Bo knows charity — as well as publicity.
Co-founded by the one-time professional football and baseball star Bo Jackson, Scottsdale-based N’Genuity Enterprises plans a Super Bowl party in Iraq and Kuwait.
The company will be shipping more than 200,000 pounds of the athlete’s signature food to feed and entertain American service men and women.
The firm decided on the party after it was asked by a large contractor in the Middle East to lift the morale of the troops, said Bub Bowen, company spokesman. Jackson has about 160 food products including beef, poultry, sausage, pork, veal and seafoods.
"We are not in the retail outlets, we are in food service outlets," Bowen said. "Most of the product that we manufacture is being provided to prime contractors of the military. Our concentration has been on military and government agencies."
While Jackson lives outside of Chicago, he spends a lot of time in the office, Bowen said. The company began in 1996.
The party will be a nine-day event that will include Jackson at a news conference Jan. 23 at the company’s headquarters . A reception is scheduled for Jan. 27 on Capitol Hill before Jackson and others leave for Kuwait.
While in the Middle East, the team will prepare food, feed troops and, in conjunction with embedded U.S. media, showcase American troops making their Super Bowl picks and sending messages home to friends and family.
Avnet’s chief communications officer, Al Maag, was recently inducted into the Chicago 16-Inch Softball Hall of Fame.
Maag, a native of the Windy City, played 16-inch softball as a child, organized leagues, spent four years making a videotape of softball history and help organize the hall nine years ago.
"Believe me, ladies, kids, everybody in Chicago plays this game," he says.
Most softball in the United States in played with a 12-inch softball, Maag said. Because of Chicago’s small neighborhood parks, the game became enormously popular during the 1930s and 1940s.
"If you had a 12-inch ball, the ball would be flying out of the park so they made this ball just big enough that you could hit it pretty good, a couple hundred feet," he said. "A big guy can hit it about 250 or 300 feet. With a 12-inch ball, the littlest guy I know can hit it 300 feet. You can’t hit a 16-inch ball out. Otherwise, it’s going to go out onto the street or hit somebody’s house or a school."
Maag, 54, recently organized a tournament in Tempe where 24 companies played against each other. He says 16-inch ball is safer than normal softball. "The worst thing that’s going to happen to you is you’ll probably break your finger," Maag says.
Arizona State University’s Mars landing work has produced some creative names after the Red Planet’s features.
Not only did the ASU team dub a short depression a little ways from the Mars Rover as "Sleepy Hollow," but engineer Greg Mehall recently named a chemically interesting rock scanned by the team "Sparky."