Lynnpro - September 2019


September is Self-Improvement Month, and one of the most impressive people in my life when it comes to self- improvement is my wife Cheri. She’s always striving to do her best, beat the odds, and overcome her personal weaknesses. In our years together, she has survived a bout with cancer, brought me two wonderful children, helped me run two businesses, and pushed herself to the limits of physical fitness as a CrossFit coach — and she’s still aiming to do more.

Cheri’s 51st birthday was this summer on July 13, and, to celebrate, I decided to gift her another step in her self- improvement journey in the form of tickets for a four-day Tony Robbins event in Dallas, Texas, called Unleash the Power Within. It’s a challenging program that includes hours of empowering workshops and seminars each day. We’d seen Robbins before in Chicago, and I’d been struck by how much Cheri enjoyed it. She normally doesn’t like crowds, but she seemed to have a great time even though we were surrounded by thousands of people in the United Center, and she had to talk to dozens of them. When I asked her why she was so happy — it was a big surprise to me — she said her dislike of crowds was a hang-up she wanted to overcome. She added that, in the end, facing her fear hadn’t been as bad as she thought. Before our trip to Dallas, Cheri was nervous about going, but we agreed the best way to deal with fears is to face them straight on. We all have

to work to improve in some areas, but we can do so little by little. The way I think about it, life is like a football game. You gain yardage, and, hopefully, in the end, you gain enough to make a difference.

always room for improvement, but we’re gaining yardage every day.

That said, I’d like to give a huge shoutout this month to all of the employees on that self- improvement journey with us. Labor Day is a reminder to appreciate everything you do, but for us, every day is Labor Day on our production floor. We couldn’t be successful without your hard work, and we hope you realize how much your happiness means to us. Though Cheri and I did spend a chunk of our summer embarking on a Live Life Journey, we also made sure to take time out for ourselves, and we always encourage our staff to do the same. At Lynnpro, we don’t work late or come in on weekends, and our motto is “Live life. Don’t just exist in it.” Whether Cheri and I are going to concerts, riding our bikes, working in the office, or spending time with our grandchildren, we do our best to live up to that motto every day. If you choose to buy from Lynnpro, you’re buying into that philosophy, too. –Jeff Saxby

We put that same philosophy to work at Lynnpro; we are always striving to improve. We provide a framework of goals and core values for our employees to work within and aim to treat our customers as friends and coworkers, not just anonymous voices over email or the phone. As a result, we’re well-known in the industry for our great customer service and top reviews. Each new initiative we try comes with an adjustment period — employees, like kids, sometimes push boundaries before they settle into new ways of doing things — and there’s

“Life is like a football game. You gain yardage, and, hopefully in the end, you gain enough to make a difference.”

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The NFL’s Newest Rule Changes to Decrease Concussions

number of concussions between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, lowering the total from 281 in 2017 to 214 in 2018 when combined with preseason play. In the regular season alone, the number of reported concussions was 135 compared to 190 from the year prior. However, it’s worth noting that 2017 saw high recorded rates of concussions. Figures going as far back as 2012 indicate that 2017 was one of the most concussed years in recent football history. Still, NFL and medical officials point to 2018’s decrease in concussions as a positive sign that league initiatives are working. Officials say the new rules helped push the numbers down, and the use of more sideline concussion protocol testing and increased advanced helmet technology aided in this boost. The NFL reported that 74% of its players were now wearing its latest protective headgear, a 33% increase from 2017. According to USA Today, the NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, also indicated that medical teams across the league performed more sideline concussion tests than any year prior and saw a 75% decrease in diagnosing. The league is considering testing mouthguard technology that would give medical teams more information for diagnosing concussions. As we prepare for another season of football, there’s no telling what 2019’s numbers will show about the NFL’s latest safety protocols, but, if 2018 was any indication, they just might be headed in the right direction.

Our office manager, Jena, is one of our newest employees here at LynnPro, but she became a member of the family as soon as she started the job. Before applying to run our office, Jena worked in accounts payable at another company here in Clinton, Iowa. She liked the work, but, when her position was eliminated, her job search brought her to our door. “I came in and interviewed, and I was really intrigued in the interview by the atmosphere and the personality at LynnPro. It’s just a very upbeat, customer-focused company. It’s a great place to be,” Jena says, adding, “It’s a very small group of people, but there are a lot of great personalities put together here.” In her day-to-day work, Jena keeps track of our marketing efforts, communicates with and collects feedback from customers, oversees employee relations, maintains our customer databases, and takes care of purchasing to ensure our inventory is always stocked. She has a hundred hats but manages to wear them all with grace. MEET JENA AUSTIN! EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Prior to the 2018 National Football League (NFL) season, the league administration introduced two rules aimed at preventing concussions: Players are no longer allowed to “wedge” block — players running shoulder-to-shoulder into another player — during kick-offs, and they can’t lower their helmets when they tackle. Fans and players complained about the “soft” stance the NFL took on the gritty play football was built on. Most notably, former Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was subjected to a game-costing “roughing the passer” penalty for tackling in a way that would have been allowed in years prior. The NFL reported that it would be using Matthews’ hit as a teaching tape. Despite the backlash, offseason reports may suggest that these rules have influenced concussion rates. The NFL reported a 24% decline in the

everyone is treated like family. “We try to carry that over to the customer service we offer and make the customers feel that way, too,” she says. When she’s not at the office, Jena stays busy spending time with her husband and their blended family of six kids, gardening, cooking, and baking. She just had both knees replaced after a rough athletic career took its toll, and she can’t wait to get back to her regular schedule of biking and relaxing on the Mississippi riverfront. “I got to enjoy the view and just de-stress and breathe,” she says.

