Core Value Spotlight: Be Thankful

At Pro Athlete we have 12 Core Values that we use to make every single decision in our business. They are, without a doubt, the most important part of what makes us who we are. Our twelfth Core Value Spotlight is about how we encourage all of our employees to Be Thankful.

 

“The greatest feeling in the world is to win a major league game. The second greatest feeling is to lose a major league game.” This notable quote from Chuck Tanner reminds us that within every experience there is something to be thankful for.


At Pro Athlete, we are thankful for all of our customers, team members, partners, and community members who have collectively supported our business over all of the years. Here are a few Pro Athlete employees breaking down what it means to them to Be Thankful.

8 Tips to Build Your Corporate Wellness Program

We don’t claim to be experts on Corporate Wellness, but we built a program here at Pro Athlete that fits our needs. Check out some tips on how we did it:

1. Don’t force it on your employees

You want to create a culture where wellness is prevalent in everything you do. Don’t overpower your employees with lofty weight loss goals or miles per week goals. Create an environment where wellness easily fits into their day. You will have employees who run multiple marathons a year to employees who might reach a big goal by walking for 5 minutes a day. Build the environment where no matter what your goals are, they can be achieved.

2. Even a little something is better than nothing

Don’t stress if you can’t allocate the funds to build a state-of-the-art workout facility. Our program started with one treadmill over 20 years ago and has turned into what it is today. Start there! Or maybe start with a yearly biometric screening process at your facility. As you continue to implement things, you will see what sticks for you and what doesn’t. You won’t nail it right out of the gate, because what works for us might not work for you or another company. But, don’t make the excuse that because we can’t build an amazing facility that we just shouldn’t waste our time. Start with something and then your employees will end up helping you build out the rest.

3. Build it for YOUR business

What makes sense at Pro Athlete might not make sense at Company X. So, if you are building your wellness program, build it for your culture and for your employees. Don’t assume you know what the employees want, ask them. Let them be involved from the beginning and the buy-in will come much easier. We ended up building our own wellness app because the options that we found weren’t curtailed enough to our business and how we wanted our program to work. You don’t have to do this, but make sure you stay true to your culture and values when creating the program.

4. But also get inspired by others

Just because you are building the program for your team and your culture doesn’t mean you can’t get some ideas from other companies. Get out in your city and tour some companies that have wellness programs in place. You know that if their program is awesome enough that you have heard about it, that they sure won’t turn down an opportunity to show it to you.

5. Keep it fresh

Once you have the program rolled out, the real work begins. Now it’s time to continue to improve it. Just like your personal wellness goals that you set to improve yourself, make sure you are constantly trying to improve the program as well. Try to add something new every year to keep people excited.

6. Measure, measure, measure

We don’t mean waist size on this one, but if your program works, you might have some people dropping a few sizes. On this, we mean to set goals and measure progress. Wellness is a roller coaster for everyone. Anyone who tells you they haven’t taken a ride on the wellness roller coaster is lying to you. Don’t let your people get discouraged when they struggle. Use the program to prop them up and give them the desire and support of their peers to get back in line. You can do all this by keeping track of your progress.

7. Celebrate your successes

With your awesome new program implemented and employees seeing changes in how they feel, don’t forget to celebrate. We do a lot of different things here, but one thing we found works is recognition in our Wellness Hall of Fame. We are a sports company with a lot of competitive people and there isn’t anything better than seeing your name enshrined in a hall of fame forever. We also recognize wellness accomplishments at our quarterly all-staff meetings. We have seen several employees moved to tears to hear the stories of accomplishments. Get excited and celebrate the fact that you just created a culture that puts employee wellness at the top.

8. Cherish your successes

A well-done program can see some results that you never would have imagined. You might help an employee with early detection of cancer through biometric screening, or you might help someone struggling with addiction find a promising path forward. Be proud of the things your wellness program has done for your employees. Big or small successes, they are all important. If you take nothing else away from this article, please take this. When we say to be proud of the successes, at Pro Athlete, we don’t mean anything related to saving money. Sure, that would be a great benefit to go along, but never build your program to try and save on premiums or it will never work. Build it because it’s the right thing to do for your employees. If you do that, your program will be a success!

