Climbing All the Way to the Top Shop

Lincoln’s owner Marc LeBaron is a fitness fan that thinks sound body, sound mind is good for business.
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If you take part in the onsite wellness program at Lincoln Industries, you might reach a certain level of success through hard work and sweat, while also getting fit and reducing your chance of illness or disease.

And if you reach platinum level—there are also gold and silver levels—based on metabolic screenings and being tobacco free, then Lincoln owner Marc LeBaron has a gift waiting for you: joining him on a 14,000-foot climb up a Colorado mountain.

That’s right, you just busted your behind dropping pounds at Lincoln’s HealthyU, the 24-hour on-site fitness center with treadmills, stair climbers and free weights that rivals many major college football facilities and you may have quit smoking or cut back on some other vices. Your reward is travelling to Colorado for an expense-paid retreat that culminates in a hike up Mount Bierstadt, Torreys Peak or some other well-known mountain that seemed like a dream a year ago.

After a 5-hour hike up the mountain, LeBaron greets you at the top and shakes your hand.

“Reaching the summit of a 14,000-foot mountain takes commitment,” LeBaron says. “Nothing speaks to our company’s value system more than our commitment to ensuring every Lincoln Industries person has the support they need on their wellness journey.”

LeBaron—whose company is one of the largest electroplaters in North America and is on the 2016 Products Finishing Top Shops list—is a fitness fan. But he is also a fan about his people, many of whom revere him as a personal hero and friend, not just the boss.

LeBaron put his money where his mouth was and built HealthyU, which includes not only an expansive fitness center for everyone, but also an on-staff nurse practitioner and medical assistant for when Lincoln personnel—or their spouses and children—are feeling a little under the weather and want to get things checked out. The cost: free.

“We support our people in making smarter, healthier lifestyle choices,” LeBaron says. “We encourage balance between work, home and personal goals. We believe that supporting our people’s health and wellness interests is a sound investment in our company, as the most important asset of the company is the people.”

Ask Mike Williamson what he thinks of his company’s program. He joined Lincoln in 2013 at age 48, and had been a smoker for 35 years. He joined other personnel in the wellness program and worked with a fitness coach and nutrition counselor and started a tobacco cessation program. Six months into the program, he quit smoking, saying he now feels better than ever.

“Not many people can say this, but I feel Lincoln Industries may have saved my life,” Williamson says.

Randy Shaw started at Lincoln in 2010 and had smoked since he was 15. When his supervisor told him he couldn’t smoke on Lincoln property, he would go to his car on breaks and drive around the block to get his nicotine fix. After a year, Shaw made the decision to quit, which was especially important as a single dad raising a 3-year-old daughter.

“I smoked my last cigarette on July 4, 2012,” Shaw says. “My daughter was starting to imitate my behaviors by putting toys or crayons in or near her mouth, pretending to smoke. I realized in order to save my daughter’s future and instill good behaviors in her, I would have to change my life completely.”

Soon after, Shaw began training for a half-marathon—tough-going for a recovering smoker who was just starting to repair his lungs. A year after quitting, Shaw ran the race in two hours, 15 minutes, and in 2013, he became eligible to climb the mountain. LeBaron was at the top of the summit, hand extended, congratulating him on the feat.

“Mission accomplished,” Shaw says.

Lincoln’s efforts have reaped recognition for the company, which is routinely ranked as one of the best places to work in the U.S. Lincoln has received the Innovation in Prevention Award from the Department of Health and Human Services. Other awards include the C. Everett Koop National Health Award, the American Heart Association Platinum Award for Start! Fit-Friendly Workplace, the Wellness Councils of America Platinum Award, as well as participating in the Center for Disease Control Worksite Wellness SWAT Project.

Several years ago, CNN did a big feature on Lincoln’s wellness program and it has quickly become a model for other programs around the country.

Has HealthyU resulted in a more productive workforce with fewer health-related costs? LeBaron says yes, indeed.

“The wellness program has been great for everything we do here,” he says. “Our first concern is our people. That is what motivated us. We want to take care of them, and in doing so, they have taken care of everything else that matters.”

For more information, visit lincolnindustries.com.


Originally published in the April 2016 issue.