Challenge Accepted: Pro Athlete Employees Give Back

Baseball season is upon us and that means the YMCA Challenger baseball program is in full swing too. This year marks the tenth year of the YMCA Challenger Program. For six weeks, athletes from around Kansas City come to the Fred and Shirley Pryor Sports Complex to learn about the game, hang out with friends, and get on the field and play.

So, it seemed like another great season was coming up, and then something truly special happened. A “challenge” was issued to the employees of Pro Athlete to come out and volunteer as buddies for the baseball season. We had a few employees who volunteered in the past, but that was about it. Then, just like that, twelve Pro Athlete employees volunteered to help.

What made this so cool was that those twelve first-time volunteers were able to give back and create even stronger bonds with their coworkers at the same time. The twelve employees were all buddies on the same team. How cool is that?

This year we were in gold jerseys with our favorite baseball bat company logo on the back. No, not Dick’s Sporting Goods. JustBats.com! The athletes always get to pick the team name, and there have been some doozies. After a close vote, the team selected their name to be the Suns.

It doesn’t get much better than playing baseball with kids for six weeks. On behalf of all the volunteers from Pro Athlete, we want to thank the YMCA for giving us this opportunity to meet such amazing and talented players and strong parents and family members. While many of the parents told us how important our efforts were to their kids and themselves, we feel like we were the fortunate ones to get to meet them all.

 We thank all of these kids for teaching us so much and for their strength and resiliency.

Twelve employees set out to help teach baseball to some kids once a week and what they found was a life-changing experience, establishment of new relationships, and life-long memories. It just goes to show the power of giving back. You go in thinking you are going to help change the lives of others and you come out with your life changed in the most positive way possible!

Thank you to the Suns for the awesome shirt that we will be putting up in our office soon. We have some cool signed memorabilia in our office from famous athletes, but this one ranks up at the top!

And yes, in the video when we did our final team huddle, we did say Banana Bread, you heard it right. Lauren got to pick what we said!!!!!

Dear Dad,

Former New York Met, Bobby Bonilla is known for saying, “Kids today are looking for idols, but sometimes they look too far...They don’t have to look any farther than their home because those are the people that love you. They are the real heroes.” At Pro Athlete we strive to live each and every day with Bonilla’s quote in mind. So much so, we’ve formed one of our Core Values after it. We take the idea of putting your Family First around here very seriously. Earlier this week, we sat down with many of our employees and asked them to write letters to their fathers. See what they had to say in the video below:


Dear Dad,

Thank you for being my biggest fan, biggest disciplinarian, and biggest motivator. Our relationship hasn't always been a bed of roses, but I know that I can count on you and ask for advice about anything life may bring my way. With the middle name "Clark," I always considered you to be my own personal Clark Kent. Who needs Superman when I've got a Dad like you?

Your son,

John P.


Dear Dad,

Thank you for teaching me the value of a hard day's work, the meaning of responsibility, and the importance of honesty among other things. These qualities have helped me to be a better father, a better friend, and a better co-worker. I'm not sure how many hours we spent playing catch together growing up, but I remember the only thing that stopped us was running out of light. Happy Father's Day! Love you, Dad!

-Kaleb G.


Dear Dad,

Though most of the time we were miles apart you always made sure I knew I had your support and love no matter where I was or what I was doing.  Thank you for always taking the back roads and teaching me that the path less traveled leads to some of the greatest discoveries.

-Gypsy B.


Dear Dad,

Thank you!  You've been there when I needed you the most and you've always given me advice throughout life's journey.  You're a caring, kindhearted and funny father and both you and Mom have been my biggest supporters.  I enjoy spending time with you and am very grateful for all you've done in my life.  You've raised Kyle and I to be good men and I'm excited for the many more memories our family has coming!  I love you dad and thank you for loving me. Thank you, your son.

-Kris G.


Dear Dad,

Thank you so much for choosing to be in my life and accepting me for who I am.  I'm forever grateful for your constant support and I honestly don't know where I would be without you.  I love you so much. Thanks for everything!

-Alex W.


Dear Dad,

It is hard to put into words how much of an impact you have had on my life. Thank you for always being there for me during the best and worst of times, I can always count on you. Thank you for supporting me in everything I have done, whether that is in sports, academics and just life in general. Thank you for the countless life lessons you have taught me, I am not the person I am today without your guidance. Thank you for not only being my dad, but my coach, teacher, golf partner and friend too. Happy Fathers Day Dad!

