We love to partner with our customers and help provide them solutions. We had the opportunity to chat with Eddie Suarez, Technology Director of TeamFootWorks, regarding The Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run and how we helped to enabled their success.
Eddie, what is the back story to the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run? How did you guys start?
Started in 1985 with Manufacturers Hanover hired Laurie and Hans to produce the first race in Miami. It had about 1,300 participants. Laurie and Hans took over the race series in Florida in the coming years and eventually just settled on the South Florida ones, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm, Miami as the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run.
Now that we covered how the MBCR began, how are things now? What are some keys that have helped foster the growth of your event(s)?
The series has grown to 38,000 total in all 3 cities. 8,000 in FTL, 2,000 in WPB, and 28,000 in MIA. We think what’s helped foster the growth has been the relationships we’ve built with the team captains. We make it fun for them and show them our appreciation. We hold a captain rally before the race with food, beverages, and giveaways. The atmosphere also of the race is festive one. We focus on the masses and not the few elites. The mission of the MBCR is to promote health and fitness in the workplace so we want to make it fun for everyone. We believe that healthy employees makes a healthy company. The MBCR has kicked off a healthier lifestyle for so many people.
In 3 words, explain what Team Footworks means to the local Miami running community? Also using 3 words, explain what Eddie Suarez means to the local Miami fitness community?
Community. Family. Philanthropy for TeamFootWorks. And for me…. Geez… Encouraging. Loving. Fun.
We’ve covered where you were and also where you are now. What were some of the growing pains that you guys experienced along the way?
Growing pains definitely was in registration data, processing bibs, and scoring the event. Everything was done manually. On paper. Even timing. We said the event was “self timed”. Captains would report their times to us on cards. That was up until 5 or so years ago when we were convinced to time the event electronically and use SIMMCO registration system. David Simms had written a platform used by the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge. Doing this mean, no more paper apps. And also closing registration a month early so he can process the bibs. This was against our nature because we love to accommodate and after 25 years of taking registrations even up to the sound of the starting cannon, closing a month early was a big deal. And no paper!!
David’s system worked for the most part. He was right about adjusting to electronic. What a difference! However, his system was not perfect but we were able to work around the short comings. Then along the way comes the guys from Haku. They had built a registration platform to compete with David’s system as well as Active. The platform blew them both out of the water. Adopting Haku made the next couple of years a dream. No shortcomings or workarounds. It was great! Then last year, I get invited by haku to join them at the RunningUSA conference…
Can you provide some insight into how you began working with Electric City?
…And that’s how I met Electric City. I met Tyler and Weston and was blown away about what they could do. First the gang was super professional, super friendly. We instantly made friends and hung out the entire weekend. Second. The level of service ECP provides has been amazing. Tyler has gone above and beyond to accommodate all requests no matter how small.
What were some of the headaches you guys had?
#1 The headache we had was how the bibs would arrive from the printer. Bibs were divided by CEO, Runners, Walkers. We had to collate these 38,000 bibs into teams to prepare them for packet pickup. This would take 5 days for the FTL, couple days for WPB, and 2 weeks for MIA. We’d have to hire temp staff for FTL and for MIA. Our staff would double in size for Miami. Also, inevitably, we’d lose a team.
#2 Our other headache is late registrants. People “forgetting” to register before the deadline.
#3 We also have many people who register twice? I don’t get it.
Now that you have been with ECP, have those headaches been solved?
#1 YES YES YES! This year, Laurie and Karen processed all of the FTL teams in maybe 3 days and they were not working on it full-time. WPB took Karen one day. And Miami is on its way here but we’re looking to making it happen in 4 days with a small team of temps.
#2 and #3 no, but ECP can’t really help with that. I don’t know anyone who can.
To what extent have those headaches been solved?
#1 yes. 100%.
#2 and #3 you can’t fix.
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