William Hadley, Williams, Business Development
Bike Club makes sense for Bill Hadley. His desire to participate came easily since he rides bicycles in his free time. In addition to that, the company he works for, Williams Companies, is a big supporter of the local community. While most people know Williams is a huge backer of United Way, the company also has a Tulsa Public School partner in Sequoyah Elementary and recently made a 4-year commitment (both financial and volunteer staffing) to the Bike Club at that school. "It's part of our company's culture: to give back," said Hadley.
But what becomes apparent when you talk about Bike Club with Hadley is how attached he is to the Bike Club at Robertson Elementary where he volunteers with the 36P Tulsa bike team. He and 36P have established a presence at Robertson over the past 3 years that he is not about to give up on. They have made connections with the school staff and the parents — but most importantly, the kids: "I appreciate Williams stepping up for Sequoyah, but I don't want to leave my school and what we have built," said Hadley.
To juggle the demands of work and Bike Club, Williams has recruited 20 to 25 volunteers to help with Bike Club at Sequoyah. Williams only asks that 5 of these volunteers attend each week during the school year (meaning each person will go approximately once a month). If someone has signed up for a specific date, but then has a work obligation arise that takes priority, there is a deep bench to pull from to still meet the needs of the kids. "Bike Club is an extension of Williams' culture of giving. All it takes is an hour or two on one day each month during the school year. And the best part is you get to spend some time with happy kids," said Hadley.
"This is also an opportunity to engage the community," added Hadley. "We get to talk to these kids about our jobs. They get to meet engineers and accountants, and learn about careers they may have never explored. And in the spring, as we venture off campus, they grasp that their bike is a new form of transportation leading to a new level of freedom."
Bike Club's "plug and play" program is ready to go in any school. The continued growth of Bike Club is only limited by the number of volunteers. And a volunteer doesn't have to be a "serious" cyclist to participate. You only need to be able to ride a bike with a 5th grader (typically a few miles). And as spelled out above, the impact to an employee's schedule is minimal — just a few hours once a month if a company or organization can provide 20 - 25 volunteers. Bike Club is ready to roll out in any school where there are volunteers to support it.
"The truth is," said Hadley, "we tapped out most of the cycling community in Tulsa. For this program to continue to grow and benefit these children, we need more corporate sponsors stepping up," said Hadley. He challenged Bank of Oklahoma, Whirlpool, American Airlines, WPX Energy, ONEOK, PSO, NORDAM and a host of other Oklahoma companies to help with Bike Club. "Are they willing to step up and make Bike Club a success for more kids?"
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