A few weeks ago I attended a retirement ceremony for a 30-year employee of Thule. By way of disclosure, the retiree was my older brother, Peter “analog” Pell. The “analog” refers to an advanced case of technology phobia.
But this is not so much a story about a guy; it is a story about a company that gets it. And a President who makes sure it does.
We are all familiar with (and often skeptical about) companies that attempt to co-brand themselves with uplifting concepts. Who among us has not rolled his eyes as earnest spokespeople have tried to convince us that “it’s for the kids”?
Thule, the slogan of which is “bring your life” draws no such eye rolling reactions. It actually lives the description on its website:
Thule helps you transport anything you care for safely, easily, and in style so you are free to live your active life. We believe in the value of an active life – whether you’re in the city or the great outdoors. For our own health and happiness as human beings, and ultimately for the respect and care we then give to the world around us.
Whatever your passion, whatever your pursuit. Wherever you’re going, whatever you’re bringing. With Thule, you’re free to live your active life to the full.
Bring your board.
Bring your bike.
Bring your skis.
Bring your love.
Bring your passion.
Bring your dreams.
Bring your life.
For many years, several Thule employees have spent their lunch hours riding bicycles through the Connecticut countryside near Seymour, where the company is located. Once a year they also do a century ride on Cape Cod, which was the clear winner over me a few years ago. I am pretty sure my brother made his later in life commitment to spoked wheels thanks to these events.
Well, if you ride bikes every day, you do need a place to store them so Thule has an exercise / storage room. Here are the remarks of company President Fred Clark as he rededicated the room full of bikes and exercise machines:
“Active Life Simplified and Bring Your Life were all practiced by Pell before they became taglines of the Thule Group. – Especially the simplified part.
Peter always wanted to try “another man’s sport” and more importantly he encouraged us all to do the same. It was not about winning or the completion of that task that was important it was the attempt. Including anyone who wanted to was important, as it was always about the people. I remember him encouraging me to take up biking, including 3 days straight on Dual School to make sure I was ready before joining the group. He encouraged and started many new people on these rides.
It was not only the rides that he encouraged others participate in but also any “other man’s sports “ were the mantra. I have attempted to list the activities Peter has done in his 30 years at Thule…
- Snow shoeing
- Downhill skiing
- Cross country skiing
- Ice Hockey
- Mountain Biking
- Road Biking
- Go Karting
- Rock Climbing
- White Water Rafting
- Via Faratta Climbing
- Mountain Climbing
- Bird Watching
- Bob Sledding
- Floor Hockey
- NASCAR Racing
- Ping Pong
- Team Triathlon
- Dog Sledding
- Wind Surfing
- Paddle Tennis
In honor of that tradition to participate in all sports and activities to live an “Active Life Simplified” and to “Bring Your Life” we dedicate the exercise room to Peter. From henceforth this room will be known as the “Peter Analog Pell Exercise Room” shortened to the P.A.P.E.R. room.”
But at Thule, it is not only about sports; it is also about the values they derive at least in part from sports.
Peter’s first nature is to keep it analog and write a note. He clutters the mailboxes on Mondays with his New York Times cutouts and hand written comments. Postcards with Pell’s cryptic printing are legendary in the dealer and rep community. In an attempt to honor that his analog nature and kind written words we are implementing the PelleGram program.
Going forward we will continue this tradition and use the PelleGrams as a way for employees to acknowledge good work and efforts of their coworkers. You will be encouraged to grab one of these PelleGrams hand write a thank you or words of kindness and give it to your co-workers.
Throughout the country there are countless sports programs that would be well served by adopting the values expressed by Thule President, Fred Clark, a guy who gets it and a company that gets it too.