What's with the Firepole at BizStream?

By Josh Trench On December 11, 2018

What's with the Firepole at BizStream?
As you wander around our building you will see many awards, pictures, and decorations that give you an idea of BizStream’s history and culture but there is one item that may not be as realized as the others in the lore of BizStream. If you have ever taken a tour of our building here in Allendale (Virtual Tour) then you are most likely aware that tucked in the back we have a fully functioning firepole connecting the upstairs Dev Loft to our Kitchen Area.

The First BizStream Firepole

Traditionally, the firepole is a tool or method for firefighters to respond to calls quicker by decreasing the time it takes to get to the ground floor of multiple story fire stations. Their use dates as far back as the 1870s and is still in use by many stations today. The BizStream firepole has only been in existence since 2014 but in spirit goes back to the early 2000s! Today it is just as much of a reminder of the hard work that it took to get BizStream where it is, as it is used for its functionality. How then did BizStream come about having a firepole? Who better to answer that than the owners of BizStream:
“Mark and I wanted to install a firepole in this office as a reminder of where we started (Engine House 9 on 527 Leonard NE). It's fun to think about how far we have come from the 2-3 person company to now. Plus it is a heck of a good story and a great way to get downstairs to play some Foosball.”
- Brian McKeiver, Co-Owner

The Deeper Meaning Behind the Firepole

In the grand scheme of things to take any Company from a start-up to owning its own building and then to say “Yep, I want a firepole!” is no easy task and takes years of hard work. One of the benefits of that hard work is that our firepole gets used daily and is always a highlight on the tour, usually with wide eyes and a “Wait, you have a…” Some of the more adventurous on our tours even give it a try right then and there. It is also not uncommon during some of our internal events or BizStream Academy for there to be a steady stream of kids going up the stairs and back down the firepole. For those who visit and work at BizStream, it is seen as a cool addition to our “work hard, play hard” space, which it is!

Here at BizStream outside of my main duties, I have been known to moonlight in helping keep our “work hard, play hard” space up and running. One of those duties includes making sure that the firepole is kept functioning plus cleaned and polished. So once a year I get out some rags, brass cleaner/polish and a ladder to do just that. As a former firefighter, it is an honor to perform this duty as a reminder of my dream’s of the past that are now blended with another going forward!

Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of the history behind that firepole and how it relates to the journey BizStream has taken over the years, starting with our original roots at the historic Grand Rapids Engine House No. 9 (now home to The Mitten Brewing Co.)

If you ever find yourself at BizStream in the future, please stop and take a moment to reflect on the time and hard work it has taken and continues to take for that firepole to be standing there!
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Photo of the author, Josh Trench

About the author

Josh hails from the early days of BizStream. Josh was brought back to drive developers crazy with endless screen captures and loads of constructive criticism. When he's not finding software bugs, you will most likely find him running around, making sure our building is in prime condition. Outside of work, Josh can be found, exploring the Grand Rapids scene with his wife, Rori. He also enjoys backpacking, restoring estate pipes, practicing surfing, and finessing his mountaineering skills.

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