Written by: Courtney Baird
When it comes to finding a great place to work for triathletes, there are a lot of variables to consider. Does the company offer a flexible schedule? Is it located near places where you can swim, bike and run? Does management support the active lifestyle?
Below is an overview of some places that
Triathlete believes not only offer employees bright futures in terms of their careers, but also respect that triathletes have full lives outside of the office, and sometimes they just need to hit the pavement for a long ride.
Active Network Field: Media/marketing/technology
Headquarters: San Diego
Total employees: 2,300
Added Perks: Yearly triathlon training camp in Warner Springs Ranch, Calif.
The Active Network, which runs Active.com, might just be the best place to work for triathletes. Wellness director Arch Fuston runs a charity challenge program in which employees are given entry into a local triathlon, a cycling kit, Fuston’s free coaching, swim and open-water clinics, and weekly training sessions in exchange for raising money for charity. If you don’t have a bike, you can borrow one from management, as well as swim in the headquarters’ three-lane pool or work out in its fitness center. What’s more, all employees have access to what the company calls the ActiveX program—a strength-building, whole-body fitness and wellness program run by Fuston. The program is free and has become so popular that even its employees in China are participating, said Dave Alberga, chief executive officer. U.S. Military Field: Defense
Headquarters: Arlington, Va.
Total servicemen/women: 1.4 million on active duty, 718,000 civilian employees
U.S. Navy commander John Collins came up with the Ironman concept in 1977, and triathlon has been ingrained in the military ever since. While a life in the armed forces isn’t for everyone—and anyone who signs up must always serve country first and triathlon second—the military is a place that provides ample training partners and a fitness-based culture. Deployment can throw a wrench in training, but many servicemen and women figure out ways to get around it. “I spent a year in Kuwait and I was still able to run, bike and swim,” said commander Kristin Barnes, a Navy pilot and triathlete. And if you are a one-of-a-kind athlete, some service branches offer world-class athlete programs. Pro and Olympic hopeful Tim O’Donnell was in such a program while he served as a Navy lieutenant. “I received unbelievable support,” he said. USAA Field: Insurance, banking
Headquarters: San Antonio, Texas
Total employees: 22,000
Added perks: Employee-led running and cycling teams; concierge services
USAA likes to practice what it loosely calls “surround-sound wellness,” said Clay Allen, director of regional corporate communications. Its four major U.S. campuses offer employees healthy food options, which are priced lower than the unhealthy ones. Its campuses also have onsite health clinics, nurses, physical therapists and gyms. If you participate in a free annual health risk assessment, you receive a stipend to be spent on something fitness-related. And the company also offers work-from-home and flexible schedule programs, even for its call center employees. Trisports.com Field: Retail
Headquarters: Tucson, Ariz.
Total employees: 50
Added perks: Free gear, two-lane endless pool at headquarters
The employees of Trisports.com get paid to live and breathe swimming, biking and running—and most of them choose to do it on their own time. “We encourage all of our employees to participate in athletic activities, primarily triathlon, since that’s what we do,” said Sarah Lieneke-Nickle, director of marketing. Add to that a locker room with showers, store credit for riding your bike to work, race reimbursements, bike loaner programs and a generally flexible schedule, and you’ve got a triathlete’s paradise. Livestrong Foundation Field: Nonprofit, cancer awareness
Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Total employees: 81
Added perks: Onsite gym, yoga; intermittent glimpses of Lance
By virtue of the Livestrong Foundation’s founder—Lance Armstrong—the nonprofit attracts athletic employees who are also passionate about the fight against cancer. It also offers one of the best vacation programs and schedules out there. “We say we’re a results-oriented work place,” said Mona Patel, executive vice president of people and organizational development. Livestrong believes that its employees will get their work done and offers them 20 or more days off a year, no matter how long they’ve been working at Livestrong. “People don’t accrue paid time off,” Patel said. “We trust people to be the best decision makers.” Google Inc Field: Technology
Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.
Total employees: 20,600
Hiring: Yes, especially in sales and engineering
Added Perks: Main campus offers bike repair, concierge services
Triathlete’s have bottomless stomachs. At Google’s main campus, you get to feed that stomach—for free. Google employees get free grub at any of its 16 campus cafes, according to Google spokesperson Jordan Newman. The main campus also offers four gyms with personal trainers, onsite wellness centers, chiropractors, massage therapists and doctors, among other perks. For those who don’t work in Mountain View, Google offers subsidized gym memberships and has bike rooms and showers in all of its global offices. Regarding work flexibility, “Generally, work here is project based. As long as you are getting your work done, people are happy,” Newman said. Gensler Field: Architecture/interior design
Headquarters: San Francisco
Total employees: 2,300
Architecture is a world of strict deadlines, demanding clients and long hours. Instead of intensely monitoring who’s working late or not, Gensler believes that a happy employee is a productive employee, and it encourages life outside the office. “The attitude is that people come first,” said Terence Young, an elite triathlete and design director of Gensler’s Los Angeles office. The firm trusts that if an employee needs to go for a run at 2:00 p.m., he’ll still be committed to getting his work done, said J.F. Finn, a triathlete and managing director of Gensler’s Las Vegas office. It doesn’t hurt that David Gensler, an executive director of the firm and son of founder Art Gensler, is also a triathlete. Bingham McCutchen LLP Field: Law
Total Employees: 2,200
Hiring: As needed
It’s true: Lawyers work hard. Bingham McCutchen’s attorneys are no different. But what is different is that unlike some other firms, Bingham doesn’t treat its lawyers “like a commodity,” said Michael Desmond, an Ironman athlete and Bingham partner based in Washington, D.C. Instead, “Attorneys are treated as professionals and are given lots of discretion in terms of how they work and arrange their work. This allows interest in things like triathlon.” The firm also offers telecommuting, flexible hours and discounts on gym memberships.