Rockford, Michigan, January 2, 2013 – Ringing in the New Year is traditionally associated with a variety of health- and wellness-related resolutions. Wolverine Worldwide, one of West Michigan’s largest employers, provides numerous opportunities that can help its employees keep those resolutions, and stay active, healthy and motivated throughout the year.
Whether corporate-sponsored, organized by individuals, or brand- or department-led, many employees take advantage of these opportunities and routinely encourage their peers to get involved. For example, employees recently participated in the Wolverine Resolution Run, an annual four-mile run/walk around Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids to benefit the Pediatric Oncology Resource Team (P.O.R.T.).
The Company’s Rockford headquarters is another venue for staying physically active. With more than four miles of wooded trails, the Company’s main campuses are often used for morning or afternoon runs, team walks or personal training for events like marathons or triathlons. Employees continue to stay active on these trails in the winter months, running, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Multiple on-campus shower facilities have made a significant difference for those who enjoy an early-morning or mid-day workout.
“The availability of the trails and shower facilities has removed many barriers to workday exercise,” said Carrie Hill, Senior Designer for the Wolverine brand. “Being able to get my runs in during lunch freed up time after work throughout my marathon training. It’s fantastic to work for a company that encourages and supports its employees’ active pursuits, and my training helps reduce stress and allows me to meet people across our brands.”
The Merrell Biking Trail, a recently completed six-mile trail developed in partnership with the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance, provides another outlet for active individuals that is just a few miles away from Wolverine Worldwide’s main campus. The White Pine Trail State Park is another nearby resource that benefits cyclists of all levels. Additionally, the Wolverine Environmental and Sustainability Team (W.E.S.T.) sponsors and organizes an annual “Bike to Work” week each summer. The strong interest employees show for cycling has also resulted in the formation of the Cobbler Cycling Club, a group of like-minded cycling enthusiasts.
“We started in 2009, having decided it would be fun to get a group going to build camaraderie, support outdoor living and encourage an active lifestyle,” said Seth Lechlitner, Information Technology Senior Network Engineer.
All Wolverine Worldwide employees are encouraged to participate in some friendly competition as part of the Be Active Challenge, an annual event organized by the Company’s human resources team. Participants are challenged with tracking a minimum of 120 minutes of physical activity each week over a period of six weeks. This year’s program participants racked up 292,400 total minutes, the equivalent of 4,873 hours or 122 work weeks of physical activity.
Group activities among employees are not limited to the main Rockford area. GRid70, the downtown Grand Rapids facility that houses Wolverine Worldwide product development and marketing teams, is no exception. GRid70-based employees have organized mountain bike rides, afternoon kayak trips and team paddleboard events. Some employees are also sharing their skills and training with colleagues, including lunchtime yoga classes led by an intern who is also a certified yoga instructor.
“We have a great team spirit here at GRid70 and people really participate in events together, whether they are Company-sponsored events or events created by individual employees,” said Ben Bosch, Merrell Product Development Manager.
Wolverine Worldwide sponsors several additional area events throughout the year including Mitchell’s Run thru Rockford, ArtPrize ArtWalk and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Individual brands also sponsor local races such as the recent Wolverine Resolution Run and larger events like the Merrell Down and Dirty National Mud Run Series. Taken as a whole, these events offer a continual schedule of community-wide opportunities for employees to stay active and involved.
“We really encourage employees to experience the health- and wellness-related activities Wolverine Worldwide supports,” said Sue Harvey-Brown, Patagonia Marketing Manager.
Wolverine Worldwide also brings a variety of preventive health resources to the main Rockford campus throughout the year, including time-saving measures designed to help keep employees healthy and productive. In addition, the Company has provided employees with on-site services and events such as the Spectrum Health Mobile Mammography unit, flu shots, biannual health expos and farmer’s markets to encourage healthy food choices. The flu shots are particularly popular with employees, drawing about 600 participants across all corporate locations.