Click here to learn more about our wellness program

Pro Athlete Hosts Send-Off for Area Olympians

Since the beginning, we have made a commitment to our business, employees and customers to get involved and become active in our community. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to embrace stewardship and give back to several meaningful organizations within the Kansas City area. However, over the last few years, we have turned our focus more towards the importance of donating time and getting involved in addition to donating funds to organizations.

Just last week, we were able to give back without leaving our facility. Last Friday, Special Olympics Team Missouri, along with their families and coaches, stopped by our facility for one final send-off party before heading to compete in the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.

When the athletes first arrived, we welcomed them into our facility with open arms and lead them to our fulfillment center where they repacked their bags in uniformed team luggage. Once all of the bags were packed, all of the athletes, coaches and their guests made their way to the Sport Court where they were officially welcomed by Steven St. John from 810 Sports Radio and former Missouri Tiger and Kansas City Chief, Martin Rucker.

After the short presentation, and a barbecue lunch prepared by our very own Chef Nathan, the athletes made their way to three different sections of our building and rotated between stations. The three stations consisted of free services and activities such as manicures, massages, batting practice and pop-a-shot. Each athlete from Team Missouri even left their signature on our 410 Center Field wallpad alongside other Kansas City athletes like Travis Kelce, George Brett, and Matt Besler.

To their surprise, as one final celebration, all of our employees took a moment to step away from their desks to create a spirit tunnel that led throughout our facility. Each athlete was high fived and wished well before climbing onto the bus and beginning their journey to the US Special Olympics. Officers from the Kansas City Missouri Police Department escorted Team MO to the KCI airport where they caught a flight to Seattle, Washington where this year’s games are held.


For the last week, the same athletes that were walking around our facility have been competing in their specific sport in hopes of bringing back gold to Missouri! Follow their journey and success live from Seattle here.

Pro Athlete Named 7x Corporate Challenge Champion!

For the past eight years, we have competed in the Kansas City Corporate Challenge. If you are unfamiliar, KCCC is a series of various Olympic-type athletic events where companies across the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area compete and interact with each other. We are happy to announce that we just clinched our seventh straight title.

 

As the two-and-a-half month season comes to a close, we wanted to take some time to highlight and look back on all of the successes that we have been fortunate enough to accomplish this year. Overall, we had nine 1st place finishes, four 2nd place finishes and two 3rd place finishes! The softball team has won gold for seven straight years! In five of the eight years that we have participated in KCCC, fishing has won gold!

For the past eight years, we have competed in the Kansas City Corporate Challenge. If you are unfamiliar, KCCC is a series of various Olympic-type athletic events where companies across the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area compete and interact with each other. We are happy to announce that we just clinched our seventh straight title.


A special shout-out goes to Derek R., Mac M, Gypsy B., and Ellen H. Derek (15 events) and Mac (13 events) were the top men participants this year while Gypsy (16 events) and Ellen (14 events) were the top women participants!

This year, we competed in Division I and squared off against some other excellent companies such as: FanThreeSixty, Apex Sports Medicine, Ad Astra Information Systems, and Xenometrics.

Core Value Spotlight: Focus on Results, Not Work

At Pro Athlete, we have twelve Core Values that we use to make every single decision in our business. Our Core Values are, without a doubt, the most important part of what makes us who we are!

Our eleventh Core Value Spotlight hits on how we encourage all of our employees to Focus on Results, Not Work. Inspired by Shoeless Joe Jackson’s notable quote, “When I was up there at the plate, my purpose was to get on base any way I could, whether by hitting or getting hit.”

At Pro Athlete, we like to encourage all of our employees to find their purpose and position within the company. Once they do, we encourage them to not work just to work, but to do work that matters and that continues to push the company forward as a whole.

Here are a few real Pro Athlete employees breaking down what it means to Focus on Results, Not Work.

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 further 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. We take the idea of putting your Family First very seriously around here. So much so that we’ve formed one of our Core Values after it. With Father’s Day weekend upon us, we sat down with a few of our employees and asked them to write letters to their fathers in a segment we like to call "Dear Dad".

Pro Athlete Teams Up with Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters

Whether AM or PM, our Crown Coffee Shop always has freshly brewed coffee and cold brew on tap ready to give our employees and guests a boost. Right at the entrance of our building, it provides a gathering place for morning chit chat and after lunch brainstorming. Because of the popularity of the space, we decided to partner with a pretty cool roastery who has mastered the art of “coffee done right.” We are proud to announce our partnership with Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters.

DSC00857.jpg

If you aren’t familiar, Thou Mayest is a local coffee roasting company located in the Crossroads Art District. Started in 2012 by friends Bo Nelson and Bill Holzhueter, Thou Mayest has exploded onto the coffee scene creating bold coffee and providing one of the coolest coffee shops this side of the Mississippi. They follow the motto “take fun seriously” and let their coffee do the talking.

DSC00908.jpg

In preparation for this partnership, Bo and Bill invited some of our most avid coffee drinkers to their spot for some product tasting. Employees were able to sample each roast, learn flavor profiles and take in the vibe of Thou Mayest with both co-founders leading the way. With it’s comfy and cool atmosphere, we were able to see why it’s such a popular hangout spot. Our employees left the visit with an excitement for the partnership and a slight caffeine buzz.


We are so lucky that Kansas City is home to so many entrepreneurial and innovative companies. Companies like Thou Mayest inspire and motivate us (as well as keep us caffeinated) and we are thankful to work with them. The next time you visit, be sure to grab a cup of joe from our Crown Coffee Shop and enjoy!

Pro Athlete honors local veterans over the Memorial Day holiday

In honor of the Memorial Day holiday last week, we extended the invitation to a special Kansas City organization, War Horses for Veterans, for an impromptu trip to our facility. As a small token of our gratitude for all they have done, we wanted to host them for a special tour and lunch in their honor. We were so grateful that War Horses for Veterans agreed.

War Horses for Veterans is a local organization that provides veterans with a three-day equine and networking experience. Using horses to heal, this special organization creates a safe and relaxing space for our country’s veterans.

With the help of co-founder Patrick Benson, we hosted 15 veterans in total. We started their visit with a tour of our facility. Several of our employees led our guests throughout the building, answering any questions they had. After the extensive tour, Chef Nathan hosted them in our Ballpark Bistro for a lemon baked cod and risotto lunch. Veterans and employees were able to meet and mingle.

The most impactful part of their visit was after lunch when everyone (and we mean everyone) headed up to 6-4-3 for a presentation from the veterans. As a company, we made the executive decision to briefly shut down our operations. We felt that the opportunity to listen to the stories and experiences of local veterans was important enough to have every employee present.

We want to thank our friends from War Horses for Veterans for taking the time to visit us last Friday.

We’re always looking for ways that our employees can give time and/or money to local charities in need as part of our Embrace Stewardship core value.

Pro Athlete Hosts Pop-Up Patio Party

As the days get warmer it’s clear that summer is near here in Kansas City and that our employees are spending more and more time working outside when the weather allows and as we announced that we were in the process of expanding our open patio area.

Earlier this week, we were able to have our grand opening when we shutdown our business operations and surprised all of our employees with a Pop-Up Patio Party.

Just yesterday, we had our “official” grand opening of the Ballpark Bistro Patio. Complete with live music performed by Minor Rewind, drinks and snacks put together by Chef Nathan and members of our Hospitality team.

As we head into the summer months, we can guarantee that this won’t be the last time the newly expanded Ballpark Bistro Patio is used for work and play.

Core Value Spotlight: Build Redundancy

At Pro Athlete we have 12 Core Values that we use to make every single decision in our business. They are, without a doubt, the most important part of what makes us who we are!

 

Our tenth Core Value Spotlight is about how we encourage all of our employees to Build Redundancy. Inspired by Yogi Berra’s notable quote, “This is like Déjà vu all over again.”


At Pro Athlete, we like to empower and encourage all of our employees to donate both their time and money to charities and organizations that are close to their heart. Here are a few real Pro Athlete employees breaking down what it means to Build Redundancy.

Rookie Day Rewind: Our Take on Take Your Child to Work Day

Last week, we had the great opportunity to invite several of our future Pros into our facility to celebrate Take Your Child to Work Day.