-Kyle G.


Dear Dad,

Top of the Mornin to you....and the rest of the day to myself!

I am so thankful I am your daughter.  You have taught me how to love, laugh, work hard, play hard and have faith.  You have always put family first and for that I am grateful.  Every life lesson worth learning was on display in our house.  You and mom are amazing parents.  Thank you for your love and support, you are my hero.  

-Jodi S.


Dear Dad,

You have always been the most admired man in my life. You are kind, generous, honest, and resilient. I love your enthusiasm for life and how everything is more fun when you are around. Thank you for teaching me how to play sports, attending all my games, and supporting me in everything. Thank you for teaching me to be tough and work hard. I'm so glad you didn't treat me differently because I was a girl. Thank you for all you sacrificed for me. I have so many great memories growing up going skiing, boating, camping, fishing, canoeing, playing cards, basketball, catch, and going to ball games. And thank you for also being just as good to my boys! They adore you. We all do! I love you and will always be grateful for you!

-Pam M.


Dear Dad,

Words can’t describe how truly grateful I am for having you as my dad. I can only imagine the sacrifices you had to make as you were a just a 19 year old kid yourself when I came into your life. You took the challenge and became the definition of what a good father should be. You never missed a practice, a game, or life event. Your patience, perseverance, and fortitude molded me into the person I am today. I’ll always cherish everything we’ve done together and continue to do. I’ll always look up to you. And to top it all off, your continued love for Mom after 30 years of marriage is an inspiration. I love you dad. Thank you for being you.

- Jeramey J.


Dear Dad,

Thank you for always pushing me to be my best self, supporting me through my personal ups and downs, and giving me the freedom to find my own way. I could not have asked for a better Father / Coach / Friend. I love you, Dad!

-Mac M.


Work-Life Balance...Or Is It Just Life?

A big buzz phrase around the business world is work-life balance. Experts talk about how important it is to make sure you have a healthy balance between your job and your personal life. That is certainly one way to look at it, and for some, that might be the best way to look at it for themselves. At Pro Athlete, we have a different approach to this.

 We believe that if you create an amazing culture and an amazing place to go to work every day, then there is no work-life balance, it’s just life! At Pro Athlete, that experience doesn’t stop with you; it extends to your family and friends. We want them to be part of what we call the “Good Life” around here. Work hard, play hard, get results, and have fun at the office and at home. It’s the way we do business!

 Who made the rule that so many people seem to follow that says you should dread going into work the next day? If we knew who it was, we wouldn't be his or her biggest fan!  We have all made that moaning and groaning sound when our alarm clock goes off in the morning knowing you have to go into a job that maybe you aren’t passionate about. Because of that dreaded feeling and many other reasons, we have dedicated ourselves to try and never have anyone associated with our business feel that way again.  

Most of our employees look forward to coming into work because they have a place they can come hang out with friends, be challenged, be cared for, and accomplish goals together. To us, no balance is needed if you build it the right way. Why not make it fun and already balanced for everyone? After all, “if you build it they will come.”

George Brett steps back into the batter's box with Pro Athlete.

After 3,154 career hits, you would think Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett would be content enjoying retirement on a golf course. Instead, lucky for us, Brett dropped by Pro Athlete to provide us with some hits.

Brett is used to stopping in Pro Athlete. Months ago he dropped by to enjoy an updated tour of the facilities and lunch from Chef Nathan. And, of course, years ago he famously spent some time in our sauna.

With his renewed attention on his baseball bat company, Brett Brothers, Brett stepped back into the figurative batter’s box again. Donning a JustBats.com shirt, he spent the day filming segments about Brett Brothers’ baseball bats and Pro Athlete’s culture.

Brett even played a game in which he commented on off-the-wall topics, including Kansas City’s Eric Stonestreet, Netflix, the designated hitter, and RompHims. Stay tuned for these decidedly funny videos this summer.

Brett’s day at Pro Athlete was capped with a surprise lunch with former Royals’ teammate Fred Patek, who happened to be picking up some bats. The two enjoyed lunch and were able to catch up in our Ballpark Bistro. Pro Athlete, Inc….where pro athletes dine together. 

We enjoyed having George drop by, and we look forward to his future visits...and hits.

Bobbleheads and Disney Trips...Pro Athlete’s Recognition Program Explained

It’s not a secret that we obsess over treating our customers and employees like royalty and are constantly looking for that next new thing that might make a difference in someone's life. We do sell bats and gloves, but we like to believe we are doing a whole lot more than that. When it comes to our employees, we like to think outside of the box and continually strive to give back to them for their service and commitment to the Pro Athlete team.

