Sprague president turns a job task into a bicycle ride for charity
These days, when the ability to do something as simple as talk on the phone and type at the same time earns a fancy monitor like "multi-tasking," it's good to know that there are people around who really put the "multi" into the tasks that they perform.
One of John McClellan's charges as president and CEO of Sprague Energy is Portsmouth, N.H. is to visit all 20 of the company's Northeastern terminal locations every summer. Last year, he created a way to combine that task with one of his loves, bicycling, and two of his favorite causes, the March of Dimes and Nashoba Learning Group.
That's how the "Doing More Bike Tour" was formed.
"Because I'm always pressed for time, I decided to combine several things that are important to me into one, well, actually two, events," McClellan explained. "As president of Sprague, I need to visit each of our company's 20 terminal locations on a regular basis. As a cycling nut, I need to ride my bike. Finally, as someone committed to helping those with special challenges, especially children, I need to raise awareness and funding for important causes. Therefore, I put all these themes together in the Sprague 'Doing More Bike Tour'."
This year's tour, which was co-sponsored by Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc., of Melville, N.Y., was divided into a pair of 500-mile legs. The first was from June 21-24 and included stops at Sprague sites in Oceanside, Mt. Vernon and White Plains, N.Y.; Stamford and Hartford, Conn.; Providence, R.I.; Quincy and Everett, Mass.; Portsmouth, N.H.; and South Portland and Searsport, Maine. From July 26-29, McClellan rode to Oswego and Albany, N.Y.; Middlebury, Rutland and White River Junction, Vt.; and Walpole, N.H. before concluding at Sprague's Portsmouth headquarters.
Along the way, bicycle riders were invited to ride along with him as long as they were willing to raise at least $500 for the March of Dimes and Nashoba Learning Group. The goal was to raise $100,000 this year.
In addition to completing a work task and feeding his bike-riding craving, the most important part of the trip was the aid that was being offered to the March of Dimes and Nashoba Learning Group.
The March of Dimes was formed in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a way to confront "threats to our nation's infants and children," namely polio. When polio was eradicated thanks to the vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, the March of Dimes turned its attention to another cause: birth defects, adopting a vision "to arrive at the day when every baby has the chance to be born healthy."
The pain of birth defects hit the McClellan family eight years ago when his son, Sean, one of his five children with wife Liz Martineau, was diagnosed with autism. Faced with that diagnosis, McClellan's wife left her position as director of an international consulting firm and put her efforts full-time into the research of autism, in the process earning a degree in Behavioral Education.
In January 2003, Martineau and a conglomerate of like-minded colleagues and parents, opened the non-profit Nashoba Learning Group. Starting with two students that year, the facility is currently at its 30-student maximum with a waiting list of 40. Plans are underway to expand the existing program with funds raised by the "Doing More Bike Tour" contributing to that goal.
For more information on the March of Dimes and Nashoba Learning Group,
visit www.marchofdimes.com or www.nashobalearnginggroup.org.