ANNOUNCEMENT: LEGO Ambassador Network

 

ANNOUNCEMENT:

The LEGO Ambassador Network will go LIVE November 1st, 2014

The LEGO Ambassador program was introduced in 2005 and has gradually evolved over the past 10 years. The LEGO Group considers the close dialogue with LEGO User Group (LUG) representatives globally extremely valuable. Due to the significant growth of the AFOL Community and increased interaction between LUGs and between LUGs and the LEGO Group, it has been decided to change the format of the LEGO Ambassador program and rename it to become the LEGO Ambassador Network (LAN). The LAN will continue to strengthen the LEGO Group’s relationship with the global AFOL community as well as provide new opportunities for AFOLs to better connect globally. The goal with the upcoming LAN is to offer LUGs the opportunity to become recognized by the LEGO Group. This recognition will put more structure and focus to the relationship and hopefully provide an even better basis for the LEGO Group to stimulate the interest in the LEGO® Hobby together!

 

A Fresh Start
When the new LEGO Ambassador Network goes LIVE on November 1st every LUG will need to apply for access into the program. This will allow access into the new LEGO Ambassador Network Forum site and 2015 LEGO Community Support Programs. After December 30th, 2014 the current LEGO Ambassador forum will be closed.

 

Documentation
Today’s announcement includes the release of three documents in which the AFOL Community can read and learn about all the details of the new “LEGO Ambassador Network”.
• LEGO Ambassador Network
• LEGO Ambassador Network – FAQ
• LEGO Ambassador Network – APPLICATION – Recognized LEGO User Group
• LEGO Ambassador Network – Release Form

 

 

What’s Next
Applications to sign up as a Recognized LEGO User Group will not be accepted until September 1st. Any questions or applications can be sent directly to the regional community coordinator/manager.

  • North & South America
    • Kevin Hinkle – Senior Community Coordinator
    • Kevin.Hinkle@LEGO.com

 

  • Asia, Pacific, Russia, Eastern Europe
    • Jan Beyer – Community Manager
    • Jan@LEGO.com

 

  • Europe and Online LUGs
    •  Kim Thomsen – Community Coordinator
    • KimT@LEGO.com

 

  • All other regions
    • Keith Severson – Senior Manager, Community Support
    • Keith.Severson@LEGO.com

 

 

 

Below are the list of all files related to the LEGO Ambassador Network

 

LEGO Ambassador Network – Announcement letter

LEGO Ambassador Network – APPLICATION – Recognized LEGO User Group

LEGO Ambassador Network – FAQ

LEGO Ambassador Network – Release Form

LEGO Ambassador Network

EVENT RECAP: BrickSlopes 2014

The South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah; USA.
The South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah; USA.

It’s very rewarding to witness and help cultivate the growth and development of the Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL) Community. One area in which this growth is clearly showcased is in the development and execution of new AFOL Conventions across North America. As such, this month I was given the pleasure of visiting another inaugural event: BrickSlopes 2014 which took place in Sandy, Utah; USA.

As with other AFOL Conventions operating in the North American market, I had been in close dialog with the three owners of this event for several months. These events are supported to various degrees by the LEGO Community Engagement & Events (CEE) department and as such it is my responsibility to manage both the relationship and logistical coordination on behalf of The LEGO Group. I was thrilled to see this new event take shape especially as that area of the United States has not had an event of this caliber before.

I arrived in the area Friday afternoon which afforded me the time to visit with the local LEGO Store after checking into my hotel. This was a great opportunity to touch base with several LBR employees and address any questions, comments and concerns they had regarding the AFOL community. I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that the Store Manager was not there as she was actually at the event with her family! After my store visit, I headed over to the event venue to check in and grab my name badge and credentials. I spent a few hours walking the show floor and engaging with attendees. In the evening, I sat back and listened in on the opening ceremonies.

BrickSlopes public attendance.
BrickSlopes public attendance.

