As the Road Tour mobile – also known as the White Whale, due to its color and extreme girth – pulled into Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning, there was a palpable anxiety among the crew. It wasn't nerves born from any hesitation about the company we were visiting, but rather the source of concern was from what we knew we were going to be doing when we pulled up to Cavanaugh Marketing in Pittsburgh.
One word: push-ups.
Cavanaugh's founder Pat Cavanaugh instituted a push-up program for his 12 employees last year, which is part team-building, part motivation, and part wellness. Indeed, the staffers stop what they're doing four times a day – at 8:30, 11:30, 2:30, and 4:30 – and drop and do as many push-ups as they can at that very moment. "It's an inspirational thing for all of us," says Sotiris Aggelou, vice president of operations and development for Cavanaugh, who played basketball at the University of Pittsburgh in the 90s, while Cavanaugh actually played there in the 80s. "It's a unique experience that we've all come to value. Just four or five minutes four times a day, and it creates a great bond for all of us. Plus, it provides a quick boost of energy and motivation to continue our jobs. It literally pushes all of us to do more."
And while the employees met a stated goal of doing a total of 250,000 push-ups among the whole staff last year, the company has upped the ante this year and is shooting to do 500,000 push-ups. Of course, visitors are also expected to hit the floor – or the conference room table, as some choose to do – and participate in the push-up exercise. That's where the Road Tour crew's nerves came in. Always game for any challenge, we did the best we could and in the motivated and energetic office even pushed through whatever we thought we could do – 64 between the three of us. Not bad for push-up rookies.
The program, though, is emblematic of the motivational and team-oriented environment at Cavanaugh. "We're all always helping each other and really working as a team to get the job done and meet our goals," says Cara Cavanaugh, the manager of sales operations at the company who is also Pat's wife. "It's a place where we all enjoy spending time with each other, and where everybody is involved and engaged in the whole operation."
But it takes a certain highly-motivated person to work at Cavanaugh, and the hiring process clearly points that out. Conducting group interviews where candidates are in a room together, Cavanaugh makes sure to look for people who stand out and who are self-motivated to meet stretch goals. "We want people who are willing to go the extra mile, people who will do two extra push-ups when they know they can't really do any more," says Aggelou about the company's staffers, who all take part in multiple company outings each year and even compete in a Holiday Throwdown cooking competition in December. "It's a unique place to work, and we want people to always be motivated to do more and do better."