Thursday, May 18, 2017

From the Ski Race to the Rat Race

Someone once told me that you can't be an elite ski racer forever. Perhaps they were right. Or maybe not.

Mackenzie and Pati

But one thing's for sure, you can't be a college ski racer forever, because the NCAA only gives you four years. So if you haven't won an NCAA Championship by the time you're a senior, you're done trying. And there's no petitioning for an extra year. 

Mackenzie Kanady left town yesterday for the high plains of northeastern Colorado, where she plans to help Halliburton squeeze the lifeblood of Earth's internal combustion engines out of the grassy steppe east of Greely. She'll be spending long days in the field, putting her recently-acquired mechanical engineering degree to use, keeping the oil-drilling infrastructure operating and keeping that dinosaur juice flowing out of the ground and into our Fords and Chevys.

She's been told her assignment is going to involve brutally long hours on the job in all kinds of weather, in a high-consequence environment in a high-stakes industry. So, needless to say, she's going in with some trepidation.

This past winter, Etienne was a substitute schoolteacher for the Anchorage School District, and an assistant coach for the South High School ski team.
And Etienne Richard left town, too.  He boarded a plane on Wednesday of last week, arriving in Canmore, Alberta in the middle of the afternoon. He went straight from the airport to the office at his new job and spent the next two days cramming frantically to get up to speed in order to be ready to make a sales pitch on behalf of his new employer at a big conference over the weekend in Kamloops, British Columbia. By all accounts, Etienne inspired lots of crowd participation during his presentation, and everyone left the building feeling great! He has agreed to provide his sales and marketing services to Zone 4 Timing. So if you're looking to organize a race anywhere in North America and you want to know how fast the racers went, you ought to give Etienne a call, because he'd love to tell you what his new employer can do to brighten your day!  (You may have noticed, if you clicked the link above, that Etienne's photo isn't on the staff directory page yet. But he told me he really does work there. And he's always been pretty straight with me so I have no reason to doubt him.) 

Etienne and Davis Dunlap on the road - finding a moment of relaxation and repose

Both Etienne and Mackenzie are changing pace, leaving familiar academia and elite athletics behind in exchange for the world of corporate balance sheets, production goals, and regular paychecks. It's an exciting transition into new territory. But coming from the rigorous lifestyle of a college student-athlete, I'm sure they'll both find their new work environment to be a fun (rather than a daunting) challenge.

Etienne and Mackenzie with their teammates in 2014

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