Utah company blows up car upon meeting sales quota

By Lynn Debruin

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, July 19 2011 9:06 p.m. MDT

Employees of Adaptive Computing blowing up a boss' car at a gravel pit in Spanish Fork earlier this month.

Associated Press

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah-based computer company that has seen explosive growth in the past decade figured a little more gasoline on the fire this week couldn't hurt.

That's why officials at Adaptive Computing blew up an old car driven by a boss as reward for employees who met a massive sales goal.

"It was fun," said Rick Josephsen, the company's vice president of human resources.

He said the 1995 green Mitsubishi was the butt of jokes in the office and a rallying point for the Provo-based employees.

Company president Michael A. Jackson declined to reveal exact sales but said the team achieved more than a 50 percent increase from the previous year.

He called it a major achievement for a company that started in 2001 with two brothers. Jackson said Adaptive Computing now has 130 employees.

One of the vice presidents, however, was still driving the beat-up-old Mitsubishi. It leaked oil, but the frugal sales exec was still attached to it, until employees convinced him to blow it up if they met their quota.

Josephsen has a background in Hollywood special effects and rigged the car with gasoline and black powder. He exploded it in a nearby gravel pit, to cheers of more than 100 employees and their families.

The explosion created a fireball 20 feet wide and 60 feet high.

Company officials coordinated with the Spanish Fork Fire Department, which used the stunt as a training exercise.

At a time when the movie "Horrible Bosses" is premiering in theaters, Jackson said the company likes to do things that create an enjoyable work environment. He said monthly company lunches include the showing of light-hearted videos that spoof managers and let people see their less formal sides.

So what's on tap for next year if another major goal is met?

Josephsen said a lot of ideas already have been submitted, including those to blow up Jackson's car, and the old trailer that the original company started in before hitting it big-time.

"In the end we'll engage everybody out there and see what will be fun and motivating," Jackson said.

Adaptive Computing provides intelligent automation software and products that manage many of the world's largest computing installations.

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