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Rochester Institute of Technology's campus offers a superb venue for corporate hospitality, which Clark Patterson Lee is hoping to enjoy with its biggest team ever at this year's Chase Corporate Challenge on Thursday, June 3.

Clark Patterson Lee sees bright times
ahead in Chase Corporate Challenge

A sea of runners starts a sun-splashed Chase Corporate Challenge in Rochester in 2008 (above), with corporate tents popping up just off the race course. Last year's drenching rains didn't stop many in the field from smiling (below) and didn't stop organizers of Clark Patterson Lee's team from seeing the potential for their company's participation.


ROCHESTER, May 3, 2010 — Weather conditions at last year's Chase Corporate Challenge® at the Rochester Institute of Technology campus were hardly ideal, but that didn't stop organizers at Clark Patterson Lee from seeing a bright future for their team at the event.

"Although we faced drenching rains last year, we all laughed because that in and of itself made for a company-bonding experience," said co-company captain Kaija Wadsworth. "Even with the torrential rains we faced, we saw a lot of potential for team-building and having fun with colleagues. As we finished participating last year, we decided to encourage and solicit a bigger team for 2010."

Skip ahead almost a year, and the noted design services company based in Rochester does, indeed, have its largest team ever ready to participate in the 20th annual Chase Corporate Challenge at RIT on Thursday, June 3. Registration remains open for the 3.5-mile team race so there is still time for your company to join Clark Patterson Lee and other leading Rochester firms in the event.

"So far, we have our biggest turnout yet, with 30 participants signed up," said Kathy Metcalfe, Director of Marketing and Communication, and co-company captain along with Wadsworth. "We also have made arrangements for a tent, bistro tables, grill, an assortment of foods and beverages, and even music speakers for playing running tunes to get participants geared up for a strong running performance."

The participation on this year's team represents roughly a third of the entire Rochester staff of Clark Patterson Lee. It's a significant accomplishment that has been spurred on by the enthusiasm of Wadsworth and Metcalfe, as well as the backing of senior officials at the company.

"Pulling a team together this year has been easy," said Wadswoth. "First, we sent an email to all employees in Rochester encouraging runners and walkers of all abilities to participate. We enlisted Tom Shed, a beloved employee here, to head up the grilling, food and beverage aspects of the event. This went a long way because he is well known in the firm for throwing a great party. He heads up the firm's Super Bowl tailgaters and other social events like that every year.

"We also recruited one of our senior architects, Michelle Trott, to design our team t-shirts. Then, we recruited the Chairman/CEO, Phil Clark; President, Todd Liebert; and CFO, Dave Pender to participate this year. This demonstrated to the rest of the firm the leadership's endorsement of the event. Through word of mouth, enthusiasm for the event increased, and the response has been fantastic."

Now, the team is poised to share a unique out-of-the-office opportunity for camaraderie that will bring together everyone from senior leadership to junior level professionals to share a night of fitness and a post-race company party. It's a big step up for the company that first participated in the Corporate Challenge in 1999, returned with a dozen runners the following year, and then, until last year, took a hiatus from the event when it was moved to RIT.

It is also a great fit because running as a team is a natural extension in many ways to how Clark Patterson Lee functions as a design firm.

"The focus on team is definitely a factor in the firm's decision to participate," said Wadsworth. "We like the idea that there are teams and only teams that compete, whether it is a team of women, men or a combination.

"Teamwork is fundamental to how we operate at Clark Patterson Lee," Wadsworth added. "We're committed to providing exceptional design services using an approach that integrates architecture design, interior design, and a variety of engineering and land use disciplines, including civil, transportation, mechanical, structural, plumbing, and electrical engineering. Since each decision on a project affects other aspects of the overall design, the architects, engineers and our clients need to work interactively to develop quality, sustainable solutions. With architects and building system engineers working in real time on the same design model, teamwork and collaboration are essential."

In the last 40 years, that workplace teamwork at Clark Patterson Lee has created strikingly successful designs throughout the northeastern and southeastern United States in structures from bridges to museums, from hospitals to schools, and in many other projects.

Now, it's time to have some fitness-related fun with the team-oriented philosophy at the Corporate Challenge.

"Clark Patterson Lee supports employees living a fit and healthy lifestyle," said Metcalfe. "The healthier people are, the happier they tend to be and that often results in increased productivity, efficiency and creativity. The opportunity to spend time with co-workers in a non-work and fitness-related setting creates a common experience and sense of partnership. Team building away from the office goes hand-in-hand with building a working team inside the office."

Health and well-being, in fact, have become part of corporate culture at Clark Patterson Lee. In addition to participating in the Corporate Challenge in Rochester in 2009, the firm held a company-wide weight-loss competition. It attracted participants from Clark Patterson Lee's Rochester office, as well as offices in 10 other cities. Together, the 88 participants lost a total of 856 pounds, roughly 4.75% of their total starting weight. Clark Patterson Lee donated a dollar for every pound lost to an organization committed to fighting childhood obesity, and received the Wealth of Health Award from the Rochester Business Journal for its efforts.

Now, thanks to a vision in the rains of last year, Clark Patterson Lee will take another step on its team-oriented, fitness activity journey when its biggest team ever takes part in the Chase Corporate Challenge at RIT on June 3 under what, hopefully, will be sunny skies.


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