Tough Mudder: Re-run.

(Several months ago I wrote the blog below about our upcoming Tough Mudder event.   Other than our December Toys for Tots donation day, it was my favorite charity event of the year.   We survived the run, the electric shock and raised money for a great cause.   Unfortunately, the Tough Mudder 2018 has been rescheduled.   So, this year we plan on participating in the Warrior Dash – and again sponsoring Promise 686) 

Preparing for a 12-mile run with obstacles is a serious commitment. Imagine doing it with little to no training at all! The average training window ranges from 12 to 20 weeks. First-time marathoners aim to build weekly mileage up to 50 miles over the four months leading up to race day, requiring about three-to-five runs per week. Runners know that, like marathons, goals require intentional effort and determination ahead of the race.

For example:

  • The effort required to execute and present a large project for your organization involves considerable planning and execution weeks ahead of the actual presentation.
  • Losing weight and gaining muscle mass is only possible through considerable lifestyle changes, a healthy diet, and consistent fitness participation.
  • Writing a book includes heavy research, story outlining, and several drafts before release.

Important commitments require preparation and effort to successfully implement from start to finish by a specific date.

What if there isn’t time to prepare?

This is the experience foster children and families undergo without warning. Competing in a 12-mile course without preparation is nothing compared to the fear and challenges new foster children experience each day. The founder of Promise686Andy Cook, is local to Peachtree Corners, Georgia and well-invested in the local foster care system.

“For their safety, children are unexpectedly removed from their home and their world is turned upside down. The next morning, they awaken to a new reality and loss. The road of foster care is not only tough for the child, but it’s tough for foster parents. Would this job description recruit you? ‘No guarantee of any tangible progress, the high likelihood of emotional turmoil in your home…’ Yet when you talk to foster parents, this is exactly what they knowingly sign up to do. They love a child wholeheartedly and then, most the time, they let that child go.”

It’s tough for foster children and parents.

While foster parents intentionally enrolled in the program, they have no real way to fully prepare for the emotions, entry, and exit of the children they will bring into their home and lives.

This is why we signed up for the Tough Mudder “TOUGH Campaign” with Promise686. Being a foster child or parent is a roller coaster of emotions void of preparation. Just like someone running a marathon without training, foster families hit the ground running and need the support of friends and family to help them make it from start to finish.

“We hope, in its own way, that our efforts will highlight the challenging commitment of foster families and raise essential funds to support these families and the children they serve. There are not enough families for Georgia’s more than 13,000 children in foster care,” said Cook. “Promise686’s goal is to plant foster care ministries in individual churches, raising up hundreds of new foster families – over 100 so far! So while Promise has almost 1000 volunteers currently serving via 105 church partners, we require ongoing resources to equip many more churches, families, and volunteers.”

This year’s Tough Mudder course includes 12 miles and 20+ obstacles. The Promise686 team grew from 16 runners in 2014, to 57 runners in 2015, to 100 runners in 2016! Last year the organization received 842 individual donations, were honored to have 34 corporate sponsors, and overall awareness was raised. This energy brings much needed attention to Georgia’s foster care crisis.

It isn’t too late to sign up for the Tough Mudder course!

You’ll see a collection of friendly faces from Relus, including myselfJosiah DeeganSarah EverettBrandon GrindleSeth HesterDavid Norman, and Sam Dobbins. If you can’t make it this year, you’re also able to donate to the cause.

Join us as we invest in our community and the lives being touched here. Like others who lacked time to prepare, I will be relying heavily on my team to help me make it across the finish line!


Note:  In 2018 we will be doing the Warrior Dash.   I hope to see you there supporting Relus and Promise 686.


Incubator in Peachtree Corners Announces Second Tenant – Motivdeals!

We haven’t officially opened yet, but the need for a local business accelerator seems obvious, and companies are already moving in. Small companies in Gwinnett and the surrounding area are looking for all of the advantages of an incubator, but without the commute to Midtown. With growing interest and excitement of the possibility of a local incubator, we are proud to be able to house these entrepreneurs. Peachtree Corners Technology Incubator, PCTI, is located right off Peachtree Industrial and is dedicating over 20,000 square feet of space for qualifying start-up companies.

The Age of Innovation

On Friday, I had the pleasure of presenting to Tech Mahindra’s Innovation Day event at Georgia State.    In preparing for this meeting, I researched the massive change that has occurred in technology over the past 25 years – in hopes to shed some insight on what I think will be the future for innovation. My conclusion: everything is now aligned for disruption in every industry. Nearly all of the traditional barriers have been eliminated. Disruption and innovation are inevitable now, and your company will likely be innovating and changing your industry—or a competitor will do it for you!

I advised CEOs and CIOs to totally rethink their mindsets around IT. In the past, all innovation involved large capital outlays, and obvious limits existed on creating value with existing technologies.  Let’s look at the traditional barriers one by one:


Hiringasaurus-Rex: The Ultimate Office Predator

Before office dinosaurs ruled the business world, managers interviewed and hired employees based on who they thought would perform best in the job. They also had the freedom to fire those who weren’t performing and to give raises as they saw fit based on performance. As the company grew, HR departments started helping managers with the hiring and firing process. In theory, it all made sense and usually worked well. HR professionals were trained at screening candidates, following applicable laws, and describing corporate benefit plans. Managers even liked that some of the tedious process of interviewing was no longer on their plate.


New Dinosaur Discovered: Vendor-Consoliraptor

I have worked for large companies, sold to large companies, and consulted with large companies, and I am always amazed at some of the procedures, policies, and strategies they implement in the name of cost savings or efficiency. Some of these strategies last for years, if not decades, until someone with some common sense looks at the process with a different lens. Over the past few years, some of these dinosaur strategies have become more evident. New technologies have created tremendous opportunities for companies to drive innovation, enter new markets, and cut costs. Yet, these decades-old practices thwart innovation and inhibit creative managers to drive change within their organizations.


Swimmers: 3 Steps to Find a Job

I recently posted a blog on the 5 Reasons Employers Should Hire Swimmers.  The post received nearly 80,000 views from swimmers all over the world.

I was surprised by many of the comments I received. For example, several said something like, “Thanks, I am now going to put my swimming career on my resume.”  I was obviously wondering why it wasn’t already there, in bold print! Parents of swimmers often commented with statements like, “I am showing this to my daughter to demonstrate that hard work may help her succeed in a business career.”  Again, I would have thought that was obvious.


Make It Fun

One of my goals in starting Relus Technologies has been to create an exceptional work environment.   Last year, we were named one of the best places to work in Atlanta, so I think we are well on our way to that goal.   We created an industry-leading compensation plan for our Infrastructure, Cloud, and Staffing teams, which undoubtedly has more upside than most plans in our space. But, for 2015, we have added a few new things to our sales compensation plan to ensure we retain our best employees and attract more team members with great skills.