A Pet and Some FitBits Fuel Fuel’s Happy, Healthy Work Environment
On Fuel’s education team are (left to right): Lindsey Misale, David Young (brand ambassador), Raquel Deanda-Wyatt, Kelsey Higginbotham, Jealissa Martinez, Carlos Gallegos, Ashley Deubel and Steven Salina Ernewein.
It’s not the typical workplace at Fuel. Our Healthy Hairdresser sponsor for the month of July and a manufacturer of styling products, shears and heat tools, Fuel was conceived in a conference room by founders Bryan Batstone, Paul Yu and Richard Strom. The young Ohio-based company doesn’t have only young employees, but Paul Yu, VP of operations, says staffers of all ages are health-conscious. They use FitBits to track ongoing competitions with each other, and in their free time they often hang out together for kayaking, mountain biking or spinning.
“Having the right people on the team makes it fun to do things together,” Yu says. “Our business is family-focused, and we treat everyone as family. We’re there for each other.”
At 37, Yu maintains an active lifestyle that has him at the gym or a work team basketball game five or six days a week—often before work. “I’m up early,” he says. “I like morning workouts, because it gets me ready for the day. Then when I get to work I’m refreshed and very productive.”
The culture at Fuel headquarters organically encourages staff health:
- An onsite shower makes it easy for staffers to go from the gym or the basketball court straight to work and clean up when they arrive.
- Yu brings his dog to work daily. “I have a big German shepherd with a golden retriever personality,” he jokes. “He’s a soft baby! People in the office take him for walks and stop by my office to pet him. He keeps the mood in the building friendly and funny.”
- Employees are free to take a lengthy business call outside so they can get in a good walk as they’re talking.
- CEO Bryan Batstone is the role model for healthy eating, and “we all try to promote eating healthy foods in the kitchen,” Yu notes.
- A late afternoon, company-wide tea break helps the staff wrap up the day. “We make a pot of tea, and everyone has a cup,” Yu explains. “It’s kind of our spiritual outlet—our detox or meditation.”
The brand’s salon customers come into the fold of the family as well. “We believe in the change we’re trying to create in the industry, and we’re grateful for those we get to do it with and for,” says Fuel Educator Ashley Deubel. “We’re an education company through and through.”