As a way to honor the loyalty and tenure within our Company, we recognize employee service time milestones during our quarterly Around the Horn meetings. Without our employees, the successes of our Company would not be possible. These awards are just a small token of gratitude that we owe our employees for believing in us throughout the years. We aren’t big fans of secrets. So, we are going to give you all a sneak-peek behind the scenes at one of our favorite employee engagement programs.

Service Time Milestones and Awards:

1 Year of Service (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) - Rookie Replica Gold Glove

2 Years of Service (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) - Custom Bobblehead

3 Years of Service (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) - Baseball Trophy

4 Years of Service (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) - Personalized Bat

5 Years of Service (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) - Replica Silver Slugger Award

In appreciation for ongoing service, every 5 years (or hours equivalent for part-time employees) employees will be recognized and rewarded with a trip to the Pro Athlete Disney House in Orlando, Florida for themselves and their immediate family members. We pick up the tab on: round trip Southwest airline tickets for all immediate family members, accommodations for 6 nights, 7 days. Plus, we give our employees a $3,000 payroll bonus that is added to their paycheck anytime within 30 days of your scheduled trip. 

Pro Athlete Honors Local Officers for National Police Appreciation Week

It’s never a good sign when a fleet of law enforcement officers show up on your doorstep. Except today. We had the great privilege of hosting dozens of police officers from in and around the northland today at our office to celebrate National Police Appreciation Week. It was the least we could do in return for all that they do to keep our community safe.

During their visit they laughed, they joked and they even shared stories and talked some baseball. As always, it was great to give them a tour around our facility and to have our Chef treat them to a gourmet lunch before they headed back out into their respective communities.


On behalf of everyone at Pro Athlete, we want to thank the men and women of all the police departments in the Kansas City area and all those around the world.

Dear Mom,

Copy of Dear Mom,.png

One of our Core Values is Be Thankful and we all know how important a mother can be in our lives. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we reached out to some of our employees to get a quick thought about their mothers. Check it out, we call this segment Dear Mom:


Dear Mom,

Thank you for being my biggest fan. Because of you, I am becoming the man who you raised me to be. No matter what, I know I can count on you to be there. That's the best feeling in the world.

-Greg  M. 


Dear Mom,

Thank you for being my number one fan and for being the strongest person that I know!  Witnessing your strength, faith, and perseverance to overcome any obstacle that has ever stood in your way has never ceased to amaze me. Also, thank you for leading me in the right direction at a young age. It is because of you that I am able to make a living working in a field that I love. If it weren't for you networking for me while I was in high school to get a job with the Mizzou football team during college, I would have never made the connections that I've made since. You always put yourself last and for all of the aforementioned things I am forever grateful! Happy Mother's Day.

-Austin H. 


Dear Mom,

Thank you for never missing a single game I played in growing up, and there were a lot. A few years ago I learned to stop telling you when my KC Corporate Challenge events were anymore because you even showed up to one of those once! I think I was the only one with their mom watching them long jump at the KC Corporate Challenge! I have never seen anyone put other people first as much as you. It’s an unbelievable trait that I am fortunate to have been exposed to growing up. Working at a company that believes in that same value has made me appreciate you teaching me that even more. You’re as resilient as they come and we are proud to call you our mother and grandmother! You the Real MVP!

-Andrew D. 


Dear Mom,

Thank you for always being there for me no matter what. You have always been someone I can count on. I can't imagine being the person I am today without your love and support. Thank you so much! 

-Brett O. 


Dear Mom, 

It's impossible to put into words everything that I appreciate about you. Thank you for being there on the sidelines cheering me on in everything that I do. It doesn't go unrecognized, that you are and will continue to be my #1 fan.

-Cole S. 


Dear Mom,

Thanks for being the most selfless person I’ve ever met.  I’m truly grateful for the 15 years you spent shuttling me from game to game and practice to practice.  And you were always the loudest one there!  Thanks for being a great mom!

-Ryan W. 


Dear Mom,

Having a mother and friend like you while growing up is the greatest blessing I could have and I can’t thank you enough for shaping me into the person I am today. Thank you for the countless hugs, time spent raising our family, thank you for your laughter, for showing and spreading love to everyone around us, for the three hour traffic driving to practices every day five times a week by my side, and for even making me jealous when everyone in the team (volleyball) called you mom too because they loved you so much! Thank you for your support on the sidelines, and for teaching me to stay strong and sharp even when I am no longer walking on your side. So, here is to be raised by a strong woman that taught me and teach many others to be one and to raise one. Dear mom, I love you so much!

