Premiership players will return to their clubs following the historic match.

Thretton Palamo, also with Saracens, will be available for selection for the Eagles’ matches against Tonga and Fiji.

Other capped, overseas Eagles playing in the British Isles selected for the November Tour include Tim Maupin – who had been training with Trinity College prior to joining the Eagles Select XV at the 2014 IRB Americas Rugby Championship earlier this month – John Quill, Brett Thompson, and Tai Tuisamoa.

Scott LaValla will be available for three of the Eagles’ four matches, including the final match in France, where the lock plays for Stade Francais. The French contingent on the team will also be bolstered by the return of Taku Ngwenya, who has not suited up for the Eagles since the IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Qualifier series against Canada in August 2013. Ngwenya’s Biarritz was relegated from the Top 14 last season.

“Taku is always a threat when he’s on the field,” Tolkin said. “He rejoins the squad and a good group of back-three players. I think he’s really excited about it and enthusiastic so he’ll have a lot of energy.”

Another capped Eagle who will make a return to the team following a lengthy spell away is Mate Moeakiola, who plays for Castenet in France. The prop made his Eagles debut in the team’s opening night loss to England at IRB Rugby World Cup 2007, during which he scored a try. Moeakiola’s 26 caps also encompass three matches at the World Cup in New Zealand in 2011.

“We had intended to bring [Mate] on to other trips over the last two years and, both times, he got injured before he come on to the tour,” Tolkin said. “This is kind of a chance for us to see what his form is like. With Titi [Lamositele] being out, losing Eric [after the All Blacks match], and Shawn Pittman retiring, it definitely left a little hole at prop. It’s an opportunity for a veteran who’s a good prop to work with some of the young guys, as well.”

Olive Kilifi and Nick Wallace, who started all three matches at the ARC in October outside of hooker Phil Thiel, are available for the full tour. Davenport University’s Angus MacLellan will travel to Europe with the Eagles, while Ben Tarr will stay with the squad throughout the assembly. Both young front rowers saw playing time in Canada and will hope to stake a claim for a Rugby World Cup spot with impressive November performances.

“We took five props on this tour, including Eric against the All Blacks, so we can give them four weeks of good training time with the Eagles at this level of rugby,” Tolkin said. “It will be great for them. We’ll see how they develop and what kind of progress they’ve made, and we’ll see if they’re guys we want to keep in the system.

“It’s not going to be short-term with them, but this will be a great month of evaluation and growing.”

A first cap could be handed to Greg Peterson, who, at just 23 years of age, has one cap with NSW Waratahs in Super Rugby and will be with the team for the three matches in Europe. The lock represented Australia at the 2011 IRB Junior World Championships but has expressed his interest to play senior-level test rugby for the United States.

Peterson’s father Kevin played American football for Northwestern University and the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys, while his grandfather was a rugger.

“Greg and the Eagles have been speaking for a while and we’ve had a couple of attempts to have him at camps that weren’t able to come off because of his contract obligations,” Tolkin said. “We finally have a chance to bring him on board and have a look at him heading into the World Cup year.”

In all, 16 players called for the November Tour played together at the ARC, where the Eagles Select XV defeated Canada ‘A’ and Uruguay to finish second for a second consecutive year. Tim Stanfill scored four tries on the wing in two starts, while Troy Hall provided cover at full back in all three matches.

“The guys grew a lot between each game,” Tolkin said of the ARC. “I thought that they learned from the previous game and brought a better performance each time they played.”

In Tolkin’s first 16 months as head coach, the Eagles played Fiji, Romania, and Tonga at least once. Tonga defeated the Eagles in November 2012 before Tolkin’s side earned a 2-1 tour record with a defeat of Romania a week later. Tonga also visited StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., last year during the 2013 IRB Pacific Nations Cup. The loss at home was followed by a loss to Fiji in the same competition in Japan.

Ranked 12th, 16th, and 13th, respectively, Fiji, Romania, and Tonga will aid the Eagles’ World Cup preparations.

“Getting more familiar with the teams above us [in the rankings] always helps improve your performance,” Tolkin said. “We hope to take the lessons we learned in our last few games and bring them into these matches in November and build from that.”

