Ask an expert: teamwork is key on a bike and on a build

As a Design-Build construction company, we’re not strangers to teamwork. It’s present in every project we take on. We know our integrated approach to design and construction is truly the best way to build smart. Whether it be our engineers, our architects, or our construction crew, each team member’s skill sets are necessary to get our job done. Our collaborative approach is key in every project we tackle. It’s just the way we go about our business at The Korte Company.

Few things embody this philosophy quite like Korte Hammer Down Racing, an elite cycling team formed right in our backyard. As Metro-East St. Louis’ first cycling club, Hammer Down is committed to using racing to grow their community through teamwork and responsibility. Since 2012, we’ve been proud to sponsor Hammer Down.

Based in O’Fallon, Illinois, this team of elite riders is led by Master Sergeant Maurice “Mo” Hessel, a United States Air Force veteran with almost 23 years of service under his belt. Mo sat down with us to talk about his passion for cycling and the importance of a military work ethic.

Q: Tell us about you and your role with Hammer Down

A: I’ve been cycling since the nineties, and I raced in Europe with a program for world-class athletes. Now, I’m the team captain for Hammer Down, which means I set our game plan for how we’ll ride on race day. You can’t plan for everything, but we like to start off with a huddle and get some strategy going.

Q: Strategy?

A: In bike racing, there are three or four different types of riders. Everyone on the team has a different responsibility. Sprinters can blast off from the pack in those last five hundred yards and win it for you at the end of a race. Climbers can get you up those hills. Drafters will stay out in the wind and work as hard as they can to protect their sprinters and get them to the finish line, and that’s what I do. You sacrifice your chances for the sprinter to win because it’s teamwork. You’ve got to be selfless.

Q: What training goes into something like that?

A: It might surprise you, actually. It’s pretty complex. All of our rides are rooted in producing power output. That can be three to six hours of daily training. We rest a bit in the fall, and then in winter we’re producing heavy volumes of mileage. By February, we’re in race season, and we’re focusing on specific elements, like sprinting and hill climbing.

Q: How does your military service influence your cycling?

A: It might surprise you, but there are a lot of similarities between racing and military service. Obviously, I’m not putting my life on the line when I’m out there on the bike, but the discipline that is needed and the teamwork required is one and the same.

Q: How is your hard work paying off?

A: As a team, we’re consistently finishing top ten in every race we’re in. As for me, cycling’s given me a way to decompress. Coming back to civilian life after a military career can be challenging, and cycling gave me direction and a chance to find my passion again. For me, though, the most fulfilling thing is watching my teammates succeed. Even though I know I can’t go pro, a few people on the team can, and I’m here to support them every step of the way.

Teamwork: it’s what we do

Just as Hammer Down embodies pride, teamwork, and discipline in the way they ride, we at The Korte Company are proud to apply these same values to how we build. It’s just our way.

Teamwork and toughness are a part of who we are. They help us build an effective and winning company culture, and we believe culture matters, because it helps us deliver consistent and quality results.

To see how company culture is important before, during and after construction, fill out the form below and download our guide to company culture in construction.


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