Members of Echo Global Logistics gather at a recent JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge with the Chicago skyline in the background.
Echo entering fifth Corporate Challenge
in its short history on May 24
CHICAGO, May 10, 2012 — In today's quickly changing, technology-driven business world, companies such as Echo Global Logistics have moved fast to create new opportunities. On May 24, almost 100 employees from Echo also will be moving fast as they participate in the 31st annual JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge in Chicago.
It will be the fifth year in a row that the young, rapidly expanding company with headquarters near the course on West Chicago Avenue has participated in the 3.5-mile team road race.
Last year, the popular race attracted 23,361 entrants from 634 of Chicago's leading companies to Grant Park. And, this year's Thursday night race, which will kick off the Memorial Day weekend with a 7:10 p.m. start, will feature a bonus. The top three teams from each of the 13 cities in the global Series will compete in the 2012 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship, which will begin approximately seven minutes prior to the Corporate Challenge and will be run on the same course.
"Echo looks forward to the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge every year," said Mark Rosenhauer, a 28-year-old Echo sales manager and its company captain. "As a young, energetic company, our employees enjoy an event that promotes physical fitness and also gives back to the community. This will be our fifth year participating in the Corporate Challenge. Every year is memorable in its own way and we are excited to be here again."
For Echo, compiling a five-year history in any event at this stage of the company's relatively brief existence is a significant testament to the spirit at the firm, as well as to the event itself.
In 2005, Eric Lefkofsky, creator of the social-coupon website Groupon, had the idea to expand Echo from a logistics division for Chicago-based printing company InnerWorkings to an independent firm. Along with fellow co-founder Brad Keywell, Lefkofsky created Echo Global Logistics, a transportation and logistics outsourcing business using cutting-edge technologies.
Echo participants gather in the company's tent at the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge in Chicago..
A year later, Douglas Waggoner became the company's CEO. The rest, as the saying goes, is history — even if it is still a short, but exciting, one.
Waggoner helped Echo combine technology and transportation in order to provide innovative solutions for shipping. Waggoner, who will be on hand at the Corporate Challenge along with CFO David Menzel and Senior Vice President of Sales Scott Boyer, was selected as the Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009. Under Waggoner's leadership, Echo's growth has been dramatic and the young company has established branches in Los Angeles, Portland, Dallas, Atlanta and Park City, Utah. It now serves more than 22,700 clients.
"Echo has strong support from our executive team (for participating in the Corporate Challenge)," said Rosenhauer, who adds that it is easy to see why.
"Participating in an event that benefits two worthwhile charities (Chicago Run and the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago) and combines an Echo team-building opportunity is a great match!" Rosenhauer said. "Echo Global Logistics supports the philanthropic initiative that JP Morgan Chase & Co exhibits through the Corporate Challenge event and looks forward to a continued partnership."
The Corporate Challenge series, begun in 1977, has a long history of charitable contributions. It has provided approximately $2 million to not-for-profit organizations located in each of the Series' local cities in the past three alone.
But it is not just the charitable connection or fitness benefits alone that make the Corporate Challenge Chicago's most popular corporate sporting/social event of the year, and a great fit for Echo. The post-race party, held on the shores of Lake Michigan with the city's striking night skyline serving as a backdrop, has become a superb way to kick-off the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
"Everyone that participates in the race gets one of our custom-designed running shirts," said Rosenhauer. "We also have a cook-out with refreshments for the group, which creates a fun, bonding experience."
That's important, because even fast-moving companies like Echo need a chance to slow down and enjoy the party every once in a while.