-Wanessa S. 


Dear Mom,

Thank you for all the life lessons you have taught me and always putting our needs before yours.  Thank you for “three/four” every weekend.  “Mema Judi” thanks for always making time to hang with our kids.  Thank you for taking a chance and starting Pro Athlete; that has changed so many lives.  You are such an awesome Mom, keep up the great work!  I love you and thank you for loving me the way you do.

-Scott H. 


Dear Mom,

Not a day goes by when I don't think of you and your amazing smile and energy for life. Even though our family has spent the last 10 Mother's Days without you, I love this great holiday because it reminds us of you and all of the great years you blessed us with. Love Always, your son.

-Chad M. 


Dear Mom,

Thank you for always being my biggest supporter through the good times and the bad. You have always been there for me and I appreciate everything. There's no words that can describe how amazing you have been to me. Thank you for everything!

-John G. 

Small Business Week Capped off with Chamber Breakfast

Since 1963, the Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners from all across the country during Small Business Week. As this week comes to a close, we wanted to take the time to reflect on the opportunities that we’ve had to connect and support other small businesses in Kansas City over the last few days. We’re proud to be considered a small business and don’t take a day for granted. We realize that we wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for our customers, lenders, vendors, and employees supporting us along the way.

At Pro Athlete, Inc., we’re a tight-knit group, and we like to have a lot of fun, but we also work and allow our employees to work as if they are running their own business. Many other great companies around Kansas City and the world have similar practices, and we are fortunate to get to learn from them. Recently, we have been able to get an up-close seat to learn a lot about nine other amazing KC Companies. How? Here is how!

We were fortunate enough to be recognized as one of the Top 10 Small Businesses in Kansas City by the KC Chamber of Commerce. The process is long and detailed, but very fun and informative.

While we are beyond honored to be in this class, we are also very lucky to get the chance to learn from some of KC’s finest businesses. From engineering firms to website developers, the companies represented were great. The CEOs of the top ten companies got together for a panel discussion on Thursday morning to provide more insight into their businesses. We were fortunate to be on-hand to hear from all of the talented and inspirational CEOs.

We want to thank the KC Chamber of Commerce for including us in this group. The hard work of the Chamber team is something truly special. The Chamber team and the judges have a difficult decision in front of them with these amazing finalists.

We also want to congratulate the other honorees:

Alpha Energy & Electric Inc.

Andrews McMeel Universal

BHC RHODES

Bob Hamilton Plumbing, Heating, A/C & Rooter

Code Koalas

Heritage Biologics, Inc.

KC Restoration

Paleterias Tropicana

Weave Gotcha Covered!  

During this process, we learned a lot about these companies and can’t thank them enough for what they have taught us and for what they are doing for business in Kansas City. The future of entrepreneurship and small businesses in Kansas City is looking “royally” great with companies like this leading the charge!

Pro Athlete’s Farm System Looking Strong After Epic “Take Your Child To Work Day”

We were blessed to get a chance to look deep into our farm system yesterday as fifteen kids came to Pro Athlete for Take Your Child to Work Day. We call it Rookie Day around here and we don’t do your typical routine of having them sit at a desk and watch their parents type all day.

The festivities kicked off like any sporting event, with the announcement of the starting lineups as each kid was announced and ran through a spirit tunnel of employees. From there, a local children’s book author read 3 books to the group and signed copies for everyone. Be sure to check out No Tooting at Tea by Alastair Heim! Great books for kids by a local author! There was also face painting, swimming, a makeshift movie theater on our racquetball court, volleyball, a bounce house, some helped our chef make lunch for the employees, and some even helped out in our shipping department.

Check out this video to get a behind-the-scenes look at all the fun:

Salvy Makes a “Splash” for Pro Athlete Employees

At Pro Athlete, we are very fortunate to get to do a lot of really cool things. Last Friday was another one of those times. Four Pro Athlete employees were given the honor of presenting Royals’ All-Star Catcher Salvador Perez with his Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards from the 2016 season.

This has been something that has become the norm since 2011. If a Royals’ player wins a Gold Glove or Silver Slugger, it is usually a member of our team on the field to give it out. We have to send a big shout out to our partners Rawlings and Louisville Slugger for giving us these amazing opportunities.

