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Red Frog Events

ABA11 Winner / How to Enter

Company: Red Frog Events, Chicago, IL
Company Description: Red Frog Events, based in Chicago, Illinois, has become a pioneer in the race management and event planning industries. Founded in 2007 by the Architect of Adventure, Joe Reynolds, Red Frog Events has 39 employees, who travel nationwide creating fun and extraordinary events through innovation, creativity, and top-notch participant service, while laughing all the way.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Fastest-Growing Company of the Year - Up to 100 Employees

Nomination Title: Red Frog Events

    Tell the story about what this nominated company achieved since January 1 2010 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes. Begin this section with the following two lines: Year over year revenue growth (%): Year over year employee growth (%):

        Year over year revenue growth (%): Revenue growth since 1/1/10 over 2009: 1000%
Year over year employee growth (%):
Year over year employee growth:
2007 - 1, 2008 - 2, 2009 - 6, 2010 - 50, 2011 - 100

        Red Frog Events (RFE), an event planning company in the active entertainment
industry, has a short but unique history that from the start has defied industry
norms with its creative workplace culture, close- knit staff, innovative events
and incredible growth. Joe Reynolds launched RFE with a $5,000 investment and a
positive attitude towards the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that initially
appeared. Great Urban Race, his first event, is a city scavenger hunt for teams
of two who solve mental and physical challenges in different locations
throughout the city. Despite the fact that he had a small budget Joe found a way
to make the event a success. He discovered that business to business
partnerships enabled him to save funding, provided local businesses with the
opportunity to gain exposure and allowed him to make the race more elaborate and
exciting for the participants. Since its start in 2007 Great Urban Race has
grown from just one race to over 35 in 2011 and many races have over 500

        Warrior Dash, launched in 2009, is a 5k obstacle race that challenges the
existing racing norms. This 5k is billed as “the craziest frickin’ day of your
life” where runners jump over fire, crawl through mud and barbed-wire and
celebrate with a turkey leg and a beer-stein filled to the brim. One of Warrior
Dash’s greatest innovations was how the company adapted the wave system to
accommodate the highest number of participants in two days of races.
Participants run every half hour in waves of 500 to 800 people. Due to its
popularity Warrior Dash has jumped from one race to 35 races in just two years
with over 700,000 participants in 2011.

        RFE launched its inaugural Beach Palooza event in November 2010 on the sandy
shores of Daytona Beach, Florida. Similar to Warrior Dash, participants
encounter beach-inspired obstacles on a 5k course. When Beach Palooza kicked-off
2011 the response was so positive and enthusiastic that within a week more than
2,000 participants had already signed up in Galveston, Texas alone.

        From its small start, RFE has become an established business that is constantly
expanding with new ideas and events. In four years the initial $5,000 investment
has become $45 million and the one man company now has a staff of 60+ people.
While the growth of the various events was staggering, Joe takes the most pride
in the company culture he’s built. Joe’s built a believe-it-when-you-see-it
environment (rock climbing walls, tree houses, private phone booths and a bar)
and team-oriented atmosphere that’s the core of RFE’s success and pride. And as
the company grows so does the space that holds RFE. This year the office has
been expanded to accommodate the 80+ event coordinators who are starting this
summer. A zip-line, a second tree house and the greenest room in all of Chicago
will soon be new additions. As the company develops Joe continues to search for
new ideas and events but makes sure that his company culture adapts as well.


    List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, []:

        Media links and videos:
ABC Local (Houston)- March 18 and 20, 2011,

        KDAF-TV (CW 33, Dallas)- April 16, 2011,,0,303858.story

        ABC Local (New Orleans)- March 1, 2011,

Interview with President Joe Reynolds and Vice-President Ryan Kunkel
Seattle Times article on the Great Urban Race
CBS Atlanta WD Georgia- 3 part series

        Austin Live- Feb. 24, 2011, on-air interview for GUR Austin,

        VidetteOnline- Feb. 16, 2011,

  March 21, 2011

        Houston Press Blog- March 21, 2011, March 19, 2011, March 5, 2011, March 3, 2011, Feb. 16, 2011, Feb. 9, 2011,

        Baltimore and Feb. 2, 2011,,0,7385787.story?page=1,0,5562240.story (New Orleans)- Feb. 1, 2011 Jan. 30, 2011, Jan. 27, 2011, Jan. 24, 2011, Jan. 20, 2011, Jan. 17 and 29, 2011,

        Time Out Sydney- Jan. 6, 2011,

        **Coming Soon: Publication in Crain's Chicago (interview with founder Joe Reynolds)

•     Esquire Magazine- June 2011, spread on adventure racing with Warrior Dash as
main feature
•     Details Magazine- May 2011
•     Men’s Journal- May 2011, editorial
•     Runner’s World- Summer 2011
•     Northwest Runner- July 2011


U.S. Chamber Dream Big Small Business of the Year 2011
Award Entry Video:

        Top Finalist for 2011 Top Small Company Workplaces partnered with Inc. Magazine

        Red Frog Events on the Web:
YouTube Channel:

        Company Website:

        Event Websites:

        Twitter Pages:

        Facebook Pages:

        *We have also mailed our 2011 Culture Book and Company Video.

    Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader of this nominated company:

        Joe Reynolds is an entrepreneur at heart, but it wasn’t until after having an
entrepreneurship degree (yes, it’s a real major) in his pocket and shaking his
serious travel bug by touring 40+ countries around the world in his early
twenties that he decided to pursue his passion by turning a $5,000 investment in
an event production business called Red Frog into a thriving $45 million company
in just four years.

        While the growth has been staggering, Joe takes the most pride in the company
culture he’s built. With a benefits package that rivals any in the world
(sabbaticals and free beer for starters) and an office that feels anything but
normal (rock climbing walls, tree houses, zip lines and a bar), Joe’s built a
believe-it- when-you-see-it environment and team-oriented atmosphere that’s the
core of Red Frog’s success and pride. Joe has crafted the Red Frog ‘family’
where work is fun, co-workers are trusted friends and anything and everything is
possible. Joe is a current nominee for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the
Year and has also won the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Illinois State
University, which is given to an alumnus under 40 who demonstrates significant
accomplishment and leadership in one's chosen field.