Members of Morningstar's 2011 team - its first in Chicago's JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge - gather for a photo.
After initial entry in 2011, Morningstar
brings spirit, bigger team to May 24 race
Morningstar promoted its Corporate Challenge T-Shirt Design Contest on electronic displays in the company's lobbies as well as on its intranet. More than 30 percent of its employees voted, with the winning design below.
CHICAGO, May 17, 2012 — With its global headquarters located on West Washington Street in the heart of Chicago and just a short jog from Grant Park, worldwide investment research leader Morningstar would seem a natural entrant in the city's JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge.
But, that hadn't happened until last year.
"This is our second year participating in the Corporate Challenge," said Kate Cohler, Director of Community Relations at Morningstar. "In 2011, we signed up at the last minute and more than 80 people registered. We did things pretty simply, without a tent or events around the race. We’re excited about this year’s additions."
That excitement will lead to a much larger presence for Morningstar before, during and after the 31st annual JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge® in Grant Park on Thursday, May 24. The 3.5-mile team road race will have a 7:10 p.m. start, with international teams from around the world lining up a few minutes earlier, as Chicago also hosts the Series Championship for the first time in that event's 29-year history.
For Morningstar — which has operations in 27 countries and provides data on more than 380,000 investment offerings — Chicago's 2012 Corporate Challenge is a chance to get into the event in style.
"The event gives Morningstar an opportunity to celebrate our employees’ interest in health and wellness while supporting the community," said Cohler. "We also see this as a great way to get employees together in a setting outside the office. We have 185 people registered to participate this year — that’s more than double our participation in 2011."
But, it's not just about the numbers. Morningstar has embraced the Corporate Challenge after its initial foray into the event in 2011.
"This event received such rave reviews from our employees last year that we decided to register this year before we knew which organizations would benefit, so that we could start planning earlier," said Cohler. "It turned out to be a great fit for us. We’ve partnered with Red Cross (the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago and Chicago Run are the race beneficiaries this year) for the past few years in our disaster relief matching gifts program, in which Morningstar matches employee donations in the event of a natural disaster in areas where our employees live and work."
The early recruiting drive definitely worked well and featured its own style at Morningstar.
"We just held an internal contest to select the T-shirt design that Team Morningstar will wear on race day and that we submitted to the 2012 Series T-Shirt Contest," said Cohler. "It was a big success. We received a number of fun designs, many of which were submitted by employees from outside our design team. We promoted the contest on electronic displays throughout our building and on our intranet and more than 30 percent of our employees voted in the contest. We’re thrilled to submit our winning design to the T-Shirt Contest for a chance to increase our donation."
As the race approaches, Morningstar is planning a pep rally in its Chicago headquarters the afternoon before the event to support its participants and involve employees who aren’t taking part in the Corporate Challenge.
"This pep rally will include a fueling station for the runners and short competitions that test coordination," said Cohler. "We’ll hand out our Team Morningstar T-shirts as prizes to the winners of these games. Scott Cooley, Morningstar’s chief financial officer, will be attending the pre-race pep rally to support Morningstar’s participants and provide team stats, such as the number of employees running within each company division."
And, on race night, Cohler added, "We'll have a tent with refreshments for participants before and after the race."
The 185-person strong team not only will have a chance to bond in a beautiful setting on a night that kicks-off the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, but it also will include employees who will write another chapter in their own running and personal histories.
For instance, Karl Seemann, a system engineer at Morningstar, is a team member. Seemann stopped running when his son was born in 1991. He just started running again in March after 21 years. He is 61 years old.
Michael Wentz is a vice president of institutional equity research sales at Morningstar. For him, the Corporate Challenge may well seem like a pleasant warm-up exercise. Wentz runs ultra marathons and writes books related to the races in which he participates. He is running a 50-mile race this weekend.
And another team member, product manager John McCarthy, is entering the race after severely spraining his ankle in January. He is still in physical therapy, but wanted to be a part of the Morningstar team. Before the injury, he was running up to 15 miles a day and was on track to run the London Marathon. The Corporate Challenge is his first race back in the game.
"I'm still not back up to speed, but I'm running again a few times a week, which is a huge milestone after crutches, a boot, and months of therapy," McCarthy said. "This isn’t a big deal compared to many others who have faced more severe challenges, but it's REALLY cool to be running again. I've signed up for a triathlon to get back in that game as well, so things are looking up for the summer!”
As they are for Morningstar in the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge.