Perk Profile: Laundry Loops?

Yep, it’s time for another Perk Profile. If you don’t remember, a Perk Profile is where we highlight one of the perks we offer at Pro Athlete and give you the sneak peek behind the scenes of how we do it and why we do it. Check it out!

Wellness is a big part of the culture here at Pro Athlete. It’s one of our 12 Core Values, we have several amenities that support a healthy work environment, and we have a lot of competitive people at our office that really help drive that style of living forward. One of the underdog perks that revolves around our wellness program is our laundry loop system. Just like so many sports organizations out there, we have a locker room for our PROS and provide them with a laundry service.

Now, before you fall out of your chair, this isn’t for clothes you wear everyday or your kids’ clothes or anything like that, even though that would be really cool. Might have to add that one to the list!!!! It’s actually just for the clothes our PROS wear to workout. It’s pretty simple: go workout, come back into the locker room and inside your locker there is a laundry loop with a number on it that corresponds with your locker number. Simply loop all your workout clothes together and throw them into the hamper. Come back the next day and your clothes are washed and back in your locker, ready to do some more burpees. 

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Life can come at you fast with things at work and at home and sometimes, it’s hard to find time for yourself. Here though, we can’t let that happen to our employees. We want to give them all the resources to invest time in themselves, so when they go home, they can also invest time with their families or whatever other passions they might have. Providing the laundry service is just another way to remove any roadblocks for our PROS so they can live out a healthy lifestyle at work and at home!

Pro Athlete Announces JustBats Field as the New Home For the T-Bones

JustBats Field at T-Bones Stadium

Pro Athlete Makes Announcement With Professional Baseball Team Kansas City T-Bones

KANSAS CITY, Kan.—Pro Athlete Inc. has announced an agreement to partner with the Kansas City T-Bones. As part of this agreement, the T-Bones will now play ball at JustBats Field at T-Bones Stadium.  

For the past 15 years, CommunityAmerica held the naming rights, however, their agreement concluded earlier in the year. As a result, an opportunity presented itself for Pro Athlete Inc., a Kansas City-based, baseball-centered, company to partner with the team.

“There’s just something special about professional baseball being played at a place called JustBats Field. It’s just so cool! We’re really excited for our customers, employees, alumni members, and partners to be involved with this partnership with the T-Bones,” said Andrew Dowis CEO of Pro Athlete. “We can’t thank the T-Bones enough for the opportunity to align with another organization that shares so many common values with us and really puts an emphasis on fun. That alignment made this an amazing opportunity for our organization, the T-Bones organization and for Kansas City!”

The T-Bones appear to share the same level of excitement as they can now conclude their search for a new field sponsor. 

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“We’re especially proud to partner with a company that we admire, who shares our culture, and who happens to operate within our industry,” said T-Bones president Adam Ehlert.  “We can chalk this up as a ‘W’ for both companies and for our fans.”

This is not the first time Pro Athlete Inc. has partnered with the T-Bones. Annually, a “Pro Athlete Day” is conducted at the stadium. Employees from Pro Athlete Inc. are allowed to take batting practice, use the locker rooms, and ultimately play a baseball game on the field they now hold the naming rights to.

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As for the T-Bones, they have called Kansas City home since 2003. They currently play in the Independent League and have sold 16 player contracts to MLB teams since the beginning of 2018, and 46 all-time. They continue to draw very well by their league’s standards, averaging roughly a quarter of a million in attendance each season.

The T-Bones won their second championship in 2018 and have been named the Organization of the Year four times.

Speaker Series Recap: Hari Om Hemp

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We pride ourselves on creating a university setting and believe that if our company is growing and learning, our employees should be too! Because of this, we strive to provide top-notch resources to our employees in order to promote continuous education. With that goal in mind, we bring you our Speaker Series! Within the series, we connect our employees with impactful people and missions in order to get them feeling motivated both mentally and physically. 

Our Speaker Series consists of three main topic areas:

GET INSPIRED:

Inspirational and motivational topics.

GET INVOLVED:

Various charitable organizations around our community who bring awareness to their causes and provide our employees with new ideas and ways to get involved.

GET WELL:

Health and wellness professionals who talk about the latest and greatest trends in the health world.

We saw a familiar face at our most recent Speaker Series. One of our most coveted Alumni, Dustin Carr and his wife Leigh Carr, met with us to discuss the benefits of CBD and their new business: Hari Om Hemp.

