Every year we have a 20-Year Club dinner for those Trek employees who have served the company for 20 or more years. We honor the new inductees and this year 12 new members joined the club. I talked about the accomplishments of the class of 1993 and then introduced each of the 12 and thanked them for their incredible service. After I finished handing out awards, I told the entire group that what made me really proud of Trek was not the numbers, but the incredible company that we have built over time and the good things that we have done to make Trek a very special place. I then shared three stories with the group to make my point. All three have happened in the last six weeks.
Story number one.
Bo Bikes Bama. Bo Jackson, the legendary baseball and football player, calls me in February and asks if we could help put on a bike ride to benefit the tornado victims in Alabama. Bo is a great athlete and a better person. I said yes. Trek does a great job with coordinating the ride, doing the website and sending a crew down to set up for the ride and help with logistics. A couple of weeks before the ride I asked Mark J the HR guy, “Should we take some Trek people down to Alabama with us?” Mark is one of the most optimistic people in the world.
“Sure, that would be… AWESOME.”
My great idea was to take a bus if enough people wanted to go. I invited 25 people, 23 accepted and we had the BEST time. Bus left Trek at 5:30 am. We arrived in Birmingham 13 hours later and went to a reception that evening. The highlight of the reception was when Bo gave a bike to 8-year old Ari Hallmark who had lost both of her parents, grandparents, and baby cousin to the tornado. She was thrilled.
The next day we went to the start of the ride in Cordova. The high school band played the national anthem and we had a great 60 mile ride. The ride raised over $100,000 and the Trek team did an incredible job. So many people came up to me to say what an awesome company Trek is. I said Thank You.
Story number two.
Last year I traveled down to Texas for the W100, a ride for the Wounded Warrior Project that President Bush hosts. 15 Wounded Warriors riding 100K (62 miles) on mountain bikes. Last year it was an amazing experience. At the end of the ride I had a number of warriors ask me if I could get them a deal on a bike. We took care of those requests, but I felt kind of bad that we were only giving a discount on a bike to those who had served the country, hand lost legs or arms, or have had other major challenges.
The request came in from the Bush Center this year for Trek to help out and we were more than happy to. The memory of the bike requests has stayed with me, and I suggested that this year we surprise the warriors and just give them brand new bikes. Last weekend 15 warriors received brand new Trek Fuel EX 29ers, and were absolutely thrilled.
Story number three is a sad story.
Last year I was at the Tour de France and with a group that was having a mechanical problem we could not figure out. I called Steve Malchow, the head of our engineering group, and asked that he send an engineer over.
He said, “I think I can send one tomorrow.” My response was, “How about today?” Steve sent over Al Clark and Andrew Meyer. I had worked with Al, Trek's tire and wheel product manager, but had never met Andrew. Andrew looked like he was 17 and I thought that maybe I was sent the Rookie. I was wrong. Andrew turned out to be amazing. For three days, he and Al worked 24/7, and Andrew even stayed in Europe for an extra week to make sure everything was taken care of. Calm, super competent, and hard working. He got the job done. I gave Al and Andrew each a President's Award for their work.
With 1800 people at Trek it is hard to stay in touch with everyone, and I had not seen or talked to Andrew for probably six months. A couple weeks ago I received an e-mail from Malchow that Andrew had cut his hand wood working, and that, combined with a previous medical condition made a lot of things go wrong. Andrew was not going to make it. My response? “You have got to be kidding me.” Here is a Rock Star, lover of life, 34 years old and he is not going to make it.
I was leaving that night for Denver and stopped by the hospital to visit Andrew. When I got there, some of Andrews’s family was at the hospital along with a group of Trek people. I spent some time with Andrew and his family and I was about to leave when a nurse came up to me and asked, “Do you work at Trek?”
“Yes I do.”
“Well...we have never seen so many people come and visit a person from a company. Trek must be an incredible company with a great heart.”
I said, “Yes, it is.”
1978 - 2013