Employees at Peter Schwabe, Inc. (PSI) celebrated the 2016 Olympics in a special way. In an effort to encourage fitness, charity, and fun, the construction company’s management team developed “Race to Rio,” a wellness program that had employee teams competing for who could step their way to this year’s Olympic host city first. Each step taken — tracked by Fitbits purchased for employees by the company – earned money to be donated to Special Olympics.
On Friday, August 12, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards were given to top teams and individuals at an “awards ceremony.” At the ceremony, PSI announced that more than 8500 miles – more than 17,000,000 steps – were tracked company-wide, earning approximately $1000 to be donated to Special Olympics.
Peter Schwabe, company CFO, said the idea sparked from a friendly competition by several staff members. “A few employees were challenging each other with Fitbits, and we thought we could expand the idea company wide. We have been in the process of developing a wellness program for employees, and the summer Olympics gave us a natural theme to merge fitness with a favorite charity: Special Olympics.” Schwabe was impressed with the level of interest. “We had participation from 94 percent of our employees,” he said. “Not only did we log enough steps to make it all the way to Rio; we nearly crossed into Antarctica!” PSI kept up interest in the program by celebrating milestones. When company-wide steps brought them to Mexico City, they celebrated with a fiesta at a Mexican restaurant. When they crossed the Panama Canal and reached the Amazon, employees were released early for the day.
Total company investment for the program will approach $10,000, including the cost of Fitbits for employees, awards, and donation to Special Olympics. “We are always looking for fun and active ways to get employees involved in community service,” Schwabe said. Last year, the company participated in the Alzheimer’s Society Ice Bucket Challenge, Luxury Bingo with the Women’s Care Center of Milwaukee and supported the Ronald McDonald House of Milwaukee by serving meals to RMH residents as a company.