Every year, the company that Athlete Guild acquires its timing software and hardware from hosts an annual conference. This year the conference was in St. Louis which is where they are headquartered. This is a very dynamic and innovative company, hence the name. They spend an incredible amount on research and development to make their products the best in the industry. I personally think that their systems are the best bar none. The read rates on the chips are the highest in the industry. The difference with their products is that rather than taking off the shelf components and cobbling them together to make a timing system, ITS has actually designed and developed solutions intended for this market. The result is a great set of products of which we are proud users. As a race director, I looked for several years for a solution that would fit my needs. I was tired of the distribution problems associated with legacy products and the collection issues involved at the race. I had seen several systems out there that purported to solve that problem but none came close to the precision and quality that ITS delivered. Is it perfect? Absolutely not, but then no product is. I can tell you countless stories of timing situations gone bad for every vendor out there, but that's not the point. The point is that ITS continually strives to do their best and achieve excellence.
So what does that have to do with Athlete Guild? Well for one, Athlete Guild was awarded one of two Founder's Awards this year at the conference. Last year we received the Technology Company of the year award for our website and the many tools that we provide most of which only our race directors see. What the Founder's award means is that we are seen as a company that is continually striving to improve and grow and meet the needs of our community with professionalism. Our growth rate over the last 3 years has been nothing short of phonomenal. The reason is because of you our customers; whether you are a participant, race director, race organizer, or beneficiary. We continually strive to provide quality service and improve our game. It is not to say that we don't make mistakes or sometimes fall short of expectations. The difference is that we recognize our weaknesses and do everything that we can to improve. We're constantly looking for ways to help your races grow and meet your goals. Receiving the Founder's Award has simply raised the bar for us because we want to make sure that we have not only earned it but continue to meet its stated ideals.
I am excited about this year and the growth of our industry. While I have seen some races go away, many more are popping up. Organizations are seeing the opportunity to raise some much needed funds and people in general are finding that they are great way to stay healthy and involved. I'm glad that Athlete Guild has the opportunity to be a part of it. I hope to see you out there at one of many events that we will be involved in this year. Good luck in 2013.