For those of you who know Pro Athlete, you know we have a very casual and relaxed dress code. For the ceremony, it was suggested to wear a suit and tie. Probably to the surprise of many of you reading this, the employees did have suits and ties and when it was all said and done, they looked presentable!

Before going on the field for the presentation, all the people who will be doing any pregame presentations are put in the media room to go over the details. It was a great honor to be in the room with members of our military and the person who would later sing the National Anthem. After that, all that is left is the walk from the media room to the tunnel and onto the field.

Now for a brief look into the minds of the Pro Athlete employees as they walk on the field and take their places for the presentation:

“Oh wow, there are a lot of people here.!”

“Don’t trip, just don’t trip”

“Don't step on the chalk line”

“Don’t drop this Silver Slugger or you will be on a blooper reel on youtube in minutes”

“Wow, that is really Salvy right here beside. I’m short”

“Dang, this Gold Glove award is heavy and hard to pick up. Just stay calm, it’s just 40,000 people watching you fumble this award.”

“I am glad we don’t have to wear suits to work everyday”

“Oh, that was a nice wave when they called his name, I think I will do that.”

“Am I really doing this right now?”

“You know you work at Pro Athlete, when you get to do this!”

Photo Courtesy: The Kansas City Royals

Photo Courtesy: The Kansas City Royals

Photo Courtesy: The Kansas City Royals

Photo Courtesy: The Kansas City Royals

Salvy was just as advertised. He was cracking jokes and was very thankful for the awards he was given. You see him on TV and see the passion and excitement he plays with and that held true during the presentation. He really did make a splash in the lives of those employees who were on the field for the presentation. Pro Athlete wants to thank Salvy for that.

The entire Royals staff was amazing and very helpful and organized during the whole thing. We want to thank them all! We were also very fortunate to get to share the moment with another one of our employees who also works for the Royals. He was in the Rawlings truck that drove the Gold Glove up to home plate.

Check out some pictures below!

#YouKnowYouWorkAtProAthleteWhen…..

Photos Courtesy: The Kansas City Royals & The Kansas City Star

Pro Athlete’s First Employee Lands Dream Job

Few people can say they were the first employee at a company unless they were an owner or founder. Even fewer people can say that they were a key part of getting the business up and running and on a path for growth from the beginning. In this blog post, you will meet employee #1 at Pro Athlete and learn a little about his journey and how that journey has lead him to his dream job.

Meet Dave Baker, Parkville, MO native and Pro Athlete’s first ever employee. For thirteen years Dave worked at Pro Athlete while holding every job you can imagine. He answered phones, shipped products, planned events, bought bats and gloves, and even painted the walls. He was the definition of a true team player. Pro Athlete was like home for Dave, and he made sure that all of our business partners felt the same way about Pro Athlete. He was a master at building relationships.

Throughout his time working at Pro Athlete, Dave also coached football and baseball on the side to feed his passion for coaching and working with kids. As the years passed, that passion for helping kids on the field became a big focus for Dave. At that point, he knew he was meant to be in education and as amazing as Pro Athlete was, he had a bigger calling. In 2013 he left Pro Athlete in pursuit of his dream to become a full-time teacher/coach. He went back and finished up his education and worked some part-time teaching jobs here and there at the same time.

With all of the experience and education behind him, he was able to land his dream job as a Middle School Special Education teacher within the Platte County school district. In addition to his time during the school day, he’ll also assist in the coaching of both varsity football and baseball. Dave credits Pro Athlete and is thankful for the time he was able to spend in the early years of what was then Pro Athlete Sporting Goods.

“My time at Pro Athlete really did help me get to where I am today. I learned a lot; I learned the most about chasing your dreams and figuring out what you really want to do. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to serve a purpose to local athletes, and my community. That’s exactly what I’m able to do.”

In 2016 Dave was inducted into the Pro Athlete, Inc. inaugural Hall of Fame class. Dubbed The Giver in his Hall of Fame bio, Dave’s legacy at Pro Athlete will live on forever. We want to congratulate Dave on his recent Hall of Fame induction and also for landing his dream job. From employee #1 to Hall of Fame member and now to educator and coach. What an amazing path for an amazing person!

Once A Pro, Always A Pro is a saying we use around here a lot. It’s pretty easy to see why!

If KC Corporate Challenge Banners Could Talk….