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Hari Om Hemp was founded on the belief in alternative and holistic therapies.  While we strive to educate on the benefits of CBD we are not just any other CBD company.  At Hari Om Hemp our goal is to promote better overall health and wellness as a whole, mind, body, and spirit using an all natural and holistic approach.  We want to help people on their journey to health and wellness as a whole.

The presentation sparked a variety of questions at the end in which the presenters did a great job answering. Throughout their speech, we learned a lot of new information about CBD, its origin, and how to properly use the product.

Here are our top 5 CBD takeaways:

  1. We have an entire system designed for cannabinoid consumption. This means taking CBD can keep that system level.

  2. CBD has over 20,000 different studies published on its benefits.

  3. Some of the main things CBD has been shown to help with are:

    1. Anti-inflammatory

    2. Stress

    3. Anti-anxiety

    4. Antidepressant

  4. Methods of Administration

    1. Sublingual: directly under the tongue

    2. Topical: lotions, creams, balms

    3. Soaking: bath bombs and epsom salts

    4. Edible: oral consumption

    5. Vaping: short-lived relief

  5. CBD has made headway in mainstream acceptance and even in professional and major sports events and leagues.

At Pro Athlete, Inc., we look at employee departures as "we'll see you later," rather than "goodbye." We remain committed and loyal to our employees long after their careers have taken them elsewhere. 

It was so fun having Dustin back in the building and we wish nothing but the best for him, his wife, and their Hari Om Hemp business. 

Learn more about CBD and shop their products here: https://hariomhemp.com/

Use promo code: proathlete for 20% off your first order!


Pro Athlete CREATE Program

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At Pro Athlete, we have a team of world-class developers that help move us forward by continually completing projects for our customers and employees. As we continue to grow, we have decided to try a new way of scaling up when extra help is needed. The CREATE program was developed to utilize local talent and create a pool of skilled developers to partner with when we have large projects or need more bandwidth. Below is a full rundown of the program.

What is the program?

The Pro Athlete CREATE Program is a new initiative to find a pipeline of local, skilled developers to help us scale up during busy times, large projects, or special circumstances. We want to leverage the professionals in our area and provide an opportunity for people to make extra money with their skill set while being part of a great team, when needed.

The process is simple: After submitting the initial information, those who make it to the next step will come in to meet the team and show off their skills with various tests and/or projects. If you make the cut, you will become part of our pool of talent that we will call on if and when we need contractors to help us. There is no obligation and you can be removed from the group at any time if you choose. You set your own hours and any work will be done remotely, with the option to come in and work with the team one day per week. The better you are, the more opportunities you will get.

Pay will be based on skill and experience. There are no guarantees of hours or opportunities.

Requirements

We are looking for experienced and skilled front end and back end developers. Specifically, we’re looking for people who meet the following criteria:

Back end developers

  • Strong skills in ASP.NET, C#, AJAX, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and SQL

  • Experience using GitHub, TeamCity, Source Tree, and API integration

  • Strong understanding of eCommerce and order fulfillment process

  • Knowledge and understanding of source control

  • Proficient in AWS and other cloud-based services

Front end developers

  • Strong skills in JavaScript, HTML, CSS, SASS, Bootstrap, JQuery, and SQL

  • Experience using GitHub and API integration

  • Strong understanding of responsive web design

  • Experience using the MVC.net platform

  • Knowledge and understanding of source control

  • Proficient in Adobe Creative Suite including, Photoshop and Illustrator

  • Email template design

FAQs

If I make the cut, are there a certain number of hours I am guaranteed to work?

No. If you become part of the program you will be in our talent pool that we may utilize when we need extra help. There are no guaranteed hours and need will vary based on time of the year and current projects.

What equipment do I need?

All members of the CREATE program will need the following to participate:

  • Computer

  • Visual Studio

  • GitHub

  • SQL Management Studio

  • Adobe Creative Suite (Front end)

  • ACH bank info and a completed 1099

What is the workflow of projects like for a contractor?

We use a hybrid agile/scrum methodology to provide flexibility and predictability. Monthly sprints are used for our development cycle. As contractors complete work, a Git pull request is utilized to let our team know changes are ready. We will review the work and respond with any requested changes before merging the code.

What if I no longer want to be a part of the program?

No problem; just let us know and we will remove you from our resource pool.

