posted on August 7, 2023
The adage is true, “Days are long and years are short” (Gretchen Rubin). As I age I try to remember to take moments and be thankful for everyone and everything around me. With that in mind today I want to introduce you to a few friends of mine (that you may already know). This is my chance to thank some of the people that keep UF running, and me from working too hard :-).
First up is CeJ, also known as CJ or Charles Edward Jasper. What you may not know is that CJ and I have worked together too many times to count. He began interning with us when I was director of strength and conditioning at Robert Morris. He spent years bouncing around as a strength coach with stops at The Ohio State University, The Mets, Morehead State, Youngstown State, as well as a return trip to RMU with yours truly.
One thing I can say separates CJ is how he thinks. My running joke is CJ always thinks outside the box, so much so that sometimes I have to pull him back into the box. Due to how he thinks, and works, he always has an idea. Most of the summer events we run are his idea, he also handles all programming for our most popular class (powerful). In addition there is an added bonus with CJ, we also get one Skylyn to hang around the gym and be a positive force.
CJ I am thankful for your friendship and the chance to work with you. CJ is a friend and a co-worker for that I am grateful.
Next up is Toria Crispin! Tordawg is a two time MVP employee of the U! Toria came to us while working full time at Pitt. She was living in Parkview and wanted to pick up a part time job. Curtis hired her she brought her awesome self here from day 1. She worked here while holding down her full time job, and was awesome stepping up during the Covid time period.
She did leave us to take a job at University of Colorado at Denver. When a position opened up she was my first call. I knew she would not only be a great fit for us, but that we would also be a great fit for her. After some arm twisting I convinced her to come back and join us at the U. I can honestly say she keeps me on point most days. Without her at work we would probably or definitely mess up more things than I already do daily.
I am thankful for Toria’s friendship and that she is here with us at the U. When you see her pat her on the shoulder (make sure it’s her good shoulder) and thank her for all she does for us.
Finally, the new guy, Zain. Zain had some big shoes to fill, he took over after Curtis moved on from the U. If you don’t know his story (because he is humble and rarely tells his story), I will share some of it here. Zain is a veteran. Zain served in the Navy, his 21st b-day was ruined by international battles. He has seen more of the world than most of us.
After his service Zain went to Pitt where he competed in bodybuilding and powerlifting. He was on Pitt’s powerlifting team and received his masters at Pitt. Additionally Zain has been working two full time jobs for the last 3 months. In order to finish his masters he needed to do an internship, he did an internship at the UPMC complex in Cranberry while working here full time. He rarely talks about it and shows up everyday ready to work. I respect how he handled this. It also means that he set a high standard so if he gets lazy I can always remind him that his work load is now half of what it was all summer.
Zain we are lucky to have you at the U and we appreciate all you do and bring to the U.
There are many other people at Union Fitness that make us better everyday. I also want to thank all of our people for what they do. I know I am an imperfect leader, yet I keep trying to learn and grow daily. Our goal is to empower our people so they can empower our members and our community.
Thank you for spending time reading about these awesome people!