It's a safe bet to say that at Pro Athlete, we take the Kansas City Corporate Challenge pretty serious. We have been fortunate to have some very gifted and dedicated employees who have put it all on the line the past 5 years, resulting in 5 straight championships. We love it so much, we decided to design and hang championship banners in the rafters in our gym at work.

If KC Corporate Challenge banners could talk, the 2016 banner would be begging the good people of Pro Athlete for a neighbor to its west. Check out the picture below and be sure to check out the KC Corporate Challenge results all season long. KCCC is one of the coolest things for businesses in Kansas City. Let the games begin!

PS - If you are in our Stay Connected group, please come by our tailgate spot at the KCCC Kick-Off Tailgate on Friday April 7th. We are located at B-1.

Happy Birthday, JustBallGloves

We like to celebrate big days at Pro Athlete, Inc. Treats are readily handed out throughout the day on Opening Day, employees receive a customized bobblehead of their likeness on their second anniversary, and birthdays...well...everyone knows when it’s your birthday.

Birthday recognition isn’t just for our employees, it includes our websites too. Pro Athlete celebrates a birthday in December, JustBats.com is a Libra, but March is for JustBallGloves.com.

On March 15, 2001, JustBallGloves.com was born. The business strategy hasn’t changed since then. You want the perfect baseball glove or softball glove? JustBallGloves.com will get it to you on time, every time, exactly as promised.

To celebrate JustBallGloves.com being old enough to drive a car, we kept it simple. Passing savings to our customers and delivering a quality experience is the best way to celebrate.

Pro Athlete employees receive a special gift card on their birthday, as well as recognition throughout the company. Don’t be surprised if Chef Nathan makes a special breakfast or lunch for you on your special day too.

So, happy birthday, JustBallGloves.com. And, have a happy birthday whenever your special day may fall.

Company Library Becomes Namesake for Small Business Guru and Pro Athlete Hall of Famer

Today we formerly dedicated our library to the man behind the inspiration for that library. We are proud to introduce the world to the Michael E. Gerber Library at Pro Athlete.  

“Every Business is a School.” Those words from Michael E. Gerber, the author of the E-Myth Revisited were the inspiration for our library and our Core Value, to Create a University Setting. As a business, our job is to expand our employees’ life skills and to give our employees more life.  We want our employees to leave us more educated than when they walked in. One way to help accomplish this goal is with our company library.  

In our library, we currently have approximately 500 different titles available for employees and their families to check out free of charge. We understand that employees like to learn in different ways, so we offer hard copies and audiobooks of all titles.

Our university setting here isn’t just about becoming smarter so you can do your job better. We will get any books to help make an employee’s life better. One example is that we have had many book club sessions over the last few years about real estate. We now have a couple of employees that invest in real estate on the side to create some extra income and add to their retirement planning.

If we don’t have a title in the library that an employee is looking for, the employee can request it, and the book will be ordered that day. If we only have two (2) copies of an audiobook and both are checked out, our software will not allow a 3rd book to be checked out until one of the checked out copies comes back. If it is going to be a while for the book to be returned, we will order another copy for the library.  

Here’s a list of the top books checked out of the Michael E. Gerber Library by Pro Athlete employees:  

Having company book clubs and all these titles on-site has helped our business over the years. The above titles give a great sense of how we run our company here. Since most employees have read these books, there becomes a language around the building on how and why we do things the way we do.  

 

New Logo Has “Core” Meaning for Pro Athlete

After having a logo for a while, sometimes you just want to update it because you feel like it. There might not be anything wrong with the current one, but a fresh look just feels right.

That was the case for us when we enlisted the help of our good friends at Dimensional Innovations (DI) a few months ago. (They are an amazing company, by the way). We asked them to design us a new logo, but what we received was so much more.

At Pro Athlete, we love to have deep meanings on everything we do, and we also love to be able to tell stories about those things. DI knew that about us from previous work they had done. On the first round of options, they came back to us with five or six logos to consider. While they were all good, one logo stood out because of the story behind it.

The logo had a home plate incorporated into it, but it wasn’t just any old home plate. This plate contained 12 lines in it that represented our 12 Core Values. We were blown away by the creativity and deeper meaning that DI put into our logo. We instantly knew that was the one we wanted. After a few rounds of minor tweaks and color options, we agreed to our new and improved logo.

We want to say thank you to DI for delivering an amazing product for our company.

So, let’s check it out already. 

Below you will see our logo package consisting of four logo variations.

