U.S. Elite’s Transformation - The Ouroboros in Action

U.S. Elite’s Transformation - The Ouroboros in Action

Ed Castellanos

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." - Andy Warhol

Questioning Our Purpose

2019 has come and gone; another year, another decade, in the annals of U.S. Elite’s existence (for those counting, that’s two decades of existence; and one decade under this ownership). It has also been a time of dramatic evolution. Sure the year started out like any other - looking for new brands, new products, upcoming projects, planning for the months ahead, the usual. Then we started an introspective review, a thoughtful look in the mirror and asking ourselves existential questions - what’s our purpose? Who are we really, and what’s our reason for being? Who are we serving, why, how, and with whom?

We asked the amazing members of the U.S. Elite team to give their input on 2019 and what was the craziest/coolest thing that has happened to them last year:

"Fell in love with my wife again." - Steve, Scout and Steward

"1- Feeling and surrounded with Love, having my Love tank full to the max and beyond for and by my husband, family in Egypt and my Pups. Love for me is my main fuel to full speed to happiness, joy, hope, passion, and just help me to be my best self. 2- The strong comeback to Steve for his Company. The decisions he made, the clean up, the steps he and the Team took - and are taking - to grow and go where we want, both personally and professionally. 3- Attending Tony Robbins' Date with Destiny event was AMAZING and had a huge impact on my life, both personally and professionally. 4- Having a clear vision about my top 10 values, getting them written on paper and work on integrating and living them daily." - Amal, Sales

"Amazing trip with my family around Southern Europe and finding out I'm going to be a daddy to another little girl." - Ed, Curator

"NYC trip w/ U.S. Elite team and Hugh/Steven from Amer Sports." - Paul, Operations Manager

"Was honored to be invited to Tomhawk's charity event in Nashville and meet some amazingly badass men and women who risk their lives for our country every day." - Kim, Community Champion

"Complete renovation of the US Elite warehouse." - Ike, Warehouse Manager

"2019 was a BIG year of personal development and falling deeply in love with who I truly am (morals, virtues, and character). Being able to travel to California to work with a person I consider a teacher and a mentor was one of the greatest blessing I received." - Abe, Production

"We got pregnant with our first kiddo! Also started working with the amazing team at U.S. Elite." - Juliette, Digital Marketing

"Joining the US Elite team and having the opportunity to work with some amazing people." - Mike, Sales

Giving Back to Community

U.S. Elite’s Owner, Steve Keefer, took the proverbial bull by the horns, and conducted a deep dive into what is it we are and what are we doing. The Team has always wanted to give back to the community, to help out those who serve; it has always been a very fundamental part of our DNA but what were we really giving? How U.S. Elite conducted business, in the very literal step-by-step process of managing orders and how they were processed, was picked apart and evaluated with a group of analytical individuals. Our business strategy and marketing was scrutinized by Steve and an assemblage of successful business leaders including Jay Abraham himself. We needed to make some adjustments, and though time changes things, you actually have to change them yourself.

Warriors Heart Foundation

The second half of last year was when the changes really started happening. After a facelift and major construction, we moved our entire stock back to U.S. Elite headquarters in Hawthorne NJ - an act to ensure we had control of every step of the order fulfilling process for our major brands. U.S. Elite re-visited how we, and who, did our marketing - an integral part of our e-commerce and overall business. We reassessed how each Team member lives our values, honors Our Covenant and serves to enhance our client experience.

U.S. Elite Warehouse in NJ

Achievements of 2019

It wasn’t always easy; quite the contrary. 2019 was a time for us to celebrate - a strong cohesive Team, a year of growth in every aspect of the word, maintaining our position as the World’s number 1 dealer in Salomon FORCES, the leading dealer in Arc'teryx LEAF, and a top-recognized ambassador for world-renowned, top-tier brands. In 2018, we had been acknowledged as the first dealer to break the $1,000,000 mark with Salomon FORCES; 2019 presented us with an opportunity to celebrate that feat, and to challenge ourselves to do even better (we did). As part of our reward for breaking the milestone, the entire U.S. Elite Team went on a once-in-a-lifetime trip around New York City where we were presented with gifts and an extraordinary behind-the-scenes tour around the 9-11 Memorial and Museum. We’ve re-imagined our marketing and online presence, and finally began our ‘Higher Purpose’ Initiatives to give back to those who serve. Through our donation to Warrior’s Heart Foundation, U.S. Elite has started down the path of helping others and to make the world a better place though the means available to us.

World Trade Center Visit

Yes, 2019 was a year full of change, but it was all setting us in the direction of becoming a better company, of setting up a strong foundation for the future, and of course, getting ready for a kick-a$$ 2020.

We asked the team what do they see in store for 2020 or what excites them about the new year and the new decade:

"Growth and transformation, both personally and professionally; opportunities to serve and explore my/our Higher Purpose." - Steve

"1- More Love, passion, courage, hope, trust, belief, faith, health, planning, vision, integration; in general, grow personally and professionally and be the best I can be for myself, my loved ones and others. 2- Visiting my family in Egypt. 3- very optimistic for U.S. Elite - tons of positivity and great ideas to excel in 2020 and put the Company in a great place. " - Amal

"I'm looking forward to hosting some end-users at our shop; let them get their hands on new and upcoming products even testing it out in the field." - Ed

"Looking forward to taking U.S. Elite to that next level of awesomeness!" - Paul

"To continue to assist our amazing customers who become friends and family to us with awesome gear they love. Also to pet more dogs, obviously." - Kim

"Improved ability to serve our customers and exceed their expectations." - Ike

"2020...here it is. ✅ Dial my health back in without injury ✅ Volunteer 2 times per month at organization, non-profits, institutions, and businesses in need. ✅ Write and publish my 3rd book ✅ Work with *select* companies and brands to develop creative to impact the masses. ✅ Record 13 more episodes of my podcast ✅ Moving into a 2 bedroom apartment (bigger space) to host small gatherings for deep work. ✅ Something BIG on the relationship side with Petra ❤️ ☝️ So much more I can say. I'm blessed and excited for this new decade. " - Abe

"We are very excited to welcome our baby girl in March of this year. Many exciting things in store for the new year for U.S. Elite - new website, new loyalty program, re-brand, among other things. This will be the most exciting and fun packed year yet!" - Juliette

"Hindsight is 2020, so excited for the new perspective from lessons learned in 2019 and to leverage that wisdom gained to achieve new heights with all that I do in 2020. It is going to be even better than last year!" - Mike

We’re all excited for what the next year and the next decade have in stock for U.S. Elite. We will continue to grow and evolve as time goes on, that is why we have the Ouroboros as our logo. That growth and innovation will come over time, but we’ll be making sure to change and better ourselves; after all that’s part of Our Covenant.

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