Chief financial officer, EMCO Technologies • 41
Many people who work out faithfully subscribe to the belief that if exercise isn't the first item on the day's agenda, then it won't happen.
Mike Lee is among them. By 5 a.m., three mornings per week, Lee is at one of the YMCA branches, where he swims for an hour. Other weekday mornings, he attaches his bicycle to a stationary trainer at home and rides before his wife and son wake up.
"It works better for me to get it done before there are too many distractions," he says. "I've tried it other ways, but it just doesn't happen."
Early morning workouts, Lee says, come with an added benefit: They help him clear his mind, review the details of the day and retain a positive outlook.
"I used to listen to music when I worked out," he says. "Now I just like the quiet. It helps me relax and plan."
If Lee's workouts are quiet, then his workdays are the opposite.
EMCO is a 50-year-old industrial communications and information technology company that has experienced exponential recent growth. The company's sales have more than tripled since 2006, thanks in part to an expanding information technology division that has landed large contracts with Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard. EMCO also is the primary industrial communications provider to petrochemical facilities between Port Hudson and New Orleans.
"We've got a lot going on," he says. "It's an exciting time for us."
Lee has always been physically active. He played football and baseball at Glen Oaks High School, and he stayed in shape throughout college and graduate school. From 2001-07, Lee was an avid triathlete, competing in numerous events including the Escape from Alcatraz, whose 1.5-mile swim unfolds in San Francisco Bay. He also completed eight Ironman competitions.
But today, his approach is different.
"It took an incredible amount of time to train for those things, especially for the biking part," Lee says. "Balance is just more important to me now than rigor."
Along with his morning workouts, Lee takes long bike rides on weekends, sometimes with his 11-year-old son. But the cornerstone of his workout is swimming.
"I've competed enough to feel comfortable with swimming, but it was a challenging sport for me at first. It's all technique," he says. "The good news is that it's pretty hard to hurt yourself, and it's a great way to get a good all-around workout."
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