The Unsung Heroes of Pro Athlete

As a company, we have let down some of the most important people within our organization. Our hope is that this article will be a start in a more frequent occurrence of recognizing and appreciating those who are often overlooked at Pro Athlete and businesses around the world.

The group we are referring to is the family members of all the employees who work at Pro Athlete. They are rock stars day in and day out and never get the proper credit they deserve. There is no way we would be where we are today as a company (or as people) without our significant others, kids and all of our other family members. Just think of all the times they have stepped up to the plate and helped our team knock it out of the park:

Employee - “I can’t pick up the kids tonight because I am going to go throw horseshoes for the KC Corporate Challenge so we can win our 8th straight championship.”

Significant Other - “You better win then, because I don’t want to be married to someone who can’t win 8 straight!”

Employee - “We are going to work late on Tuesday evenings for the next 3 months so we can get our revised websites out in time for the busy season.”

Significant Other - “No problem, that sounds very important.”

Employee - “We are reorganizing our whole warehouse and I am going to go up and fold boxes on Saturday so we can get ahead.”

Significant Other - “Well, I know a way to get it done fast: I’ll help fold the boxes too!”

Employee - “I am having a hard time finding an insurance broker for the company.”

Significant Other - “Oh, you should use “Company X.” That is who we use and they are great!”

The past six years of significant others offering to help decorate the locker rooms or being our umpires at our company baseball games…for FREE! What!?

A son or daughter that just smiles and gives an employee a hug when they get home or a dog that pees on the carpet in excitement every time you walk in the door.

The list could go on and on, but the bottom line is that every single employee who has come through Pro Athlete has had help from their family in some form or fashion and we couldn’t be more thankful for that! Think of all the home runs that have been hit across the country and all the diving catches that have been made thanks to the assists from our family members.

From all of us here at Pro Athlete, we just want to say thank you:

Emily

Sarah

Bailey

Sileen

Sloane

Sandra

Marques

Elizabeth

Melissa

JoEllen

Henry

Kelsy

Kayson

Nolan

Jenna

Sandra

Jameson

Ophelia

Jason

Tobi

Donna

Allison

Katie

Rebecca

Paisley

Graham

Casey

Carolina

Kinley

Agnes

Lemmy Jr.

Kassy

Daxton

Taylor

Abigail

Cooper

Gwendalyn

Janelle

Anna

Elisa

Doug

Derek

Trevor

Lucas

Nicholas

Brette

Raye

Allison

Sherri

Carter

Chandler

Cassidy

Kari

Rachel

Lorelai

Chandra

Matheus

You make us the people we are today and you give us the chance to make dreams come true for our customers. There is no way we could express how much we love you and appreciate all the times you have helped us over the years!

We Love you,

Pro Athlete Employees

#unsungnomore

When One Door Closes -- The Second Door Opens

One thing that really gets us excited at Pro Athlete is when some of our best employees leave the company. Yep, you read that right. Sounds weird, huh? Well, let us explain. Something we love is to see employees leave to start a company of their own or chase any dreams they’re passionate about. Because our company was started from a true entrepreneurial venture, we get excited seeing others nurture their own next big idea. A real entrepreneurial thinker would never be happy long term at any business that wasn’t their own, so we never want to be ones to hold employees back just because it might be in our best interest. Don’t get us wrong: it always stings to lose good people, but it feels so awesome when you see them flourish. This is true for Pro Athlete alumni, Jeramey Jordan.

Jeramey started at Pro Athlete when he was 16 and literally grew up here. He did every job we had from shipping packages to overseeing our entire office as the Building Manager. He always had an entrepreneurial itch in him and 15 years later, he finally scratched that itch. Jeramey felt like he had done all there was to do at Pro Athlete and decided to partner up with members of the Pro Athlete family to start a new business. Enter Second Door.

 
 
Jeramey Jordan Giving His Pro Athlete Hall of Fame Induction Speech.

Jeramey Jordan Giving His Pro Athlete Hall of Fame Induction Speech.

Second Door is a short-term rental management company based right here in Kansas City. After years of managing the Pro Athlete building, a vacation home in Orlando and two corporate houses for vendors in KC, Jeramey realized he had created and mastered systems that would translate to the now-booming Airbnb market. Taking what he learned from Pro Athlete coupled with his own entrepreneurial drive, Jeramey was able to open Second Door in January of 2018. One year later and Second Door has over 10 properties in the family and a number of happy customers.


