We started a composting toilet company which we will be using to offer even more value to our participants. How would you describe the standard Vacation Races participant? Both as a runner and as a customer?
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For the ultras we have more men. You want an experience at the park, and you want to challenge yourself physically. From high tech running watches to muscle oxygen monitors, athletes have a surplus of data to measure and improve their performance. From a business standpoint, are you using data to measure and improve the Vacation Races experience?
The entire Vacation Races concept was built on data. Before I even started the company, I would stand at the finish line of marathon events interviewing participants to find out what they like and what they want to see from an event experience standpoint. Rather than starting a company in secret, and after all the investment put it out there and then hoping people will like it, you start with potential customer feedback even before you begin. Listening to customers is step 1 rather than step 7.
By starting dialogue with potential customers first, you figure out what their problems are and then you find solutions.
Be the place to be.
A closed-loop customer feedback system provides incoming ideas. It drives decisions like our cup-free events to eliminate the waste and litter. It also drove my decision to look at National Parks as a possible event location. I think people are getting bored with road, so I see a shift to trail events over the next few years.
But is still puts me on edge. I had mentioned that part of concept development for Vacation Races came from finish line surveys at other marathon events. I noted two commonalities among everyone I spoke to. The first was that marathon events are appealing because they offer training motivation.
People sign up for an event, they put money down and this helps drive them to train. The second was the sense of accomplishment associated with completing both the training and the event itself. As I reviewed and considered these findings, I noticed that neither of them requires everyone to be in the same place at the same time. I was one of the first in to do a virtual turkey trot. People run on their own schedule, but still get a race shirt and medal if they want. I think this is the bleeding edge of some really interesting ways for people to challenge themselves physically.
The feedback we receive from the virtual races show the various ways in which people completed the run. Some people ran as a group, some people ran in the mountains, some on a treadmill and some even do their normal, every-day run. Surprisingly some participants would register for the event, pay the event registration fee, and then decline our offer of a shirt or medal. The entire event concept is based on the honor system.
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The latter of which has limited properties to play host, so in that regard I think Vacation Races has an advantage. Things like Spartan races are great events and really popular, but I think the value proposition of the event itself is much different than Vacation Races.
Whether the event is held in Las Vegas or Glacier, the event itself is mostly the same. To a lesser extent we are competing with regular vacations, but at the same time we offer more bang for the buck. Hawaii — for purely selfish reasons. Click here to find out more about our friends over at The Buddy Group. Two core values here at MacKenzie are Philanthropy and Family. While seeking opportunities to get involved with a non-profit organization, our President of Operations, Katie Rucker, connected with the Orange County Ronald McDonald House and it was a perfect match.
From the moment you walk through the doors at the house, it immediately feels like home — from the warm smiles, the smell of fresh baked cookies and the sounds of friendly conversation among house guests. Under his guidance, the organization does an amazing job understanding the needs, wants and core characteristics of their donors and volunteers — who are the backbone of carrying out the mission.
His wealth of leadership experience and insights lends itself perfectly to our Thought Leader Spotlight series, and we are fortunate he agreed to be our feature this month.
Had you always envisioned philanthropy as part of your career path, or was it something that revealed itself along the way? I learned about group dynamics, how to deal with conflict, self-awareness, self-care, leadership, being mindful of cultural and socio-economic differences and to uphold high ethical standards. I also learned a lot from the examples of my parents. They taught me the importance of being of good character, making the best of what you have, and service to others.
The thing that has made the biggest impact on me as far as professional development is not a person, but a book, more specifically, the Good Book. It has provided me guidance and insight on how to treat and lead others. Looking forward into , are there any projects or initiatives that have you particularly excited? In addition to celebrating our 30 th Anniversary this year, our charity is looking to more than double the size of the Orange County Ronald McDonald House to better meet the community demands.
The House will go from 20 guest rooms to 44 guest rooms and provide a variety of amenities that would enhance the experience of families with critically ill children staying at the Ronald McDonald House.
Last year, we served over guests consisting of over families. Imagine how many more lives we will be able to impact with our growth?
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This is truly a very exciting time. It reminds to reflect on the blessings I have received and that I have a duty to use my skills to serve others. When you work with families caring for their seriously ill child, you are reminded everyday to not to take health and life for granted. It truly puts things in perspective. People wonder how I can work in such a serious and emotionally charged environment. The reality is, I draw inspiration from the parents and children I serve.
In a world that is getting more and more automated leaving people distant and disconnected, my work environment is one of that connects you to humanity and the abundant richness it possesses. Here at MacKenzie Corp , among many other things we are data fans and we are sports fans. Furthermore, we are advocates of using data to continually improve customer experiences.
So we love when these worlds come together and we get to discuss how data can be used to grow and develop the experiences of sports fans.
Last month we discussed our involvement with the Association of Luxury Suite Directors ALSD and what an incredible time we had at their annual conference. There we made a number of connections with some big names in the world of Sports Business, one of whom agreed to be in our August Thought Leader Spotlight.
The Bay Area sports scene is no exception, and the San Francisco 49ers happen to have a brilliant, data-centric mind on its roster. He was a driving force behind the development of a data warehouse that processes over 3 million records per day and broke NFL records for highest revenue in a regular season game. Was a career in sports always a goal of yours? I never imagined a career in sports was possible growing up. What kid thinks of sports as a business with employees? Once I was set on joining this world, there was nothing that was going to stop me from fulfilling this dream.
What life experience s do you feel best prepared you for a leadership position? I would say my experiences working in consulting and private equity were great training grounds and are a giant piece of the puzzle. Being able to work on many projects simultaneously in high pressure situations with executives from leading companies has been especially transferable. In addition, I ran a startup for a few years.
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It ultimately failed and I was faced with having to piece together why. I was a big reason why. I was not a great manager or leader and I had to self-reflect to understand how I could be better.