In true Pro Athlete fashion, we took the traditional aspects of Take Your Child to Work Day and renamed and reworked the day to fit the untraditional workplace and workspaces that we’re known for. Not only were they invited into our facility, they also got to team up with their parents to learn more about their job and what life is like working at Pro Athlete.

The “Rookies”, as we call them, learned all about the ordering, fulfillment and distribution processes of what it takes from the moment an order is placed on JustBats.com or JustBallGloves.com until the order arrives at its final destination.

After a few hours learning about the systems and processes that keep our business up and running, the Rookies took to the Sport Court and rotated through several different stations of activities involving a wide variety of games and activities that their parents often participate in as a part of our wellness program.  

After time on the Sport Court, the Rookies spent some time in Studio ‘87 in a condensed version of our assisted stretching and yoga classes. The day came to a close with some time in the Ballpark Bistro enjoying a healthy lunch prepared by Chef Nathan paired with face-painting before the Rookies spent the remaining afternoon with their parents exploring Pro Athlete individually.

Year after year, it's rewarding to see all of the kiddos walk away with more and more knowledge about how we operate our business. One day, maybe they will be the ones running the show. 

Gettin’ Comfy

You never know what type of opportunity might be waiting for you on the other end of a voicemail or email that you receive. We didn’t know either when we received an email to our general company email account from Brandi Russell.

She started by saying that she was not the founder or CEO of her company Comfy Cup. It was her 12-year-old son Kyler who was the founder and CEO. She called herself “Kyler’s Mom and CO-CEO.” She had us hooked right then and there for so many reasons.

She had a company that dealt with baseball (like us), the name of the company was super cool, and it was founded by someone who couldn’t watch an R-rated movie yet. Most of us were thinking about school, sports, video games, friends and so many other things at 12...not starting a business. How cool is it that Kyler started his own company before he was a teenager? Get this, they also got to give a pitch at a 1Million Cups event in Kansas City. Check out their video here.

We are so thankful the Comfy Cup team reached out to us and we look forward to continuing to build our relationship to benefit both companies. If you haven’t checked them out, head over to TheComfyCup.com or check out their listing on Amazon to get one today!

Here is Co-CEO Brandi Russell on the relationship between Comfy Cup and Pro Athlete!

Core Value Spotlight: Embrace Stewardship

At Pro Athlete we have 12 Core Values that we use to make every single decision in our business. They are, without a doubt, the most important part of what makes us who we are!

Our ninth Core Value Spotlight is about how we encourage all of our employees to Embrace Stewardship. Inspired by Jackie Robinson’s notable quote, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

At Pro Athlete, we like to empower and encourage all of our employees to donate both their time and money to charities and organizations that are close to their heart. Here are a few real Pro Athlete employees breaking down what it means to Embrace Stewardship.

Ballpark Bistro Expands Open Patio Area

At Pro Athlete, we’re all about striving to continually innovate. We’re always innovating our practices, our perks, benefits, and even our facility to better cater to the needs of our employees.

For years we have had an outdoor space next to our cafeteria, which we call Ballpark Bistro. Employees would go to eat lunch in this area when the weather was nice. We had a few tables and chairs that rarely accommodated the number of people that wanted to be outside.

This past year, we decided to upgrade the space to allow for more use. We doubled the square footage and increased the number of seats. We added new tables, chairs, a bar ledge, and a new sunshade to make the space feel like a real patio you would see at a restaurant. Soon, we'll be adding a TV and a new speaker system. This space should get a lot of use when the weather is nice here in Kansas City.

New Toy is a “Hit” for Pro Athlete Employees

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take batting practice at your favorite major league ballpark? Imagine trying to hit a ball into the Kauffman Stadium fountains or over the Green Monster at Fenway Park or maybe into the B&O Warehouse in right field at Camden Yards. With the help of our newest toy, HitTrax, now you can.

HitTrax has sensors that measure swing speed, ball exit speed, and many other things during each and every swing you take in our cage. It also allows you to put yourself inside any ballpark and it will show the path that your ball is taking after you hit it. Another cool feature for all of us washed up hitters, is the ability to bring the fences in closer to home plate at any of these ballparks, so you ensure you knock it out of the park.