The message is simple for the team at Second Door: We Host -- You Profit. If you or someone you know is looking to capitalize on a second home or even rent your house out when you are out of town, feel free to check out Second Door. It’s stories like this that make our Alumni Program slogan, “Once a Pro, Always A Pro” feel so right!

Flower Desk Delivery Service

Valentine’s Day is a day of love; a day to show those you love how much you care for them. Often times, it is celebrated with that one special person in your life. The day is filled with love, admiration and appreciation. But stress is often a result that comes from the planning of February 14th. There are flowers and chocolates to buy, dinner reservations to make, surprises to keep and meaningful cards to write. We understand all of the time and work that goes into making the day perfect for your sweetie and in turn, the stress it might cause!

In order to make the lives of our employees easier, we decided to offer a special little service for Valentine’s Day. We teamed up with The Little Flower Shop, owned by Leslie Brett and Chuck Matney, to provide our employees with a special flower delivery service. The idea came a couple of years ago from Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and one of our vendors, George Brett, the husband of Leslie, over a business dinner. Employees are able to order flowers from the office and the arrangements are conveniently delivered right to their desks! For a day, our office is blooming with the most beautiful arrangements of flowers!

While Valentine’s Day 2019 might be coming to end, there is no single day to show someone your love and appreciation. Let The Little Flower Shop help you brighten the day of that someone special all year long! From the entire Pro Athlete team, Happy Valentine’s Day!

"Today Is Gonna Be a Big Day": A Tribute to Our Founder

If you are lucky, you will maybe meet a handful of people in your life that you can say truly made a lasting impact on your life. That designation is held for those truly special people on this planet. The Pro Athlete Family was privileged to know one of those special people, our founder, Wes Hedrick. Since Wes and his wife, Judi, started a little sporting goods store in Kansas City called Pro Athlete Sporting Goods back in 1987, there have been over 400 people employed at Pro Athlete. There were countless vendors, partners and fans that worked with us over the years and who can forget the millions of kids around the country that received bats and gloves.

Two weeks ago, Wes passed away surrounded by family. In true Wes fashion, he was upbeat and positive throughout his entire battle with cancer. Even on his last day, Wes told his nurse that “today is gonna be a big day”. He knew his time had come and he was ready to embrace it. He lived his whole life like that. He always took the high road and taught his family to do the same. Go figure that taking the high road is a common practice used at Pro Athlete, too. On Wes and Judi’s Hall of Fame plaque in our lobby the name “The Foundation” graces the top. While his passing put a crack in that foundation, the kind of person he was and the impact he had on all of us and our company will only get stronger thanks to him.

Wes will be remembered as an amazing father, husband, grandfather, businessman, friend and Royals fan. He loved attending his grandkids’ activities and was always paying attention to the weather no matter where he was. He and Judi loved to travel around the world together, and it’s no surprise that they always made a lot of new friends on the trips they took.

We can never thank Wes and Judi enough for what they have done for all of us who have been a part of the Pro Athlete Family. We were told that Wes enjoyed a nice cold Schlitz in his day. A week after his passing, we were proud to tap a keg of Schlitz in the bar at our office and the day before his funeral a number of employees met in the bar to honor Wes with a Schlitz. Over 50 Pro Athlete employees and alumni members attended the service for Wes. Within a second of arriving, we saw the parking lot was full- that truly tells you everything you need to know about the kind of person Wes was. The first thing we saw when we walked inside was the letter jacket that Wes was given as being part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2016. The jacket is an iconic symbol of why Wes and Judi started Pro Athlete 30+ years ago.

On behalf of everyone associated with Pro Athlete, we want to thank you, Wes, for giving us a life full of amazing memories and experiences. It’s safe to say that one of the biggest honors of working at Pro Athlete was getting to learn from you. We thank you for building the foundation you did for all of us and our families and hope we can carry it on in a way that would make you proud. It was an honor!

Random Acts of Kindness: Season 4

Four years ago our employees got together and told the company that they didn’t want to do giveaways for airline tickets, TVs, iPads, gift cards or any gifts at our annual Holiday Party. They instead decided to take that money and give it to those in need. The first two years, the employees teamed up in small groups and went around the city and gave money/gifts to anyone that they felt could use it during the holiday season. Then last year, we took a different approach and decided to go as a whole company and donate our time and some gifts to the Burlington YMCA in North Kansas City. You can check out the blog post about last year’s event here. Fast forward to this year. We decided to do it again. This time we gave it a little twist and combined a few different things into one special day. Check it out!

