15 Years & Going Strong: The Wednesday Guys
For the last 15 years or so, if you went looking for the crew from the local Florida Power and Light plant on a Wednesday afternoon – chances are, you’d have found them together. These days, you’ll find them holding down the fort at one of the community tables inside Playalinda Brewing Company – Brix Project.
What started as a trio of colleagues coming together to unwind mid-week after work, eventually grew into a cohort of coworkers and a full-blown Wednesday afternoon tradition.
Since 2002, the gang met once a week to share a few rounds of post-work beers. After clocking out of the Florida Power and Light station where they were all employed together, the guys would head to a local watering hole for some camaraderie, conversation and a couple of cold brewskis.
Between them, Fred Stone, John Malphurs, Brian McKeown, Dan Bayler, Ed Karczewski, Danny Quinton and Bill Jones collectively have over 217 years of experience with the Florida-based utilities company. The squad, now in their 60’s and 70’s, has long since hung up their hard hats at FPL.
But nevertheless, their Wednesday afternoon tradition persisted.
“We started out sharing beers and talking shop up the road at Shamrock,” said Stone, who spent 22 years with FPL as a maintenance superintendent.
“These days, we talk about our doctors appointments, our grand kids, and who’s got the best cholesterol!”
Rewind the clock 15 years, and you’d have found Playalinda’s own Heather Hearon shooting the bull and serving up the beers with the Wednesday Guys Crew at Shamrock & Thistle Pub in Titusville. Hearon, now the general manager at Playalinda Brewing Company, was an instant hit with the guys.
“Eventually, as soon as we’d walk in the door, she’d know what to start pouring us,” said Karczewski with a smile, as he sipped his beer.
“I started really looking forward to seeing them each week,” said Hearon.
Apparently, the feeling was mutual.
When Heather announced she had accepted a job with Playalinda, the crew decided to follow her to the brewery without skipping a beat. Just like that, the Wednesday reunion tour had moved to the Hardware Store. Once Playalinda’s second location, Brix Project, opened in September 2016, the crew followed Hearon and relocated again.
Awhile back, the Wednesday Guys came up with a way to work their wives into the weekly rotation. The first Wednesday of the month, the ladies choose the destination, and come along for the afternoon adventure. After facing a few indecisive first Wednesdays, the Guys created a flow chart to help with the decision process. Obviously, you can take the left-brainer out of the process-driven environment, but you can never take the process-driven environment out of the left-brainer.
Over the course of a decade and a half, a lot has changed for the Wednesday Guys. The venue has shifted. The conversation has evolved. Hair has gotten whiter, and the beers have gotten better. However, this crew coming together to spend time with friends at their favorite local, place … that part hasn’t changed a bit.
Cheers to the Wednesday Guys, and their dedication, loyalty & friendship
Written by Michelle Mulak