New Series: See How Zebras are “Living the Rugged Life” All Around the World
Meet Jay Alfonso, the Zebra Who Isn’t Afraid to Get Down and Dirty
“Ruggedness” is a quality that is important in many different industries. And whether it’s a player’s rugged physicality on the field or the rugged traits of an extremely durable piece of equipment, ruggedness is a characteristic that defines its owner.
As many of you reading this know well, ruggedness is a quality needed to perform your job to the best of your abilities. Whether you spend your days in a factory, patrolling the streets of your community, climbing utility poles to keep the lights on or mining for natural resources underground, you know that it takes a certain strength, resilience and stamina to complete the task at hand. (And the right rugged mobile technology in hand.).
But, we’re not here to talk technology today.
In fact, we want to prove that, at Zebra, we don’t just “talk the talk” when it comes to rugged technology. We walk the “rugged” walk (or run, hike, bike, swim, climb…). We don’t just spend our days designing, building, marketing, selling and deploying rugged tablets and smartphones. We go above and beyond to embrace and truly understand what it means to be rugged in our personal lives too.
That’s why we (the Your Edge blog team) decided to launch a new “Living Rugged” series – to share stories of our fellow Zebras in the wild (literally, in many cases). As you will see, their personal accomplishments are impressive. They are also numerous. So, over the next several months, we will showcase the many different ways in which Zebras embody ruggedness to their core.
First up is Jay Alfonso!
Jay Alfonso is the perfect example of an employee who challenges himself to “live rugged.”
Jay is a business process analyst who has been working in Zebra’s repair department since 2015. He spends his days focused on improving our internal repair processes and managing projects that help to ensure our service operations are running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. His goal is to minimize equipment downtime for Zebra’s customers, knowing that those devices are what help them capture their edge.
Outside of the office, though, Jay continuously pushes himself to capture his own performance edge.
Getting Down and Dirty (in Lots of Mud)
Jay keeps himself active in a multitude of ways, but one way he elevates his mental and physical capabilities to another level is by competing in the “Tough Mudder” challenge.
Tough Mudder participants complete a series of 25 obstacles varying in shapes and sizes over a distance spanning anywhere from 8-10 miles. These races have been taking place all across the United States since 2010 and have drawn in countless competitors who have dared to accept the challenge.
Jay personally has been competing since 2015, encouraging many of his fellow Zebras to join him on these rugged adventures. He has been organizing teams every year since he started competing, bringing groups of up to 17 people along the courses with him.
While there are plenty of similar events hosted around the country, Jay said there is one thing that separates Tough Mudder from the rest…
“It’s the teamwork,” Jay stressed. “It’s not as competitive. It’s more about working together as a team to get through the obstacles. Other races are about doing it yourself but doing the Tough Mudder as a team is what I like.”
“I Refuse to Be Knocked Down…”
Despite Jay’s experience in the competition, it has not always been easy for him.
Right before he was set to compete for the first time back in 2013, Jay tore his Achilles, holding him out from the event. But this temporary setback just added motivation to come back stronger. He completed his first Tough Mudder after a little over six months of recovery and about a year and a half of training.
He has also experienced some other minor setbacks over the years, but none have stopped him. In fact, he is competing harder than ever. Since 2015, Jay has gone on to finish his first Spartan Race and is set to compete in his fifth Tough Mudder this August.
Once again, he’s inviting others along!
Not Sure If You’re Ready to Take on Such a Rugged Challenge?
Despite the reluctance some may have about joining him in this year’s competition, Jay has some advice for those thinking about getting involved.
“It’s a good event to push yourself, to conquer your fears and work as a team. Don’t worry about being stranded or not being able to do the obstacles. You can always skip anything you don’t feel comfortable doing. It’s fun. I highly recommend people try it at least once.”
Editor’s Note: If you live in the Chicagoland area and are interested in joining Jay in the upcoming Tough Mudder (August 24-25 at the Rockford International Airport), let us know in the comment box below and we’ll put you in touch with Jay. Or check out the Tough Mudder website to find a challenge in your community.
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