We told everyone in the company to meet in our lobby by 8:45 am to board a bus. None of them knew where we were headed, but they all seemed excited to find out. We started our journey by heading down to St. Mark’s Child and Family Development Center. There, we were greeted by the amazing staff and teachers who give their all to the students and families they serve. We brought them supplies to help them with their day-to-day operations but that wasn’t all! We couldn’t just show up and drop off gifts and leave- we wanted to hang with the kids! The team was split into four different classrooms where each employee got to help a 3-5 year old create a holiday card for someone special in their life. Stickers, markers and lots of smiles were shared and the students left a lasting impression on our employees.

Each quarter we do an all-staff meeting and we decided to mix that in with this journey as well. So, from St. Mark’s we continued onto our next stop: Alamo Drafthouse. We all gathered in Theater 2 where we would host our meeting. The employees filled the seats as the leadership team took center stage in front of the big screen. The team running the meeting was really in the holiday spirit as they came dressed up like Cousin Eddie and Clark Griswold from Christmas Vacation. Unfortunately for them, they got literally zero laughs and their much anticipated entrance into the theater flopped right out of the gate. (Thank you, employees!) They were able to recover, the meeting went on and it didn’t appear that very many employees fell asleep, so that was a big win. And that should have been a wrap on the day right? Not so fast! The aforementioned flop during the entrance by Eddie and Clark had a hidden meaning, though. The company was about to watch a holiday classic together in the theater. Christmas Vacation was played on the big screen while employees ordered food and drinks and laughed the rest of the meeting away.

All in all, the day was a big success. The team got to Embrace Stewardship- a Core Value of ours that we value immensely. We got to talk about the current and future state of our business and got to have a little fun with the Griswold family. One employee was asked if she was surprised about the events of the day and she said, “If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised.” We call that a success!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Pro Athlete! Cheers to an awesome 2018 and for great things to come in 2019!

Alumni Member Gets the Nod as Cubs Pitching Coach

How does someone go from little old Parkville, MO to being the Pitching Coach for the Chicago Cubs? Well, if you know anything about Pro Athlete alumni member Tommy Hottovy, you are not one bit surprised.

Tommy was a standout high school athlete in multiple sports and after graduating he took his baseball talents as a pitcher to Wichita State University. From there, Tommy was drafted in the 4th round of the MLB draft by the Boston Red Sox. Tommy spent 7 years in the minor leagues and during the off season, he would come back to Kansas City and work at Pro Athlete. It was mutually beneficial as he was just as sharp behind a desk as he was on the mound. He would come in and help us do special projects. He did several, but one of our favorites that any of you who have toured our facility will appreciate is the basketball court. We had extra warehouse space and said, “Tommy, go figure out how to put a basketball court in” and just like striking out the side, we had ourselves a gym.

In 2011, Tommy got called up to the big leagues as a relief pitcher for the Red Sox. He pitched in 8 big league games that year and then something crazy happened: he became a member of his hometown team the following year! He spent some time in the minors, but got the call to the Royals in April of 2012.

When his playing career ended, he wanted to stay in the game and ended up back with the man who drafted him back in 2004, Cubs GM Theo Epstein. Tommy was a former player so he understood that side of the game, but also had a knack for numbers and took an online Sabermetrics course to sharpen his knowledge even more. He would call himself a defensive coordinator for the team. He was an advanced scout and run prevention coordinator which meant he worked with the pitchers on strategy for how to pitch to each batter.

Can you think of a better mix of skills for someone to be a Major League pitching coach? Former big league pitcher, scout, Sabermetrics experience, and a baseball lifer. Oh and not to mention, he is one of the absolute best people you will ever meet. He was back in town earlier this year and made a point to walk around and say hi to every single member of our company. We couldn’t be happier for Tommy, Andrea, Cameron and Chloe! At Pro Athlete, we have a saying for our alumni members- “Once A Pro, Always A Pro!” That seems pretty fitting here! Congratulations, Tommy!

Pickers and Shippers

So you’ve just ordered your brand new bat or glove- Congrats! Maybe it's for you or maybe it's a special holiday gift for your favorite all-star. Either way, have you ever wondered what happens on our end in-between “From Click to Hit”?

