Charles Aris, Champion Sponsor
By: Courtney Murphy
When I sat down to talk to Chad Oakley, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Charles Aris, Inc., I could tell that he possesses the sort of unbridled energy that exists among avid runners and should exist in all board rooms. Chad is a member of both groups. Which makes the pairing of Charles Aris, BackPack Beginnings and the Kirkwood 5K (K5K) a logical relationship. Charles Aris is back again as the generous title sponsor of the 2014 K5K.
Charles Aris is the leading executive search firm in the Triad area as rated by Triad Business Journal, greatly surpassing other executive search firms with 166 executive searches last year. Despite the recent recession, they have seen significant growth and are breaking ground on a new 24,000 square office building this August at 301 N. Battleground Avenue in downtown Greensboro. They currently employ over 40 people, which makes them one of the largest executive search firms on the East Coast. Their goal is to grow to 75 employees by 2017. After hearing more about their benefits and commitment to fitness and wellness, it makes me want to work there. Organic fresh from the farm vegetables are delivered to the office on Fridays, a nutritionist is available for wellness questions and fitness is strongly encouraged.
Chad said that when the executive team sat down several years ago to determine a philanthropy to champion, they looked beyond their “day job” to consider their passions.
“We are passionate about Greensboro and impacting the local area. We are big believers in families. We care about education and believe that without it, we will never reach our full potential. And we care about health and fitness.”
BackPack Beginnings certainly met the criteria of impacting the local area and promoting education in our schools by nourishing children with healthy food, enabling them to be able to concentrate and learn. And the K5K is a family-friendly event that encourages fitness. Chad explained that they felt that both BackPack Beginnings and the K5K were very tangible counterparts to their passions. “It just made a lot of sense.”
As runners often do, we drifted our conversation over to running and races. We talked about recent races we had both participated in and of course, the beloved K5K.
CM: As a runner, what is your favorite part of the K5K?
CO: The kids fun run. It is awesome to see. Because most of them finish and they want to do the ‘big race’. Last year, after my 4-yo ran the Fun Run, he jumped in line with me and ran every step of the first mile of the 5K. He was weaving in and out of the crowds as I tried to keep up with him, pushing my daughter in a stroller.
CM: Is your whole family running in the race this year?
CO: Yes, my entire family will be a part of the race. My wife, Mindy, and I will both run. Katie, 10, will participate in the 5K. Chase, 5, plans to do the Fun Run and at least part of the 5K. Summer, 7, will ride in the stroller and get out for parts of the race.
CM: Do you have any time goals this year for K5K?
CO: Historically, I tried to be more competitive but now I spend more time waving and smiling.
Keep a look out for Chad smiling and waving on the course on August 23, 2014. And be sure to wave and smile back with a big shout out of thanks to him and Charles Aris for sponsoring this event and cause. I know I will.