The All Blacks are also ranked ahead of the Eagles, as well as every other union, at No. 1. The Rugby World Cup champions will bring their marquee brand and style of play to Soldier Field Nov. 1 to kick off the Eagles’ November Tour. The anticipated sell-out will be televised live in the United States on NBC. A pre-match show will air on Universal Sports at 2:00 P.M. CT before the live telecast on NBC begins at 2:30 P.M. CT. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 P.M. CT.

The Eagles have not played New Zealand since the 1991 World Cup, and have only hosted a senior test side from the Land of the Long White Cloud since 1980.

“After you play a game like the All Blacks, it’s an emotional high,” Tolkin said. “The fall from that is always a concern. I am concerned about our guys keeping the focus and not dropping down too far emotionally, but what will help us naturally is that there will be a lot of guys getting an opportunity after the Premiership guys leave.

“That energy of guys trying to put their hand up and get a spot on the Eagles will help us a lot.”

Metropolis coach Nate Osborne, a member of the Eagles Select XV coaching staff at this year’s ARC, joins Tolkin’s staff for the November Tour as an assistant coach, replacing Billy Millard. Millard leaves his Eagles post to concentrate on his duties as USA Rugby AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans head coach and High Performance 15s manager.

“Billy came into the Eagles setup a year ago and slotted in very well, bringing great experience, expertise, and professionalism to the squad,” Tolkin said. “We have accomplished many positive things over that period, and Billy was a big part of it. The HP role is one that is vital if we want to continue to develop, and I know he will do a great job there. I look forward to continuing to work with Billy, albeit in a new capacity, to improve our standard of play in America.

“He’s a good rugby man, he works hard, and he’s a good addition to the squad,” Tolkin said of Osborne.

For more information on the match at Soldier Field, visit the USAvAllBlacks website, and get USA Rugby updates on Twitter and Facebook throughout the assembly.

Busy Weekend for the Gentle Giant New York Moving Team

This past weekend, Gentle Giant’s New York movers were busy assisting two wonderful organizations with their banner events of the season. Throughout the weekend, Gentle Giant moving crews went up to Sleepy Hollow in Westchester County to load and deliver materials for Saturday morning’s spooky Sleepy Hollow Halloween 10K and to mid town Manhattan to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge to load up hundreds of boxes of supplies and collateral for Sunday’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in both Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Take a look at some of the great photos from both events!

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Tad McCrea

Dreams: A Year of Alpine Adventure

“To live the dream, sacrifices must be made and hardships overcome.” After suffering from a case of frostbite, Former Gentle Giant Seattle crew chief and current American Alpine Institute instructor and guide Tad McCrea took to the mountains for some recovery. This short video represents a year of adventures that helped McCrea live the dream.

 

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Kris Walker

Gabe Duquette and Kris Walker rep GG at New York's Mega Mixer 2006.

For this month’s Gentle Giant Alumni Bio, we will learn more about Kris Walker, Master Crew Chief extraordinaire and first New York regional manager.

## Life At GG

I first heard about Gentle Giant from some rowing friends the summer before I planned to move to Boston, and was looking for a job to get established there.

I started on September 10th, 2001, and my first move was on Sept 11th (the infamous 9/11). On Dec 29th, 2007, I left the New York branch to pursue a career in software.

I worked out of the Gentle Giant Moving Company Boston location through 2003, then the Needham location through 2004. From there, I started the New York regional location and worked there through 2007.

My favorite Giants to work with included Jeff Green, Harris Rappaport, Noah Duarte, Jake Zoller, and many more.

Kris and Tom O'Gorman at the Boston Marathon Finish Line

My favorite part of GG was the camaraderie between everyone working on the crews. We worked together, dined together, and played together.

My most challenging job was hoisting an armoire to a 3rd floor window in Charlestown. I’m sure there were many more jobs that were more challenging than that, but I only remember them from time to time. Honestly it’s been easiest to remember the great customers and coworkers I met.

## Life After GG

I’m a software engineer, and I build high scale web systems for some awesome clients including Warner Brothers *Lord of The Rings*, League of Legends, Samsung, Apple, and more. I work for a small, extremely talented company of close friends called MadGlory Interactive (madglory.com). We’re like the early Gentle Giant of web software :-)

Gentle Giant taught me the value of great teamwork, and what good management really is. It also taught me how great it is to have awesome customers. I’ve tried to build every business I’ve been a part of since GG as a business that is designed to find and work for great customers where we can do our best work.

Kris on top of the world

My second career is mountaineering, so I’ve been to a handful of really awesome places. I’ve climbed in Alaska, the North Cascades in Washington, British Columbia, The Rockies in Colorado, and a bunch here in the Northeast as well.