Since rolling out HitTrax, our employees have been spending more time in the cage perfecting their swings in anticipation of our September company baseball game. And while HitTrax is a fun toy, it is also a very valuable tool for any serious baseball player looking to improve their swing. The data that it captures from each swing is very valuable for making adjustments.


We want to thank the team over at HitTrax for providing us with an awesome new toy.

Was That A Ballpark Inside Union Station?

DSC00152.jpg
DSC00180.jpg

Local businesses came together this past Wednesday for the annual KC Chamber Small Business Showcase inside of the historic Union Station. Around 80 Kansas City companies took part in the event that drew a large crowd of local professionals who wanted to learn more about the participating companies.

Pro Athlete, Inc. was honored to be considered alongside all of these amazing companies. When we were trying to decide what our booth should look like, it was pretty clear to our team that if the point of the booth was to give people a look inside your company, then we needed to build a ballpark. From turf, to foul poles and everything in between, we created a mini stadium that we called BeaPro Park. We did this in honor of our first website, www.beapro.com. One of the big things that caught the eyes of those walking around was our “Crown Vision.” Crown Vision was a tv system that showcased a welcome message to all who entered BeaPro Park and it also displayed some of our company statistics.

Being a baseball company, we felt that it was only right that one of our giveaways would be tickets to a Kansas City Royals game. So, we offered up four Diamond Club tickets in a drawing. We did another drawing that we believe was the best one we have done to date. In honor of our company charity program, where we give each employee $1,500 every year to donate to the charity, or charities, of their choice, we decided to do that same thing for one lucky winner. To the name that was drawn, we agreed to donate $1,500 to a charity of the winner’s choice.

It was a great experience to see so many awesome companies and people from the Kansas City area come together to celebrate small businesses. Union Station was an excellent location for the event and the KC Chamber staff knocked it out of the park (pun intended). We can’t thank the staff enough for their work on everything that went into this fun and exciting event.

 

 

 

Core Value Spotlight: Be Resourceful

At Pro Athlete we have 12 Core Values that we use to make every single decision in our business. They are, without a doubt, the most important part of what makes us who we are!

 

Our eighth Core Value Spotlight is about how we encourage all of our employees within every department to Be Resourceful. Inspired by Tommy Lasorda’s notable quote, “There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens.”


At Pro Athlete, we like to believe that by being resourceful we have the ability to do our best work and to continue to innovate and implement the latest and greatest technology to continue to grow our business in each and every area. Here are a few real Pro Athlete employees breaking down what it means to Be Resourceful.

16 Reasons Why Employees Think We Are a Best Place to Work in Kansas City

Since our inception in 1987, Pro Athlete, Inc. has cultivated a one-of-a-kind environment that has translated into a fun place for our customers, alumni, vendors, lenders, friends, and visitors. We’ve been recognized by Kansas City Business Journal and KC Chamber, as well as nationally for our cool and healthy office.

But, do you know the main reasons people want to work here? Here are the top sixteen reasons why employees think Pro Athlete, Inc is a best place to work in Kansas City.

  1. Charity Program. One of our core values is Embrace Stewardship, and we give charitable causes a bear hug, in that regard. Every employee receives a generous annual allotment to give to any charitable organization(s) they choose. We also continuously volunteer as a company for YMCA Challenger, Gloves For Kids, Noah’s Bandage Project, and many more.

  2. Keep It Local. Our coffee shop, Pro Shop, and on-site bar all support local companies. This includes Charlie Hustle tee shirts, Boulevard beer in 6-4-3, and many more local spots are proudly aligned with so our hometown is given plenty of love.

  3. Privately Owned. Locally-owned and no public pressure. At just over 50 employees, Pro Athlete, Inc. easily leverages each employee’s skills and abilities to do more with less. This also gives us the flexibility to spoil employees with better perks.

  4. Free Breakfast and Lunch. Have you met our on-site, culinary-expert Chef Nathan? He cooks up made-to-order eggs every morning, as well as five-star, health-conscious lunches every day. These are at no cost to employees.

