From the Behind the Desk Series
This is the first in what we hope will be a regular series to engage with employees about their passions and how they manage their work/life balance.
Interviewer: Chris Devaney
Interviewee: Eric Smith, Project Executive, WhiteWater
CD: Eric thanks for your time today, I wanted to understand more about your motocross racing history and participation.
ES: Sure Chris, about two years ago I got back into racing motocross after an 18-year hiatus. Although, WhiteWater is not formally sponsoring me, I did ask for permission to use the logo because WhiteWater is also a big part of my life, and it does afford me the opportunity to pursue this passion.
CD: How did this come together after such a long time off?
ES: Honesty I had two close friends that were still active in the sport and could see how much fun they were still having with it. With a friendly nudge and some back in the day bench racing discussions I decided to give it a shot.
CD: Ok, as you know we always start with Safety. Does this passion conflict with our goal of safety 24/7 within the organization?
ES: Honestly, Chris, I think I complements it more than you would think. Our success in Safety starts with a clear commitment, preparation and planning. We focus on the ability to recognize risk and exposures and utilize tools and techniques to eliminate, mitigate or control them. You may have heard the saying races/games are won or lost in the offseason. Motocross is no different than any other sport. The preparation, planning and work you put in on the front end often directly relates to the end results. That is no different than what our team members, in the field, deal with day in and day out. Good pre-planning(P-3), preparation and the ability to recognize potential hazards and adjust to them and make decisions as things change is essential.
CD: At higher rates of speed!?
ES: Yes and no, our team members are constantly having to make decisions real time that affect them, their families, team members or people around them. No different than on the track.
CD: How do you balance you time between this with your other responsibilities?
ES: We talk about work life balance a fair amount. I think everyone needs an outlet to truly disconnect and recharge. With racing it’s not an option to not be fully present in what you are doing at that moment. Emails, and the like take a back seat on the track.
CD: How about the competition?
ES: It is amazing how many parallels there are in racing/competing to our working world. We already spoke to preparation but also the ability to calculate and manage risk/reward and when properly understood act. Admittedly, my racing is not on the same level as when I was younger, but I think I am more open to the lessons learned from competing and better able to translate those lessons to other areas of my life such as work. Whether it is work or racing everyday there is someone out there striving to win and be the best. In both instances, I am competitive and try to manage all the variables to chalk up a win.
CD: Any final take-away for others from your racing experience?
ES: Absolutely, you’re only as old as you feel, and you only have so many trips around the sun. I am thankful for the opportunities WhiteWater which have also put me in a position to enjoy this passion. #Justkeepmoving