I grew up in Cortland, NY, attended Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, and currently live in Poughkeepsie, NY (but moving to Saratoga Springs, NY  soon). I was married in 2004 (when we moved from Boston to NY), and had our first son in 2009. Our second son was born in 2012.

In addition to mountaineering I still row, and play golf in the summer.

Gentle Giant Moving Company Races Up Boston Place!

Gentle Giant Moving Company, an award winning Boston moving company, will apply their 34 years of experience running stairs on the job to the American Lung Association’s “Race Up Boston Place” Fight For Air Climb this Saturday, February 1st at 8am inside One Boston Place (BNY Mellon Center at One Boston Place, 201 Washington Street, Boston, MA). Fight for Air Climbs take place in cities across the country in skyscrapers, stadiums, and arenas and are unique fundraising events for the American Lung Association.

This unique “vertical road race” challenges teams of all types, including firefighters and EMTs to raise awareness and funds for the Lung Association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. The more than century-old charity hopes to raise close to $400,000 at the Race Up Boston Place event this year to help fund research to treat, prevent, and cure lung diseases and support efforts including clean air and tobacco control advocacy; asthma education for families and schools; and smoking prevention and cessation services.

Since 2007, Gentle Giant Moving Company has assembled record setting teams consisting of employees of all ages and backgrounds ranging from movers, to salespeople, and department managers. This year, the local and long distance moving company has assembled a nine person team that has already over 50% of their $1000 fundraising goal. Gentle Giant Marketing Specialist and Race Team Captain Niles Kuronen is proud to help contribute this amount to the nearly $10,000 the company has raised for the American Lung Association over the past six years.

“At Gentle Giant Moving Company, our employees care a lot about health and fitness, community involvement, and blasting up stairs,” explains Kuronen, “which is why we love being involved with the Race Up Boston Place stair climb.”

Gentle Giant has a slight advantage at the Race Up Boston Place, because running stairs has been at the core of the company’s culture ever since Founder and CEO Larry O’Toole created the tradition of taking every new hire to the Harvard Stadium to run the stairs of all 37 sections at the Stadium.

This Saturday on race day, each team member will run up all 789 stairs of the 41 story building as fast as they can. The top five individual times from each team will comprise the team’s total time. If Gentle Giant records the fastest team time this year, it will mark the 8th year in a row they have finished as the fastest overall team. At the end of the 2013 Race Up Boston Place, Gentle Giant recorded the fastest team time and the top individual male time.

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Hillary Saeger

This month on the “Moving On” Gentle Giant Alumni Bio Blog, we are featuring multiple medal winning rower and former Packing & Prepping Specialist Hillary Saeger, who worked out of Gentle Giant’s Headquarters in Boston.

LIFE AT GENTLE GIANT

Hillary crushing the erg at the C.R.A.S.H.-B. World Indoor Rowing Championships

How you heard about Gentle Giant? I heard about GG through [Gentle Giant Founder & CEO] Larry O’Toole, who is my (favorite) uncle.

Date started/Date ended: I started in 2007 ended in 2008. During my time at Gentle Giant, I was part of the Pack & Prep crew. It was our job to make sure residences were all packed up before the big move day.

Locations/Regions worked out of: Gentle Giant Headquarters in Somerville, MA

Favorite Giants to work with: I worked with many different people on the job each day and each had a different background and interesting stories to tell about themselves.

Most challenging job: I always thought the most challenging jobs were in apartments with very little space on the top floor with lots of valuable things. It was essential for our pack crews to be flexible and creative in packing places like that to make sure everything was prepared properly and safely.

Favorite part of Gentle Giant: For me, meeting new people on the job with the crew and the people I would be packing for was my favorite part of my time at Gentle Giant. Going somewhere new and seeing different and unique places was interesting to me.

LIFE AFTER GENTLE GIANT

Your career now: I worked in finance at MIT for a while, and now I coach rowing to High School boys

Hillary (far right) representing Gentle Giant Moving Company at the 2011 World Rowing Championships

How did working at Gentle Giant help you develop personally and professionally? Working with different people almost every day at Gentle Giant helped me learn how to work well with various personalities in a challenging environment. I also learned how to deal with customers during a period that can be stressful for them as they move.

Countries/Landmarks/Attractions traveled to: I have been to many countries in Europe and have recently traveled to South Korea.