  5. Famous Visitors. By virtue of running JustBats.com and JustBallGloves.com, a number of well-known ballplayers have walked our halls. George Brett, Adam Dunn, Michele Smith, Travis Kelce, Matt Besler, and more have enjoyed our hidden treasure. See who else has visited.

  6. 100% Healthy. Always a KCBJ Healthiest Place to Work and nationally-recognized for our efforts, we’re very health-conscious. We are true believers in preventing high-risk diseases by encouraging all of our employees to lead and live a healthy, tobacco-free lifestyle, which is why we have an on-site personal trainer. Seriously.

  7. Interest-Free Home Loan. Looking to buy a house? We help our employees. Salaried employees who have served, at least, one year are eligible for an interest-free loan of $5,000 toward the purchase of their first home.

  8. Oh, Baby! One of our newest perks is our Baby Bonus Program. A new baby means a new addition to our family too, so employees that become new parents are given a monetary bonus and a gift basket featuring Kansas City goodies, gift certificates, baby necessities, and (of course) baby’s first baseball glove.

  9. We’re Competitive. Six years in a row we’ve won our Kansas City Corporate Challenge division. We also have employee tournaments, including pickleball, dodgeball, and racquetball, going year-round. It’s okay to have fun at work too.

  10. Unlimited PTO. Pro Athlete, Inc. is a holistic culture. That means no bosses or managers. Everyone self-manages themselves and that means our full-time, salaried employees control their paid-time-off and self-dictate when their work gets done.

  11. 100% Company Paid Healthcare Coverage. We pay 100% health premium coverage for employees who choose to live a healthy, tobacco-free lifestyle. This coverage includes spouses and dependents.

  12. Best Company 401(k) Program. Preparing for the future is important, which is why Pro Athlete contributes a generous 401(k) contribution match, dollar-for-dollar, up to 10%.

  13. You Never Leave. Our commitment to all of our current and former employees is why we established the Alumni Program for former employees. Once you leave, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive product discounts, invites to company events, and much more.

  14. A Real Company Baseball Game. Every year, we take our company baseball game to a whole new level. Uniforms, announcers, and renting out Community America Baseball Park are all a part of a truly unique experience for our employees.

  15. Player Development Program. Each employee receives an annual allotment each year toward their personal development by completing courses in Pro Athlete University, our own learning portal. Employees can use the money for conferences, certifications, classes, and much more.

  16. I’m Going to Disney World. Personalized bobbleheads and baseball bats greet employees for time awards, but the big one is when you’ve been here for five years. Pro Athlete flys you and your immediate family to Orlando, Florida for a week-long stay at a gated-community house and a week of theme park fun.

 

Hard to believe this all exists at one company, right? What’s your favorite benefit or perk we offer? Learn more about Pro Athlete, Inc. and why employees think we’re a best place to work in Kansas City.

Company Surprise Leads Staff to Urban Youth Academy

Towards the end of every quarter, we have a company all-staff meeting in our bar. We call it Around the Horn. It’s a fireside chat type of setting and we talk about prominent business items and we pass out a bunch of awards for employees, including service-time awards.

IMG_0476.jpg

To start 2018 off on the right foot, we decided to switch it up. Since the Urban Youth Academy had recently opened and they enjoy baseball too, it made for a cool opportunity. For the second time in less than 6 months, we decided to surprise the team. We got a bus and loaded everyone on it and went down to the Urban Youth Academy.

We had about 45 people in the group and when we arrived we split into smaller groups and were given tours of the facility. Once the tours wrapped up, we held our Around the Horn meeting around home plate on the indoor field. It was awesome! After that, it looked like it was time to leave, but we weren’t done just yet. We split up into teams and played a game on the indoor field. So it was surely time to go now, right? Well, one more thing....we scheduled two food trucks The Casual Foodie and TacoKingKC to pull up to their facility and provide food for our employees and the awesome Urban Youth Academy staff!

It was an awesome upgrade over our typical quarterly meetings. We got to learn about a fantastic organization and got to meet some amazing people. We want to thank the staff at the Urban Youth Academy for being great hosts. If you haven’t been there, it’s a must-see in Kansas City. Organizations and programs like this really make you realize that the future of youth baseball in Kansas City is in great hands!