As with most of our employees, Jena says one of her favorite things about working at LynnPro is the work-life balance we encourage.

Thank you, Jena, for all you do!

“When the workday ends, you leave, and there’s no stress or anything to carry over,” she says. She’s also proud of the office atmosphere, where


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Even though we love our employees, our “live life” philosophy means sometimes we have to kick them out of the office. We think it’s vital they spend nights and weekends pursuing their interests and hanging out with their families, and one thing we love about Becca Tate Richardson — our invaluable sales consultant of 10 years — is she doesn’t need to be told twice. “My favorite thing about working at Lynnpro is how family oriented it is,” Becca says. “It’s an easy, open place to work with room to move up. I don’t have to worry about weekends, and time off is always doable. It’s one of those workplaces that doesn’t give you too much anxiety.” When she’s in the office, Becca is a hard worker and an excellent closer. She spends her days following up with potential clients and taking new orders. Then, she keeps an eye on those orders through the whole printing process, taking them from hypothetical ideas to the

physical T-shirts, lanyards, and mugs we ship out to schools, companies, and events across the country. That hands-on part of her job is something she truly appreciates. “I work in an office, but I can look through a window to see production to the right and left,” Becca says. “I see them produced, and know what the items look like from start to finish. It’s not like working in a stuffy office — I actually get to see the work happen.” After hours, Becca can usually be found in her backyard with her family. In the summer, they love grilling up dinner while the kids, 6-year-old Amber, 7-year-old Bradley, and 21-year-old Shelby, splash around in the pool. She also loves going for bike rides and playing with her pets, two cats named Tom and Jerry, and a long- haired miniature dachshund named Tater Tot (Tater for short).

Even with all of that waiting at home, Becca says she still looks forward to working at Lynnpro every day.

“It’s the most unique workplace I’ve ever been in,” she says. “If you fit in here, you’re like family.”

classic apple crisp

word search

Inspired by Food Network

What do you do when apples are in season but you don’t have time to make a pie? You opt for a crisp, of course.


Filling: • 5 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour

Topping: • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour • 1/3 cup brown sugar • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon • 1/4 tsp salt

• 2 tbsp maple syrup • 1 tbsp lemon juice DIRECTIONS

• 6 tbsp chilled butter, cut into pieces • 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. In a mixing bowl, mix all filling ingredients together. Transfer to individual serving ramekins. 3. In a different mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt for the topping. Mix in butter until it forms lumps roughly the size of a pea, then stir in pecans. Sprinkle topping over filling. 4. Bake for 35–40 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes, and serve.





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inside this issue

1 2

Finding the Power Within

NFL Lowers Concussion Rates in 2018

Employee Spotlight: Meet Jena Austin!


Employee Spotlight: Meet Becca Tate Richardson!

Classic Apple Crisp


Crazy Homes Not Built by Architects

It doesn’t always take a master architect to create a breathtaking home. Some homeowners have shunned suburban domiciles and, with a little artistic vision and a lot of determination, built homes that capture their identities. Quirky, meticulously constructed, and always unique, here are a few of the world’s wackiest homes designed, and sometimes built, by their owners.

was going for. The staircase looks like human vertebrae, skeletal hands act as towel hooks in the bathroom, and tendril-like fixtures surround the living room couch. Perhaps the most out-of- character addition to the house is a large mural of the bat symbol painted on the garage door, which is the origin of the property’s name.



Surprisingly, Stuart Grant’s cozy forest cottage was not inspired by the hobbit holes of “Lord of the Rings.” In fact, Grant built it over 15 years before the first movie was released. Still, it’s hard not to imagine some magical creature taking up residence in this house, which appears to be an extension of the forest itself. Gnarled tree trunks frame a circular door, moss coats the roof, and ivy covers most of the walls, all belying a cozy interior fit for many a hobbit meal or dwarf song. These homes may not be for everyone, but that’s kind of the point. Each of these homes was built by a specific resident, for a specific resident. Still, you can’t help but be impressed by the determination of their owners to make something truly one of a kind.

When someone says they live on the water, they probably don’t mean they actually live on the water. But for artists Wayne Adams and Catherine King, the statement is literal. Freedom Cove, their remote, magenta-green island home, floats in Clayoquot Sound near Vancouver Island. They started building it from old, interlocking steel docks in 1991, and now it includes 15 platforms, four greenhouses, a guest house, an art workshop, and more.



The best word to describe this home is probably “anatomical.” That’s certainly the aesthetic movie set designer and Bat Casa resident Steve Rood


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