By Lauren Sable Freiman | Photo by Gery Petrof
“The tenets of racing and business are very much aligned because individuals and teams have to be hyper-formed together, have great attention to detail, speed of decision-making and dedication to innovation,” Brad Copley, co-owner and president of Boss Pro-Karting, located just minutes from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, says. “It’s natural to combine racing and those tenets to advance teams within the corporate world.”
Racing as a team-building activity is not a new concept to Copley, who grew up in a family that was strongly connected by and through racing. For as long as he can remember, his dad, uncles, and cousins have been racing enthusiasts, a passion they shared together through the years. His cousin, Lee Boss, a three-time World Karting Association Champion, is also co-owner and vice president of Boss Pro-Karting.
With a background in mechanical engineering, marketing, and product management, Copley found himself in Budapest, Hungary, in 2002 to support the launch of a new product. With racing in his blood, he found his way to an indoor go-karting track, the first he had ever seen.
“I instantly fell in love with indoor racing, and I fell in love with the idea of an indoor track in Cleveland,” Copley says.
During Thanksgiving dinner in 2014, over a conversation about their shared disillusion with their corporate jobs, Copley and Boss hatched a plan to bring indoor racing to Cleveland. In January 2016 they broke ground, and this August they cut the ribbon to a 36,000-square-foot racing and events facility on a blighted piece of land at 18301 Brookpark Road.
“If you can drive a car, you can drive a go-kart,” Copley says. “The environment is bright and clean, air-conditioned and heated, and much more like walking into a restaurant or bar as opposed to a go-kart track.”
The karts, Sodikarts out of Europe, are electric, eliminating the gas, fumes and noise that are characteristic of other racing facilities.
While Boss Pro-Karting is open to anyone age 12 and up, Copley and his team have invested an immense amount of time and resources into building a program uniquely suited for corporate team building events. Copley, who teaches business marketing and entrepreneurship at the Baldwin Wallace University School of Business, joined forces with Invision Strategies in Cleveland and colleagues at BW to integrate team development, organizational development, and racing into one program.
One corporate package, the High Performance Academy, combines the DISC Behavioral Style Analysis with on-track racing, helping team members better understand their own individual behavior and personality styles, as well as those of their teammates. After putting the information to practice on the course, employees can then take that knowledge and practice back to the office, where they can work to better maximize individuals’ personal strengths.
“It is a very innovative and new integration, especially with the DISC testing,” Copley says. “If I take a strong results-oriented personality, they’re pretty fast on the track but dangerous, maybe hitting barriers. We talk about how to improve your racing, that sometimes you have to slow down to go fast, don’t break so aggressively. Oh, and by the way, look at how this applies back at the office. When you have a job to get done, don’t go blowing in on fire. Go in less aggressive, and the rest of the team will come along with you and be higher performing because of it.”
In the Pit Stop Challenge, teams work together to service a kart as the pit crew would during a race while building communication, cooperation, communication, and strategy development while learning the value of job-matching responsibilities to the person best suited for the job. Corporate race packages range anywhere from one and a half to six hours long.
In addition to the racing facilities, Boss Pro-Karting is a full-service events facility that can hold up to 500 people with a full-facility rental, 200 people classroom style, or 150 seated at round tables. Everything needed for corporate events is included, from projectors and screens to wireless microphones and recording capabilities to catering.
“Our approach to our business is that we get it, we get how hard it is for companies to plan an outing or team-building event,” Copley says. “When you book something, we make it easy.”
In the few short months since Boss Pro-Karting opened its doors, it has welcomed countless corporate events and individual racers. But Copley is also experiencing a different kind of success — personal fulfillment.
“It’s so fulfilling,” Copley says. “It’s a lot of fun. I’ve never been happier.”
For more info: bossprokarting.com