The way Analog engineer Erfan Shirazian sees it, TI invested in his wellbeing when he was an intern in 2007 by encouraging him to take part in the Richardson Corporate Challenge. The experience not only led to his decision to join TI after graduation, but also resulted in lasting workplace friendships.
With that in mind, Erfan wanted to create the same opportunity for other TIers by leading several hundred fellow employees back to the Corporate Challenge after a six-year hiatus from the event.
“I thought this was a great way to show the younger generation that TI is a company that cares about you in many ways,” said Erfan, a test engineering manager and MGTS in our Analog Engineering Operations (AEO) group.
“It’s not just about the work; it’s also about your life outside of TI.”
The Richardson Corporate Challenge is an annual Olympic-style competition involving more than 25 athletic and non-athletic events.
As TI has done in the past, the company covered entrance fees for Corporate Challenge participants. It also owns the on-site Texins Fitness Center, which provided needed volunteers to help coordinate the challenge’s team events. RFAB Manager Thomas Weichel sponsored the event through the Technology & Manufacturing Group (TMG) by providing TI shirts for all participants.
Click here to see results from this year’s event, which concluded last month.
CEO helps reignite TI’s competitive spirit
TI placed first in its division in the Corporate Challenge each year from 2002 to 2010, except for 2005, when we finished second. Erfan played on the soccer team for the last four years, helping the team win four consecutive gold medals.
That spirit of fierce competition was one thing that inspired Erfan to get back on track this year – and go for the gold again. Another point of inspiration came from an impromptu chat with Chairman, President and CEO Rich Templeton.
“The last time we participated in the Corporate Challenge was in 2010 – our involvement went from winning this thing to not being a part of it at all,” Erfan said. “It was very disappointing for me.”
“He was on a one-man mission to get this going again, and he made it happen,” said Clay Stephens, assistant executive director of Texins at our Dallas campus. “Not everybody can step into a program and pull it off like Erfan did. He still had a full-time job at TI. He was very organized – it was amazing to watch.”
Erfan is quick to point out that he had an army of people helping him, including Clay and his planning coordinators Arev Escobedo, Benjamin Cook, Mengesha “Gesh” Tekle, Eric Estes, Karen Treichler and Jitanka Chaudhury.
Although he didn’t realize it, Erfan has been building his planning team for about a decade. Arev, his “right-hand man,” was a fellow intern in 2007. He and Ben play soccer together, and he and Eric play basketball together on Fridays at Texins. Gesh is a longtime friend from the University of Florida who works out with Erfan at Texins.
Erfan also knew employees at Texins, so he asked if they could offer some support.
“Texins played a very big role in lifting this off the ground early on,” Erfan said.
But still, none of it would have happened without Erfan taking charge, securing the funding and helping recruit TIers for events ranging from billiards and putt-putt golf to cycling, running, softball and volleyball.
The TI team secured first place in Division
So Erfan mentioned the idea to Rich during a 2013 employee roundtable. They bantered about the need for volunteers to lead community events like the Corporate Challenge.
“Rich said, ‘If you’re willing to volunteer, why don’t you take the lead?’ I didn’t know if I had the time, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” Erfan said. “I started recruiting people right after that. If someone seemed interested, I kept track of their names on a spreadsheet.”
Three years later, that spreadsheet contains more than 800 names.
A (divisions are based on company size). We competed against the likes of Raytheon, PepsiCo, Southwest Airlines, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas and State Farm Insurance for the Division A title.
“It’s one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at TI. It’s not just about winning – it’s also seeing people at TI come together to plan and coordinate something like this,” Erfan said.
Will he lead TI to the challenge again next year? You bet he will. In fact, the Richardson Corporate Challenge board has also asked Erfan to join the board in 2017, and he accepted that role, too.
“It’s a great opportunity for TIers to interact with one another outside of work to build corporate spirit and camaraderie, while having fun and engaging in a community event. The overwhelming positive feedback from participants has me 100 percent convinced that we should be back in this for next year.”
If you’d like to get involved in next year’s Corporate Challenge as a planner and/or participant, send an email to email@example.com. Refer to this Infolink article for more information.