Business promotes health

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tujana Davis meditates during a yoga class at Teledyne.

Teledyne managers of sophisticated electronics production here want quality, security and healthy employees - facts of life for employees who on Thursday celebrated the latter without remarks about the former.

Dozens of Teledyne employees have been using their off time to ease the stress of a production line through yoga, exercise machines and wellness programs. It's encouraged from top management and with friendly competition.

Now, in its third straight year of growth, the military contractor has employees with shrinking waistlines in conjunction with a new fitness center and an employee wellness program. To celebrate, the company held a wellness fair for its employees last week.

Thursday's special guest was Liz Young of Chapel Hill, a semi-finalist on the Biggest Loser NBC TV show. Since then, Young has been on a national speaking tour and holding boot camps with fellow Biggest Loser contestant Tracy Yukych.

"It is rare to speak to people from my own community," Young said.

Young ribbed some employees for enjoying too many ribs at the wellness fair, gave a quick exercise boot camp, and handed out prizes to the winners of the Teledyne Biggest Loser Competition. Placing first was Angie Davis who dropped 13 percent of her weight.

"Teledyne really rolled out the red carpet for your exercise facility," Young told Teledyne employees. "Take advantage of this great facility."

Teledyne's Fitness Center is the culmination of an ongoing effort by the company for wellness of its employees. Each year, Vanderbilt comes to Teledyne to conduct health screenings and the company has had a Weight Watchers program for the past three years.

Teledyne VP Norm Wolstein approached Human Resources Director John Boutwell about taking their wellness program up another level when he noticed his own waistline heading in the wrong direction.

"We understand how tough it is to balance your work and personal lives," Wolstein said. "We wanted to provide you a place to help you do that."

Wolstein has shed nearly 50 pounds since he started to participate in the wellness program and he says he plans to win next year's Teledyne Biggest Loser contest.

The Teledyne Fitness Center is state of the art with elliptical machines, weights, a yoga/dance studio and other facilities.

Diane Nasser is serving as the Fitness Director for Teledyne and comes from the Dayani Wellness Center of Vanderbilt. She works with employees on their fitness routines and their yoga classes.

"This is an important program for not only the health of employees but for their morale," Nasser said. "Using the exercise room and taking part in yoga classes here at Teledyne really pulls the employees together."

In addition to the center and program, Nasser said, "Vanderbilt has been coming down here with nurses for health screenings. Teledyne is very generous with their help on that."

As for the fitness center, Nasser said, "We set up in the beginning of March. They had already begun setting up equipment and I made recommendations on additional equipment and yoga props."

Dozens of employees take yoga classes and there's been a heightened awareness of the importance of exercise for overall health, she said.

"Now, they have to do this on their own time," Nasser said, but employees are offered incentives for lowering cholesterol, losing weight and smoking cessation. Locker rooms and showers are available.

And Teledyne's cafeteria is offering healthier food. "The nutritionist from the Dayani Wellness Center has consulted with and advised the food vender hired to run the cafeteria. They've put in a steamer and more refrigerators" to expand the menu.

Wellness fair booths were set up by AFLAC, Rejuvenate of Jubilee Hills, and Weight Watchers. Door prizes and drawings were held including a great spa treatment day at Rejuvenate of Jubilee Hills located on Cornersville Road.

"We think this is great," said Flo "Coach Flo" Grabowski of AFLAC. "And as we always say, healthier employees make for more productive employees."

Copyright 2010 Marshall County Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.