Hobbies/Sports Played/Interests: I have been on the US Rowing National Team 4 times. I have been in the Lightweight Women’s Quad in Poland in 2009, Slovenia in 2011, Bulgaria in 2012 and South Korea in 2013. I have won bronze in 2009 and 2011 and have won silver in 2013. I am continually training to one day making it to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Gentle Giant Moving Company and the Boston Bruins Deliver the Goods!

Gallery

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Throughout this past holiday season, Boston moving company Gentle Giant Moving Company again joined the entire Boston Bruins roster for the Boston Bruins annual Holiday Toy Delivery. The first part of this year’s event took place at the Target in Everett, MA on …

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Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Olympian Dan Walsh

Walsh on the river, demonstrating the perfect form that made him an Olympic Champion

This month on the “Moving On” Gentle Giant Alumni Bio Blog, we are featuring 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist and Master Mover Dan Walsh. Dan’s accomplishments make everyone at Gentle Giant so proud, and we are privileged to have worked with him during his world class rowing career.

When did you start your career at Gentle Giant Moving Company?

I started with Gentle Giant the summer of 2000 while I was in summer classes at Northeastern University. Dave Lister and Rob Leaver came to the Northeastern Boathouse when I was a freshman to talk about the opportunity to work at Gentle Giant.  It was instant connection to the NU Rowers since NU rowers started GG.

What brought you to Gentle Giant?

It was a really simple decision:  I was able to make good money on my schedule, the work was compliment to my training, and to me hard work is fun.

Dan on the water in his spiffy Gentle Giant rowing uni-suit.

What GG location did you work out of mostly? And with who?

I have only worked out of [Gentle Giant HQ in] Somerville, the GG original.  My training was with Rooty and back then that meant going to homes where the furniture had to be problem solved.  I remember getting into a box truck with the big dude who is a living GG legend.  The only thing bigger than Rooty was his smile to the guys in the truck and the homeowners. 

There was a dresser that was 4 times as wide as a normal dresser that NEEDED to go into the master bedroom.  The crew on the job was at a stalemate with the staircase and a sharp turn along with freshly painted walls.  Rooty takes out the measuring tape, checks the dresser, ceiling, stairs, doorway, hallway, looks at me as says “Think you can lift that end?”  Not like I really had a choice, so I listened to his instructions, straight pick here, coffin carry there, lift a bit higher, and lower your end. BOOM dresser is in the bedroom, no scratches, breaks, or tears. 

What was your favorite part of working at Gentle Giant?

That’s easy, the people!  It’s a great group of smart people who really enjoy life.  Giants have big hearts and great stories, there is never a boring day on the trucks with the right group, never a bad day with a good crew, and there is always a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Dan with his crew members pose with Oprah Winfrey

What in your past prepared you to become a successful Gentle Giant?

I was a Division I rower for Northeastern University so I had the fitness, but that was always tested when I had 4th floor walk-up to another 4th floor walkup with Tommy Travers.

Who did you look up to at Gentle Giant and why?

Rooty Leonard because of the way he treated his fellow Giants and interacted with the customer. The guy is a Zen master with so much strength.  To be that strong and gentle is truly an art.  Also, Tom Travers because of how much he drives his crew and makes you earn your stripes to be a “stair guy”. 

What was the toughest piece you ever moved? How did you do it?

The toughest piece was one of those wooden playground sets in a back yard.  It was a house to house and they were on the same street with two houses in between them.  The job was going over time and we didn’t have the tools to take it apart so we decided to just carry it across the back yards.  We got permission from the neighbors, walked to the playground set and of course it was settled about 8 inches into the ground.  The 5 of us each got under a support beam and squatted, dead lifted, or pressed this thing out of the ground.  Well now it was out of the ground so we start carrying it across the yards not realizing there was a 3-foot retaining wall between the last two yards.  So one more time we got grips, used some muscle, and pressed the playground up over the wall.  The Giants got it in the back yard. 

Was there something you learned at Gentle Giant that helped you achieve success at the 2008 Beijing Olympics?

Pushing through the work will have a positive outcome if you are all in it together. 

What advice could you give current Giants about pursuing their own career goals?

Nothing in life worth doing is easy. If it was everyone would be successful.  You need to be the main driver in your life and cannot wait for something to fall into your lap.  You need people to help you along the way but they are more willing to help if they see you pushing yourself.  