After you “click”, our fulfillment center steps up to the plate to get your bat or glove to you ASAP. Once your order is submitted, a fulfillment specialist is alerted that there are orders needing to be picked and shipped by TV monitors displayed throughout the fulfillment center. Pickers then enter the shipping module and begin to pick the items in the most efficient route provided automatically by our enterprise resource planning system (ERP). Scan guns worn on the forearms of our pickers tell the employee exactly where to go, what barcode to scan, and what item to pick. All of the items are put into specific bins and then placed on a conveyor belt and sent to our shipping stations.

At the shipping stations, our shippers use a hand held scan gun to scan the specific bin and product barcode. A UPS barcode is scanned to automatically print a UPS shipping label and the program advises the shipper of the appropriate shipping box to use. Once the products are placed in the proper box and sealed, the shipping label is then applied. Finally, the box is placed on a pallet ready to be delivered to you by UPS on time, every time, exactly as promised!

Check out the video below to see what our fulfillment process looks like and remember, we're always there for you, FROM CLICK TO HIT!

Thankful Notes Pt. 2

At Pro Athlete we have many things to be thankful for: an awesome place to work, amazing employees (and their families), the best customers, vendors and partners in the world! We have so much to be thankful for that it would take us forever to include everything and everyone. Instead, we decided to ask a few employees to share with you what they are most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Cue Pro Athlete’s Thankful Notes!

What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

Chef Nathan's Keto Pumpkin Pie

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With Thanksgiving only a week away, we found it only appropriate to share one of Chef Nathan’s most delicious (and healthy!) recipes, perfect for the holidays: a keto, dairy free and gluten free pumpkin pie! We know what you’re thinking: how could it be this healthy AND taste good? Well, give this recipe a try and the proof will be in the pudding (or pie filling in this case)!

Keto Pie Crust

Ingredients

2 1/2 cup Blanched Almond Flour
1/3 cup Erythritol (or any sweetener of choice; omit for savory pie crust)
1/4 tsp Sea Salt (or 1/2 tsp for savory pie crust)
1/4 cup Ghee (measured solid, then melted)
1 large Egg (or ~2 tbsp additional ghee)
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9 inch round pie pan with parchment paper, or grease well.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, erythritol (if using), and sea salt.

  3. Stir in the melted ghee and egg, until well combined. (If using vanilla, stir that into the melted ghee before adding to the dry ingredients.) The "dough" will be dry and crumbly. Just keep mixing, pressing and stirring until it's uniform and there is no almond flour powder left. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor to mix it all together.)

  4. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. You can flute the edges if desired; if it crumbles when doing this, just press it back together. Carefully poke holes in the surface using a fork to prevent bubbling.

  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden. (Add fillings only after pre-baking.)

Keto Pumpkin Pie Filling

Ingredients

1 15-oz can Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Coconut Cream
2 large Egg
2/3 cup Powdered Erythritol
2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Blackstrap Molasses

  1. Beat together all ingredients until smooth.

  2. Pour the filling into the crust. Gently tap on the counter to release air bubbles.

  3. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the pie is almost set but still slightly jiggly in the center. (Check on it occasionally, and if you see the crust start to brown, cover the crust edge with foil and return to the oven until the filling is done. It should still jiggle a bit in the center, like a custard before it sets.)

  4. Cool completely on the counter, then refrigerate at least an hour before slicing. Pie can be refrigerated overnight.


Another Year, Another Company Baseball Game

For the past 6 years, we’ve taken over T-Bones Stadium for a friendly, company baseball game- Team Pro Athlete vs. Team JustBats. Once a year, employees get the chance to live out their glory days with a full-fledged game complete with uniforms, batting practice and walk up music. This year, with the help of top-notch videographers David Sosna and Kevin Berg from Creators Group, we were able to capture what exactly this ballgame means to our employees and why we continue to make this not-so-average tradition happen. Take a look!

The Importance of Systems in a Business

As a company that offers unlimited paid time off (PTO), we find it super important to have systems in place that ensures we do not miss a beat when employees are out. However, having systems in place goes much deeper than making sure tasks are still fulfilled when people are away. Systems ensure that when an employee takes another position within the company, at another company or has unforeseen things come up, we are able to keep moving forward no matter their role.

One of our core values is “Build a Systems Dependent Company” and we feel like we have done just that. Every position at Pro Athlete has an Accountability Chart that is filled with System Action Plans (SAPs) that take every daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks and maps out each process step by step to ensure that we will never miss a beat. By creating these systems, we feel like we are not only doing the business a favor, but also making the lives of our employees easier. While the initial process of creating all of our systems was a task and the upkeep can sometimes seem overwhelming, by having very specific systems in place we, as a company, are able to run like a well oiled machine. And because we are able to run like a well oiled machine, employees can take two week vacations if they want (we just had someone take an unbelievable trip to India and Sri Lanka) and not worry about a single thing while they’re gone!

