Jeff Suffolk, B.B.A.’02—Taking Chances from Challenges
By: Jessica Sliver, communication intern
When Jeff Suffolk, B.B.A.’02, is not shredding down the Colorado slopes or taking family vacations to a favorite spot in Charlevoix, you can find him at his home away from home, Human Movement Management.
Suffolk is the CEO of Human Movement Management, an event production company that produces the world’s largest running races such as The Zombie Run™, The Ugly Sweater Run™, The Color Run™ and The Dirty Girl Mud Run™. In addition to one-of-a-kind races, the company hosts unique events such as the Denver Oktoberfest and the LivingSocial Beer Fest.
“I get to manage 150 of the best employees on the planet day to day, and I get to spend my weekends hosting incredible live experiential events for millions of people around the world,” says Suffolk.
Graduating from Western Michigan University with a degree in finance and commercial law, Suffolk eventually made his way to Arizona where his first company was born. After attempting to swim in Tempe Town Lake and getting issued a citation for trespassing, Suffolk set up a meeting with the parks and recreation director of Tempe to figure out how to get a permit to swim in the town’s lake. From that meeting emerged his first event, the Soma Half Ironman in Tempe Town Lake. The event grew into one of the largest half ironmans in the country, which includes a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run. Soon after, Ironman North America came to host its world famous events there.
After he sold his original company Red Rock, Suffolk served a two-year non-compete and launched Human Movement Management in Colorado a few years later, and the company is now ranked the 19th best company in the United States to work for, according to Outside Magazine. The company most recently made the list of Wellness Top 10 Best and Brightest Companies in America and qualified for Inc. Magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies.
For Suffolk, one of the best takeaways from his college experience was networking. Even though it has been 14 years since he has stepped foot in the college of business, he still speaks with many Broncos from his era. “They have all gone on to do amazing things and are incredible resources for me to lean on. The Bronco network is an enormous resource,” says Suffolk.
One of the most interesting people Suffolk has met is Monroe Rifkin, the founder of American Television Corporation, who created the cable industry as we know it today. Acting as business mentors for Suffolk, Rifkin and his son-in-law Jeff Bennis have helped his company move forward. “They are both incredibly accomplished business leaders and have helped me manage our hyper-growth in stride,” he says.
Suffolk believes one of the biggest challenges that businesses face today is uncertainty in today’s credit and housing markets. But with challenge comes opportunity. “The uncertainty has forced this generation to build truly sustainable businesses,” he says. “With that experience comes monumental struggles but also amazing opportunities to change the future.”
On April 12 The Color Run™ and the Human Movement Management team will be coming to Kalamazoo to put on the “happiest 5k on the planet.” Read more about the Kalamazoo Color Run.