Describe your career now, and what your goals for the future look like.

I am now a Division I rowing coach for my Alma Mater, Northeastern University.  I believe I want to stay in the coaching field and be a head coach one day. 

Dan and Tyrone

Have you/would you recommend Gentle Giant as a good place to work, and why?

I would never hesitate recommending GG to someone I believed had the ability to follow in the footsteps of Giants.  I would not recommend it to everyone; it takes special people who have strength physically, mentally, and emotionally.  The customer needs to see all three of those on every job.  Not everyone is cut out for that.

What are your hobbies, interests, or passions outside of Gentle Giant?

I like to be outdoors, making ice cream, and helping others achieve their goals. 

Tell us a little about your family and where you live:

I grew up in Norwalk, CT the youngest of 4.  I now live in Watertown with my beautiful wife Keri and our dog Tyrone.  

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Jim Ladio

Jim (4th from the Left) with his lightning fast Syracuse University Crew Team

For this month’s “Moving On” Alumni Bio, we’re going to find out more about Jim Ladio, one of the most fun loving young Giants we’ve worked with in recent years.

How You Heard About Gentle Giant - “From (incredibly handsome Gentle Giant Moving Company legend) Mitch Curtis! We were playing softball and Mitch mentioned Gentle Giant to me while he was hurling softballs in his trademark short shorts. Then, when I came back from a wilderness certification and self-sufficiency program in Washington State, he set me up with an interview. If I would have never left my corporate finance desk to become a wild man of the woods, I would have never found GG and I would be less of a human as I stand here now.”

Gentle Giant Tenure - September 2010 – January 2013

Locations Worked Out Of – Somerville, Franklin, Marlborough, Acton

Favorite Giants to Work With – “Greg Larson, Jeff Pope, Pat Andrus, Nuno Melo, Tom Travers, and everybody else who would get mad if i didn’t mention their name.”

Most Challenging Job – “It was an average day moving pianos with Pat when we suddenly realized a job had been left off the schedule. We had to get a massive concert grand rental (sitting quietly at another location across town) to Harvard University (back across town in the opposite direction) for an important alumni banquet, and we had about half the time we normally would have needed to get it done. 1 hour and 20 minutes later, we had the 9 footer carefully wedged into the food services elevator at Harvard after Pat pulled the entire thing in by himself, leaving tuna tartar and beef carpaccio scattered on the ground from zooming past the slow-moving caterers. Up it went and out onto the stage with 3 minutes to get tuned and ready. All set after 2 minutes, 1 minute to spare, with no one the wiser!”

Favorite part of Working at GG – “The immensely positive feeling of a day’s hard work… every single day on the trucks.”

Best Score – “The brand new king bed that I sleep on!”

Jim won Allie's heart in Italy by wearing GG gear

LIFE AFTER GENTLE GIANT

Where Traveled To - “2.5 weeks on a whim to Ireland, Germany and Switzerland for one amazing trip. Then, left for Italy for 6 months to volunteer on a 1,200 acre honey, olive oil, and cattle farm in the heart of Tuscany.  http://www.barbiallanuova.it/  Check it out!”

Jobs Had – “From Italy to California, I’m now working with The Organizer Guys http://organizerguys.com/ in the Bay Area, putting the skills I acquired at Gentle Giant to great use.”

What Does Your Future Hold – “I’m hoping to help propel this company to greater heights, which may include developing a mutually beneficial relationship with Gentle Giant’s San Francisco Moving Company Great Giant at the same time.”

How Has Gentle Giant Helped You in Your Career – “I’ve never worked harder in my life. GG pushes excellence, perseverance, and personal growth in their Giants through teamwork and a commitment to providing an elite, customer focused service. Moving furniture is only a part of what Gentle Giant does. They’re in the business of empowering men and women to lead a purpose filled life. The recognition they give for hard, challenging work will do that to you.”

Gentle Giant Moving Co.’s Restoration Team Brings Longfellow to Life!

Gentle Giant Moving Company‘s Restoration Team, also known as Gentle Giant Restoration, recently completed a job that will have fans of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow jumping for joy. As you can see from the video, when the Longfellow bust came in, it was in rough shape and in dire need of restoration. GGR Master Restorer Rob Parmenter spent weeks working on this, and we have the time lapse video documenting his hard work.

Check it out here and make sure to turn on/up your speakers to hear the cool soundtrack: