If you’re on a team, you already know that team captains make the Group Health Commute Challenge awesome. They encourage co-workers and friends to join the challenge and motivate riders throughout the month of May. Every year there are hundreds of amazing captains who go above and beyond the call of duty to make the challenge fun and meaningful for their teammates, but some truly stand out. We received 50 nominations for 28 captains who thought their team captain earned 2012 Captain of the Year. Selecting a captain from this outstanding pool of nominees was difficult, but we are pleased to name Tom Gibbs of Cell on Wheels as 2012 Captain of the Year!
Teammates and fellow AT&T captains would agree, Tom Gibbs of Bothell embodies the spirit of the challenge in his accomplishments and his attitude. He recruited new riders, motivated his team with daily inspiration, engaged other challenge participants at his Redmond workplace, organized Bike Month events at AT&T, and developed an internal recognition system.
During his very first year as a team captain and as a bike commuter, he recruited a full team of ten AT&T co-workers and engaged other teams at his workplace. Of his ten team members, six were brand new bike commuters! As you may know, many riders get started through encouragement from a friend or co-worker, and Tom is a case in point. As one teammate wrote, ”I have not ridden my bike to work since [a riding injury] over a decade ago. Tom’s enthusiasm has really helped me to embrace riding to work again.” Another teammate said “he made me feel welcome to the team from day one.’ In addition to providing light maintenance and daily standings updates to his team, he sent congratulatory e-mails to his newer riders as they picked up their mileage. Most of them had a >50% commute rate!
Tom embraced the friendly competition aspect of the challenge wholeheartedly. He created an intra-team rivalry to see who could log the most trips; he even included a handicap for telecommuting so as to encourage telecommuters to ride. He challenged other AT&T teams with light-hearted smack-talk and wagers on which team could outride the other. He and the other AT&T captains devised a coffee and donuts prize for the winning team to boot! A fellow captain wrote that Tom’s internal challenge motivated all three teams to ride more as well and helped recruit other new riders. He is going to award a Most Valuable Rider award to one of the members on his team and the prize is a bike ride to Black Raven brewery in Redmond for free beers! As if this wasn’t enough, he’s currently planning a post-challenge party for next week and has invited other teams to join. He’s getting Frost Donuts in Mill Creek to put bicycle wheel icing designs on the donuts. With Tom’s encouragement, Cell on Wheels rounded out the month with a total of 88 trips and 1915 miles. As a new rider, Tom himself logged over 400 miles with an 80% commute rate. Way to go Tom!
Thank you to all captains for being part of the Group Health Commute Challenge!