Our History of Logos

“Hangin’ Loose” With Raving Fans

If someone started telling you a story and it began with “two pastors walk into Pro Athlete,” you might think they were about to tell you a joke. Well, this blog post is going to talk about two pastors that walked into our office and how their visit left an everlasting impression on our company and our employees.

The pastors were Keven and Gordon from California and Hawaii respectively. The guys were in town for a work conference, and Keven was apparently a JustBats.com (a Pro Athlete brand) super fan.

Keven had purchased bats from JustBats.com for years and loved getting routine emails with new product releases or deals on bats. His son is 16 years old and had been playing baseball competitively for a long time. On paper, he was the ideal customer for our organization. In turned out he was much more than that.

On Tuesday of this week, Keven flew into Kansas City from California, and as the plane was about to land at the airport in Kansas City, he looked out his window and saw a familiar logo. On the rooftop in big bold letters and as clear as day was the JustBats.com logo that he was so familiar with. He had bought bats from JustBats for years and never knew what city their headquarters was located.

As he continued his work trip, he found himself with some time before his next engagement, and he decided he wanted to see where JustBats was located. He grabbed his friend Gordon, and they went to the facility. They were welcomed inside and what would happen over the course of the next few hours will go down in Pro Athlete history.

Keven and Gordon turned out to be two of the coolest and most thankful people to grace the Pro Athlete halls. They were like kids in a candy store as the small posse of tour guides assembled to escort them around the building. The protein shakes, a game of ping pong against a Pro Athlete employee, pictures with the Gold Glove Award and apparel made them feel at home. And they made us feel at home too.

As cool as the tour was for Keven and Gordon, it was Pro Athlete that really won on that day. The employees who got to interact with Keven and Gordon were reminded just how impactful their work can be for people all around the country.

As an e-commerce company, it’s rare to get the chance to meet a loyal fan in person. Today, Pro Athlete was given that chance, and for that we will forever be indebted to Keven and Gordon.

Yesterday will go down as one of the coolest days in our history. Someone actually saw the JustBats logo we put on the roof a couple of years ago. We never thought that was going to happen. Then to get the chance to meet two great people who were fans of ours was priceless. From all of us at Pro Athlete, we wanted to say thank you to Keven and Gordon. We too will forever be fans of yours!

#HangLoose

4 Misconceptions & 4 Truths About Pro Athlete

We put a short list of common misconceptions together about Pro Athlete to clear up any confusion about us. There are several, but these are our favorites. We also threw in some truths.

Misconceptions

1. You are a Sports Agency that represents professional athletes.

That would be awesome! We are fortunate to have current and former athletes come by sometimes, but we aren’t their agents. If we were agents though, we would model ourselves after Jerry Maguire of course.

2. You had to play sports in the past to work here.

We do have a lot of former athletes that are drawn to our culture, and we like the mindset of former competitive athletes in the business world, but we don’t want an office full of just athletes. We want diversity in the way we think.

Now, we will have you run the 40 yd dash, see how many fastballs you can hit at 90 mph and test your vertical jump during the interview process, but what company doesn’t do that right????

3. All you do is play. There is no work done there.

While it might seem that way on tours, our team puts in a lot of time and effort to make this thing work. Excuse the cliche, but our team tends to work smarter, not harder. We are blessed to have a great group of people here. Not to mention, we believe you should have have fun at work. Why not!

4. Your company name is Pro Athletics and your best website is Just4Bats.com.

Not true at all. We will even get people who are applying to work here during an interview call us Pro Athletics. Just4Bats is another one we get all the time.

Truths

1. We have the best Chef.

We are super spoiled here to get free food everyday. And it’s not just your run-of-the-mill lunch items. We do Sushi, lamb chops, salmon, fresh vegetables, Pho, etc. The list goes on and on and our Chef is amazing. If you mention you like a certain thing one day, BOOM, it will be an option to eat the next day.

2. We have our JustBats.com logo on our roof.

Yep, this is true. We are close to the airport, so we thought it would be cool to see our logo when flying in and out of KCI. So far we haven’t had anyone let us know they saw it (oops), so maybe you will be the first!

3. We obsess over treating our employees and customers like royalty.

We don’t know any other way to do it. It feels right and it’s fun. We were all raised by our parents to always try to do the right thing. As simple as that message is, we still try to follow that message in our business.

4. We are protective of our culture.

There isn’t a more stone-cold truth on this list than this one. Getting a job with us is like hitting for the cycle. It’s hard and not a lot of people do it. We aren’t trying to be arrogant, we have just invested a lot of time into creating a cool culture. One wrong hire can ruin it for everyone that is already here.