Benefits of a company having systems in place:

  • Systems ensure that no one holds the keys to the castle. All tasks are mapped out and can easily be picked up by the next person.

  • Stress free vacations or sick days for employees- there is no need to worry about being present as you know a backup is in place! Employees will never have to worry about a teammate calling in sick either as their tasks can be picked up by reviewing their accountability chart for that day.

  • Adding new members to the team or losing members will be a much easier process.

  • Systems may lead to potential franchise opportunities to grow your business. With systems in place, anyone can carry on your business model.

What systems are in place at your company? Leave us a comment or email us at contact@proathleteinc.com!

5 Tools to Win at the Game of Culture

Creating a culture is never easy, and maintaining it is no walk-in-the-park either. We have found that the following five tools were instrumental in helping us build and maintain our culture. Check them out!

  1. North Star - Instead of a mission or purpose statement, we have a North Star. Our North Star is something that keeps us pointed in the right direction. We landed on the idea after our mission (to be an admired ecommerce company) was continuously scrutinized due to a lack of way to measure achievement. So, we decided that a North Star made more sense for us. From there, we would come up with a mission that we wanted to achieve in the upcoming year. We wanted that mission to be measurable while still pointing towards our North Star.

  2. Core Values - We believe a clearly defined set of values is the most important key to a winning culture. Maybe you have 4, maybe you have 8, maybe you have 20. A lot of “consultants” will tell you that you shouldn’t have more than 5. In our opinion, you can have as many or as few as you want- the key is that they are easy to understand and are actually put to use. Don’t just put the values up in the lobby because someone told you that you needed values. Create them and use them in every single decision you make in your business.

  3. Personality Profiles - For 5 years, we have used a personality profile (Culture Index) to help us hire and get to know each other better. Each employee fills out the survey and then gets a unique profile with 4 plotted points. The profile measures autonomy, sociability, pace and detail. Knowing how social or patient your coworkers are can really help with working relationships. If you know someone is an introvert, you might not invite them to a networking event or keep them in long meetings. If someone has little detail, you might not hire them to be an accountant or an auditor. We believe in it so much that we put employee profiles on the outside of office doors and on our company intranet.

  4. Cheers for Peers - We use a tool called TINYpulse that allows us to send employe engagement surveys to our employees as often as we want. In addition to that, TINYpulse has a platform that allows employees to give props to their coworkers. It’s super simple and is sent directly to the person who is receiving the props. We then take those and put them on a feed on our intranet and our internal video boards so everyone can see them. It’s easy to do and really makes people feel appreciated.

  5. All-Staff Meeting - It’s hard for everyone in your organization to be in the loop on what is going on with the big items in the business. We get together quarterly with the whole company and talk about the business. We make it fun with a few games and awards for the employees, but also talk about important business matters. We used to do it for around four hours, then it went to two hours and now we are able to get it done in an hour. We do it in our cafe and have some snacks and drinks during the meeting. It’s a great way to communicate to everyone as a whole in a very relaxed and comfortable setting.

Instead of talking about methods that work, these are 5 things that you can actually implement yourself. If you have suggestions for other tools or want some more information on these tools, please comment or email us at contact@proathleteinc.com.

Customer Highlight - Jon Pritikin

In last week’s blog article, we hit on our 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions. One of those included, “Who are your biggest customers?” In answering that question, we hit on all of our obvious baseball and softball related customers. After writing that blog, though, it came to mind that there is another very special customer of ours who is not a baseball or softball player at all, nor is he a parent or coach buying for a young player. Instead, he uses our bats to change the lives of those around him.

Meet Jon Pritikin. Jon faced a great amount of adversity as a victim of bullying at an early age through his teen years and even as a young adult. Fortunately, Jon eventually met a few key people in his life that believed in him and provided him with the confidence to change his life. Since then, he has overcome incredible challenges and has made it his mission to better the lives of those around him.

Jon founded Feel the Power, a nonprofit organization that empowers and inspires students to believe in their own strength, in 1994 with his wife Rhonda. He now travels the world making a huge impact on the lives of others through his message of internal strength (while also providing entertainment for the audience with his extreme external strength). Since then, he has been able to impact the lives of 8 million students around the planet!

