Karl Schmitt Jr.

What happens when you gather teams of employees from Louisville-area businesses and organizations for a day of friendly competition and employee camaraderie – you get the Louisville Corporate Games.

Challenged by its board to think about what it could do to add to the quality of life in the community, three years ago, the Louisville Sports Commission created the Louisville Corporate Games. “The idea behind the games is to get people active and to get people moving,” Karl Schmitt Jr. said. Schmitt has served as president and CEO of the organization since 2010. “We wanted to give companies a way to build team spirit and camaraderie among their employees. We also wanted people to have fun. We patterned our games after the Indiana Sports Corp. They have been doing it for more than 15 years and have 160 participating companies.

CUB employees join the games

Michelle Forish

Michelle Forish, Assistant VP Commercial Banking Portfolio Manager with Citizens Union Bank (CUB) says the games provide a field day for grown ups. She participated in the first year as a team captain while working for another organization. When Forish joined CUB last year, she asked her boss, Debbie Prewitt, SVP Commercial Lending/Louisville Market President, if CUB could participate. Prewitt said yes and Forish was nominated as the bank’s team captain. “Debbie never questioned the cost,” Forish said.

Debbie Prewitt

CUB is headquartered in Shelbyville, Ky., but Prewitt says the bank views Jefferson County as a growth market. “Participation in events like the Corporate Games gives us lots of visibility among other companies, and that is always a good thing,” Prewitt said. “It is really nice because some of our clients are involved, as well as some of our prospects. Plus, it is just an all around fun thing to do.”  

“The nice thing for the bank is that we had employees and some of their significant others participating from all of our markets, from Shelby county to Hardin county to LaGrange and Louisville. As a bank, we value putting together and participating in events that all of our employees can take part.”

Fees and divisional competition based on company employment

Companies compete within one of four divisions based upon total Louisville-area employment (full and part-time employees). Each company’s team roster can include as few as 15 participants or up to 100 participants. Entry fees range from $1,500 to $3,000.

The Citizens Union Bank team competes in volleyball at last year’s Louisville Corporate Games.

“Some companies come out hyper-competitive and then some just come out to have fun,” Schmitt said. Five or six events are very competitive: 3 x 3 volleyball, 3 x 3 basketball, tug-of-war, and dodge ball among them. Other events still earn team points, but they are just more fun: frisbee toss, water-balloon toss, a version of cornhole where you are playing the game with the boards turned sideways, and parallel parking. Other “good sports” activities include a wellness walk, food drive, team selfie, a team tailgating contest and team t-shirt contest. All the events are co-ed and most require at least one male and one female participant. Click here to see the full list of games, descriptions, rules and scoring.

For those that may not be participating in a team event, they can still get moving during three-hours of non-stop activity in the YMCA Family Fun Zone.

Team captain encourages participation among employees

Each year the number of CUB employees participating in the Games continues to grow.

Forish says recruiting employees was made easier because she had participated in the first games and could tell people what it’s about. “I’ve never had three or four hours go by so fast and be that much fun,” Forish said. “You get your employees in a different environment where you are able to laugh and cut up, as well as show your competitive side.”

Forish is encouraged by the growth in employee participation. Last year, CUB had about a dozen employees and significant others participating. This year, the number of participants doubled. “Hopefully, we can continue to have even more employees participating,” she said. Because some of the bank branches are open on Saturdays, it can be challenging to ensure those that want to participate are able to make it work with their schedule. “Our managers are very good about not scheduling people to work when they know they want to participate in the games.”

Captain’s committee provides insight to Commission

Forish also serves on the captain’s committee, which Schmitt described as the Sports Commission’s eyes and ears about how things go with the event. They provide input on what competitions worked and what didn’t. The committee also helps with recruiting ideas. “Banks are very helpful in that regard because they know lots of companies,” Forish said. “The Sports Commission is really focused on companies that are local to Louisville and the Kentuckiana area.”

Companies participating doubles over three years

The Corporate Games continue to grow with 22 companies participating the first year, 33 in the second, and 47 this year. “It’s really part of our health and wellness initiative in this community to help build a culture of healthy lifestyles,” Schmitt said. “We’ve had over 2,000 employees from those companies participate.”

The third annual Corporate Games were held June 1 on the Kentucky County Day campus. The competition began at 8 a.m. and concluded with an awards ceremony at 1:30 p.m.

Awareness for the event also continues to grow. This year, the Sports Commission encouraged social media and gave points for teams that promoted the event on their social media pages. “On the morning of the event, we were the number one trending topic in the country for several hours,” Schmitt said.

Citizens Union Bank
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