A lot of people reach out to try and get in and we tell them all the same thing. We tell them to do something to separate themselves from everyone else in that stack. And separating yourself for us never comes in the form of a resume. We hire for culture first and skills second, so the best way to get in is to prove to us that you fit the culture and can enhance it.

Hopefully we were able to clear up any confusion you might have had about us. So, if you are interested in working at Pro Athletics, please send us record of how many reps you can bench press at 225 lbs. Deal? If you can’t, don’t worry it’s not a deal breaker.

Umbrellas, Darts and a Whole Lot of Brains

Yep, umbrellas inside the building. Not the small umbrella you carry with you when it rains, we are talking the big patio umbrellas you use. We have one in the Development Department at Pro Athlete. Programmers don’t always like lights, so when some of the people in the section do, something has to give. Or one person just got resourceful and went and brought in a huge umbrella to keep his workstation dark. This is just one example of the type of things we see from our Programmers at Pro Athlete.

They are one of the most crucial parts of our team as they help us build, maintain and grow our websites and internal applications. They truly are the brains behind our operation and we are so thankful to have them. Traditionally you would think that a group of Programmers wouldn’t really care to work at a company called Pro Athlete because they might not be interested in sports. Maybe some are, maybe some aren’t, but we don’t care. They fit our Core Values and that is what matters most.

So what is it like to be a Programmer at Pro Athlete? Well, why don’t we let some of our team tell you?

The Perfect (Vino) Pair

Creating a positive and interactive company culture is something that we care deeply about at Pro Athlete, Inc. A perfect example occurred last night; we hosted one of our annual Delish! Events for our employees and their guests to attend. We host Delish! events throughout the year to build on the relationships within Pro Athlete via food and drink.

Last night Pro Athlete Alumni member Mike Kearns and his wife Mindy shared their story of Vino Pair. It’s through this new business venture that Mike and Mindy hope to solve the 21st-century problem of what food and wine to pair together.

But this wasn't your typical wine tasting. Mike and Mindy were clear that when it comes to pairing foods with wine, you need to start with the basics and slowly add in different types and tastes of food. Not only did the wine and food combinations pair perfectly (sort of like bats and gloves), but everyone learned the importance of the order in which you pair the two.

Several employees joined Mike and Mindy, along with our very own Chef Nathan, as they sampled some of Vino’s best hand-selected wines and food pairings. These events help to encourage our employees to bring in their families to enjoy and savor the moments and the memories that we create at Pro Athlete, Inc.

To learn more about Mike & Mindy’s #PairAndShare adventure head on over to their website: https://www.vinopair.com

Pro Athlete Employees’ Dedication to Wellness Pays Off Again

We were fortunate to once again be recognized as the Healthiest Company in Kansas City by the KC Biz Journal for companies our size. It’s an amazing accomplishment and a true testament to our Core Value of Creating a Healthy Work Environment.

The point of this post isn’t to talk about the recognition of this award for our company. If you want to read more about that, you can check it out on the Biz Journal website.The point of this post is to recognize and thank the true people behind this award. That is our awesome employees!

When you attend the awards banquet for Healthiest Employers or read about it in the Biz Journal, it’s really great to hear about the cool things that companies are doing, but it’s even better to hear the success stories of the employees. The person who did biometric screenings at his company and found something that didn’t look quite right, and that in turn lead to saving his life. The person who was struggling with smoking and the company wellness program really helped push that person to quit the habit. Or how about the person who wanted to lose weight to feel better about themselves each day and the wellness program at her company gave her the opportunity to do that. That’s what it’s all about.

People always ask us “how much money do you save on your premiums by doing all this wellness stuff?” That question has quite frankly really started to wear us out because that’s not what this is all about. It’s not about how much money you save, it’s about how many lives you save or change for the better. The money savings is a factor, but for us it’s nowhere near the most important.

We are most proud of the movement around Kansas City and the world that we have been fortunate to be a part of over the past couple years. A movement where businesses use the influence they have in the world and put it to good use for the people who put it on the line for them everyday. There isn’t a better feeling than that.

Congratulations to the other companies recognized and more so, congratulations to the employees of those companies. It’s awesome to be part of such a great community dedicated to wellness.

In closing, thank you to the Pro Athlete employees and their families who are a part of this as well. You deserve all the credit for this accomplishment and the everlasting imPAct it will have on the Kansas City community.