So, how does Pro Athlete fit into the picture? Well, Jon is a regular customer of JustBats.com, one of the eCommerce sites that we power. Although Jon does not play or coach baseball or softball, he is a regular buyer of wood bats. One of the “feats of strength” that Jon presents during his shows is breaking wood bats over his legs (we’re not kidding- check it out). JustBats.com is the proud provider of the bats that Jon happily breaks.

Back in 2015, we were able to personally meet Jon when he visited our office in Kansas City. We got to see first-hand how impactful and motivating his presentations are. Our employees were left feeling inspired and had a great time. We are extremely fortunate to have Jon as a very valued customer and love that Jon embraces stewardship just as much as we do. We are extremely proud of what Jon, his wife Rhonda, and daughter Jaden do on a daily basis to help others around the world.

If you are an educator, PTA parent, or know someone who is interested in hosting a Feel the Power event, please get in touch with Jon by booking an event here.


10 Most Frequently Asked Questions

We are extremely fortunate to share what we do with several interested visitors from other businesses and organizations. As a part of that, we give thousands of tours each year and talk about how we do business and the purpose behind what we do. In doing so, our tour guides are often asked several questions on every tour. To give you a glimpse of what those questions are and potentially answer some of your questions, we threw together a list of our most frequently asked questions.

Are you a sports agency or workout facility?

Nope! We’re actually an eCommerce company who specializes in creating game-winning experiences for everyone we meet while selling baseball and softball bats and gloves on the side through JustBats.com and JustBallGloves.com!

Why do you only sell bats and gloves?

At one point, we sold everything under the sun sports related. Back when Pro Athlete first started as a brick and mortar store in the northern part of Kansas City, MO, equipment and gear for all sports could be found. After going completely online in 1999, we decided to stick with what we knew and were good at- baseball and softball. At that point, our niche in bats and gloves was created.

Do you have to play baseball or softball to work there?

Absolutely not! While we do have some employees who used to play (or still do in old man’s league), several of our employees have never played baseball or softball. It is great to have a wide array of employees with different backgrounds.

Why do you have so many Core Values?

With a total of twelve, a lot of people think we have too many Core Values. We, however, believe we have just the right amount. Our Core Values are the foundation for how we do everything, personally and professionally, at Pro Athlete. We stand behind and continuously live out all twelve. If you are ever interested in working here, review our core values and make sure that your personal values and beliefs align with those core values. If you agree, we might be the place for you!

How do employees get their work done with all of the fun stuff they are offered?

Many think our perks would be distracting to employees and disrupt their work. However, we chose to focus on results instead of the work. When, where or how our employees complete their tasks isn’t our top focus- we’re much more concerned with the quality and results of their work. Our employees are encouraged to get a massage, work out or take a nap as long as they’re producing results!

How do you measure if all of your perks are working?

One of the best ways we measure the influence of our perks and culture is through employee engagement. Seeing our employees engaged, hungry and proud to work at Pro Athlete is a key indicator that we’re doing something right.

How much do all of your perks cost?

We could definitely answer this question, but we actually just put out a blog post at the end of September answering this question in more detail. Check it out, “It Doesn’t Cost...It Pays

Can I just come to your office and buy a bat or glove?

While we love visitors at the office, our fulfillment specialists take great pride in getting our customers’ dream bats or gloves shipped to them as soon as possible. Plus, wouldn’t you rather just order a bat from your phone while watching the MLB playoffs instead?! We know we would! With a no hassle returns policy, all of this is possible!

Who are your biggest customers?

Our most popular customers are those playing youth to high school baseball and softball. We do outfit several high school and collegiate teams as well. In addition, we have a great relationship with several current and former Major League Baseball players, coaches, and GM’s who use us as their go to for their kids’ equipment. Our customers range from the early ages of tee ball all the way up to a few Minor League Baseball players.

How can I get a job there?

We are fortunate to have a very high retention rate so we don’t lose a ton of employees and therefore, don’t have a ton of job openings come available. However, we are always coming up with new ideas that require new skill sets to be added to the team. The best way to learn about those opportunities and stay connected to what is happening at Pro Athlete is to sign up for our Fan Club. Before wanting to work here, make sure our core values align with your core values. If there is a match, sign up for our Fan Club and really set yourself apart from the rest!


Have a different question for us? Leave it in the comments or send us an email at Contact@ProAthleteInc.com.