Saturday, a majority of games, activities & presentations were scheduled while the show floor was buzzing with families and public visitors. I took this opportunity to grab some photographs as well as touch base with more members of the LEGO User Group (LUG) community. As the event took place in the beautiful state of Utah, a majority of the attendees were members of the LUG: ULUG. However, there were also members in attendance from SandLUG, SEALUG and the GMLTC.

Enter the Old West.
Enter the Old West.

As tradition, I hosted a presentation in which I detailed the CEE department, and all the programs and support opportunities that are currently available to our AFOL community from the LEGO Group. As a special gift, those in attendance were given one of my elusive Minifigure business cards.

Additionally, I hosted another presentation, which we will be hosting at each event we visit this year, speaking to the LEGO Ambassador Network. This provides some information into what the program is, what people can expect from it, and provide greater visibility to both the program itself and currently participating members. This presentation in particular had two currently active LEGO Ambassadors in attendance: Abney Finley who represents the GMLTC and Quinten Christensen, who represents ULUG. After a rather long and exhaustive day, I wrapped up with a private dinner with all three owners of the event to discuss the future of BrickSlopes.

CEE representative Kevin Hinkle with BrickSlopes owners Brian, Cody and Stephen.
CEE representative Kevin Hinkle with BrickSlopes owners Brian, Cody and Stephen.

One key difference I noted regarding this event was the schedule. Most, if not all, AFOL Conventions in North America follow a notably standard schedule template: Wednesday and/or Thursday through Friday are dedicated to sharing and discussing the LEGO hobby with registered attendees only, whereas Saturday and/or Sunday is allocated to sharing this hobby with a public audience. BrickSlopes 2014, however, was slightly different. Due to the market’s need, the event wrapped up Sunday morning. So this meant only Thursday was dedicated to AFOL interaction whereas Friday and Saturday was open to the public. Although this presented a mind shift for long time AFOL Convention veterans, I felt the change was welcome and refreshing.

BrickSlopes registered attendees displaying a mobile MOC with the public visitors.
BrickSlopes registered attendee displaying a mobile MOC with the public visitors.

I had a wonderful time at this event! This event was well executed and has tremendous potential in the future to provide an awesome opportunity for the AFOL community in the Southwest to come together annually and share their passion for the LEGO hobby. For those interested, I’ve uploaded all the photos I took while in attendance on my Flickr account.

Sound off in the comments if you were in attendance at this event! What were your thoughts?

EVENT RECAP: Philly Brick Fest 2014

The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania; USA.
The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania; USA.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL) Convention: Philly Brick Fest 2014 in Oaks, Pennsylvania; USA. This was the first year for this particular event so I was excited to meet new members of the fan community and see how this event logistically operated in its inaugural year.

As with other AFOL Conventions operating in the North American market, I had been in close dialog with the owner for several months leading up to the event. These events are supported to various degrees by the LEGO Community Engagement & Events (CEE) department and as such it is my responsibility to manage both the relationship and logistical coordination on behalf of The LEGO Group. I was pleased with both the professionalism and enthusiasm I experienced working with the owner of this event before, during and after execution.

Since the event was fairly close to the American LEGO Office, I elected to drive to this event rather than fly. As this was the case, I decided to take the opportunity to invite both my children and wife to tag along. We arrived in the area Thursday evening after about 4 and a half hours worth of driving and checked into the hotel.

Friday morning while the family headed over to a local family fun center, I checked into the event picking up my name badge and credentials. On Friday, the event was only open to registered attendees, so there were a number of games, activities and presentations to visit. I was pleasantly surprised to see so much space allocated to the event with a sea of MOCs (My Own Creation) scattered about. While I wandered about the event I touched base with all four LEGO User Groups that were in attendance and showcasing collaborative displays: PennLUG, DelVaLUG, Steel City LUG and ColonialLUG. This was the first event in which all four Pennsylvania based groups had displayed in the same venue and at the same time. In the evening I hosted a presentation in which I detailed the CEE department, and all the programs and support opportunities that are currently available to our AFOL community from the LEGO Group to a nice reception. Those in attendance were given one of my elusive Minifigure business cards (so if you want one of those, make sure you actually attend one of my presentations!).

