Greg Hawkins

MBA '10

Founder and CEO
Virginia and Maryland Triathlon Series

What do you do professionally?

I produce and direct the Virginia and Maryland Triathlon Series which consists of 30 races across the Mid-Atlantic. I am responsible for maximizing the athlete experience, finding race venues, day-to-day operations, race logistics, financing and marketing. This is a second career for me and was born out of a passion for the sport combined with the lifelong desire to be an entrepreneur. I get to set the strategic vision for the company as well as build and manage the teams that turn ideas into reality on race day. It's a great feeling to find a new venue, create courses, foster the relationships to make a great event, then stand at the finish line and high five athletes as they cross the finish line.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

The athletes that race our races and the team that I work with. I have met so many inspiring people over the years and count some of our longtime athletes as close friends. I've met folks that lost both legs, yet still manage to race multiple times a year. There is a lady in her mid-80s who races once or twice a year with us and still beats people half her age! If you are ever feeling sorry for yourself, meet one of our regulars, who is blind. You'll never be able to come up with a valid excuse for not exercising or pushing yourself again. All of our athletes are passionate about swimming, biking and running, and our staff is just as passionate about it. Showing up race morning is like walking into an athletic version of Cheers, it's a ton of fun!

What is the biggest challenge you face?

Time management: As the owner of a small business everything crosses my desk, and it takes constant effort to delegate, and follow up on, the multitude of tasks that need to be accomplished. With 30 races a year, we constantly have multiple projects tracking. Combined with a grueling travel schedule and three kids, it is tough to keep up on the mundane, yet essential items that keep a business on track, such as accounting, social media, marketing, keeping employees accountable, etc.

What sorts of interesting places has your position taken you? Do you have a favorite?

Again, this is another great aspect of my job. Triathlons all revolve around great places to swim and tend to be in picturesque locales that folks want to spend a weekend exploring. My current favorite is Rock Hall, Maryland. This is a small sailing destination on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The swim takes place in a sailboat-lined harbor with crab pots stacked in rows along the swim start. The bike course traverses gently rolling farmland along low traffic roads, then the run goes through the town of Rock Hall where every yard has a nautical theme (complete with boat) or is a bed and breakfast. Spending time in these towns, getting to know the locals and, of course, getting some training in really keeps my job enjoyable.

What is the best professional advice you've received?

It's been said before and is likely clich├ęd at this point, but do what you love. There is little point in making a lot of money if you are miserable every day at your job. I have been fortunate to be able to make a living in a sport that I am passionate about, and that changes peoples' lives. I own my job and the bottom line, which keeps me disciplined and efficient with my time. This in turn gives me a tremendous amount of flexibility to spend quality time with my family and create a real impact with my athletes. 

Aside from your current role, what is your dream job?

Most days I'm already living the dream job! However, since we are dreaming and if I absolutely had to do something else, it would be leading cycling and fly fishing tours in Patagonia. Bikes and fishing, what's not to love?

What do you like to do outside of work?

When I am home I enjoy spending time with my wife and three young children. We spend as much time as we can at the swimming pool or exploring the local hiking trails.

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at Fuqua?

Building out a strategy, refining it, then executing it. I always knew the marketplace was dynamic but Fuqua gave me the tools to create order out of chaos and adapt as needed. Charting the course is one thing, staying on course and adapting to reach your final destination intact is another.

Who was your favorite professor?

Patricia Thornton from New Venture Management; she did an outstanding job of bringing in entrepreneurs in various stages of company growth and fostering very real, direct conversations about the pros and cons of their business models and plans. As an entrepreneur, this course was extremely relevant and was my hands-down favorite during my time spent at Fuqua.

What is your favorite Fuqua memory?

Team meetings! I know that may sound strange, but being part of the Cross Continent MBA Program gave me a broad set of experiences in countries across the globe, and team meetings took place in every city with different sets of people. It was great getting to know people in smaller, interactive settings where you had a project on a deadline and you got to see their intellect and work ethic. Then, once the meetings and work were done, we would go explore the city together.
 
What does Team Fuqua mean to you?

Team Fuqua is knowing I can always call up a classmate or fellow alumni to kick around ideas. Living in Durham means I can take part in seminars at Fuqua and get to know others in the region. Team Fuqua is exactly that, a team where we are all pulling for each other's success.