Prior to Republic, I used to ride my bike 20 miles to and from work in the summer. I quickly became “the weird guy that rides his bike a lot.” Then I joined Republic. On my first day, I immediately noticed two bikes stashed in the office stairwell and another in the hallway!
My second week on the job, I planned to join a group ride that left from the office. When I got to the locker room to change, it was empty. Then David Morken, CEO of Republic, walked in. We hadn’t met, but there was no preamble, just a “hey, we missed the group ride. Wanna roll out with me?” Of course I thought: “I’d love to chat with the CEO.” I quickly realized there wouldn’t be much chatting. David doesn’t warm-up – physically or mentally – he’s always on. We left the parking lot at full speed. He tried to drop me on every hill. I didn’t know the area so if he did, I’d be lost. I am proud to say I hung in for the entire ride and might’ve even gapped him on the final hill.
Republic has a lot of great perks, but (not surprisingly) the ninety minute lunch when you exercise is one of my favorites. Yes, it’s a chance to spend some time in the saddle (which is hard with two young daughters), but more importantly it’s time to shift perspective. Nothing like sunshine, fresh air, and a pounding heart rate to clear your head and help solve an intractable problem. So, as you’ve probably guessed, I like to exercise more than most. But how do you engage folks for whom exercise is a drag? David, not surprisingly, had an idea…
He approached Adam, a Bandwidth colleague, and me on April 1, 2013 and said he wanted us to compete in the TransRockies mountain bike race. I chuckled thinking he was joking. He told us to look it up. After doing so and learning that it was a 7 stage, 400+ km race through the Canadian Rockies, I laughed harder. It was April Fools, he had to be joking. Adam and I soon realized he wasn’t. We had four months to get in the best shape of our lives.
Then David threw down the gauntlet to the company: If every employee exercised twenty hours during July and Adam and I finished on the podium, employees got the Friday before Labor Day off. The company got engaged, and I got scared. Pros from around the world show up for TransRockies. Adam and I were fit and fast, but these guys were on a different level. Fortunately, Adam and I had the race of our lives and finished in third – on the podium – and the company got the day off!
Since then, Republic has organized several fitness challenges. Out of each one, a new inspiration emerges – whether it is Jimmy completing his first half-Ironman or Rochelle running her first 5k. I’m convinced everyone has an ‘inner Morken,’ he or she just needs to find the right challenge to unleash it. I’m lucky enough to work at Republic where the challenges are frequent and the support network is ever-present.