PennLUG collaborative display at Philly Brick Fest 2014.
PennLUG collaborative display at Philly Brick Fest 2014.

On Saturday, the event opened its doors and welcomed in public visitors including my family! I was more than impressed with the volume that came out. A quick walk around both the inside and outside of the greater Philadelphia Expo Center easily cemented the success of the event in my mind. There were thousands upon thousands of people flocking to the venue to check out what the event had to offer. In addition to some wonderfully inspirational builds to check out, the event hosted numerous interactive opportunities for public visitors to get their hands on the brick. In the afternoon, amongst a crowded expo hall, I hosted an official Question & Answer session for both AFOLs as well as public visitors. The session lasted an hour and most inquiries were rather common such as “How does one become a LEGO model designer?” and “What products would be coming out in the future?” Of course, most members of the fan community already knew I couldn’t answer that last one. 🙂 This event was also the first opportunity for me to host a LEGO Ambassador Network presentation.

As a priority for 2014, we have decided to host a presentation or session dedicated to this program at each event we visit. This provides some information into what the program is what people can expect from it and provide greater visibility to both the program itself and currently participating members. This presentation in particular had two currently active LEGO Ambassadors in attendance: Jeffery Varrone who represents ColonialLUG and Andrew Bulthaupt who represents the online AFOL media channel: BZPower. My day wrapped up with a private dinner with the event owner to discuss and digest learning’s and opportunities for the future.

Philly Brick Fest public attendance as seen from the Brickmania vendor area.
Philly Brick Fest public attendance as seen from the Brickmania vendor area.
The Master of Masters, The Deliverer of Darkness,  the Shogun of Sorrow: Aku from the animated series Samurai Jack.
The Master of Masters, The Deliverer of Darkness and Shogun of Sorrow.

Sunday morning after breakfast we began our drive back to Connecticut. Overall, I had a great time at this event and was truly impressed both in its administrative and logistical operation and also its volume of public visitation. I thoroughly enjoyed all my great conversations with members of the local community and look forward to seeing continued growth and success from this event in the future. Thank you to all for the warm welcome and reception in Pennsylvania! For those interested, I’ve uploaded all the photos I took while in attendance on my Flickr account.

CEE representative Kevin Hinkle, Benny the spaceman and Chad Collins owner of Philly Brick Fest.
CEE representative Kevin Hinkle, Benny the spaceman and Chad Collins, owner of Philly Brick Fest.

Sound off in the comments if you were in attendance at this event! What were your thoughts?

 

My short but intense visit to Hungary

Yesterday and today I am visiting Budapest, the beautiful Capital of Hungary.
First I had a very productive 3h meeting with the LEGO Hungary Marketing Manager around working with AFOLs and afterwards I had the chance to meet over 30 AFOLs from 5 different LUGs and the 3 Hungarian LEGO Ambassadors! This was a great experience.
We had dinner together and they invited me to see an AFOL exhibition in Budapest which was so great.

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Awesome MOCs (of course there were much more)!

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The 3 Ambassadors (Karoly Kiss, Andras Dorogi and Peter Kovac) and the organizer of the exhibition (Lazslo Uhrovszky).

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We discussed LEGO related things and chatted until late night. So much fun!

Later Andras was so kind to give me a glimps of this beautiful city by night – it was so impressive!

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Thank you very much to all of you – it was a great trip – I will be back!

The LEGO House – BIG MODEL!

LEGO House Model #4 LEGO House Model #3 LEGO House Model #2 LEGO House Model #1

So this Monday we had a visit from DeBouwsteen and while they were here, they had a briefing on the upcoming LEGO House.

As a special surprise we were able to show them the brand new model of the LEGO House.

That is one extraordinary building that I am looking forward to seeing in real life!.

 

Thanks to DeBouwsteen for a great day and for being such nice people. I trust you’ve had some awesome days here in Billund and it seems the weather was kind enough to make the entire trip even better.

Safe trip back home to the Netherlands and I’ll see you at LEGO World in Utrecht later this year.