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Walking Through the Work Day

Adam RitchieAdam Ritchie ’03 doesn’t consider himself a health fanatic, but he hardly leads a sedentary lifestyle. The public relations professional was recently featured in The Boston Globe for completing a virtual coast-to-coast walk using a treadmill desk made by LifeSpan, one of his agency’s clients. For the past three years Ritchie spent his work days on foot—covering the distance from Boston to San Francisco—and has no intention of stopping. Read the Boston Globe story.

“If you need to spend hours in an office, why not do something good for your body at the same time – especially if it doesn’t interfere with your work?” Ritchie says.

LifeSpan gave him the desk in 2012 so Ritchie could familiarize himself with its features while presenting the product to the media, and it quickly became the place where he spent his days.

“I was sold the first time I lost myself in my work and looked down an hour later to see I’d walked two miles,” Ritchie says. “I can’t even call it multitasking, because I forget I’m on it.”

He isn’t alone either. Many of the reporters who work with Ritchie on stories decide to purchase their press demo units afterward.  

“Once you’re accustomed to walking through a big chunk of your day, nobody wants to go back to being sedentary,” Ritchie says, while emphasizing that one doesn’t have to be the picture of fitness to adopt such a practice. “Anyone will tell you I’m no health nut! I eat and drink what I want, within reason. But I’ve always stayed active. I’ve run the Boston Marathon a few times, walk home from work in the good weather, run around onstage with an electric guitar, and have a one-year-old beagle puppy who keeps me on my feet.”

Ritchie has approached his career with the same tenacity. After graduating from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, he landed a job at Cone, a consumer PR agency in Boston, where he handled brand marketing campaigns and worked on the crisis management team. But Ritchie always wanted to have his own agency, and he made good on that plan just a few years later.

“In 2007, I rented a downtown office, won my first client, and hired my first employee,” he says. “Nearly a decade later, Adam Ritchie Brand Direction has worked with clients on four continents—helping them grow, communicate, and do the right thing. We’ve managed everything from beer to baby seats, from the world’s largest swimming pools to cybersecurity. The work has always been interesting.”

For Ritchie, the path to career success started with and continues to be influenced by Syracuse connections.

“Newhouse made me a writer, and an alumna handed my first résumé to the right person. I met my first employee at an SU Boston networking night. Alumni working in the media respond to my emails when I mention Syracuse in the subject line, answer my calls when they see my 315 area code, and have even sent camera crews farther than they normally would to cover a story,” he says. “I’m in touch with people from Syracuse almost every day, and we help each other as sounding boards for new ideas or addressing challenging situations.”

Syracuse even has a connection to Ritchie’s band, a group of four musicians called The Lights Out. He and the drummer are both Syracuse alums who moved to Boston following graduation, and the band occasionally brings its multidimensional performances back to campus.

As Ritchie reflects on his college years, he’s appreciative of the many experiences, projects, activities, and connections that shaped the person he’s become.

“It didn’t feel like the flash people said it would be; it felt about right,” he says, pointing out several things that have a special meaning to him. “It’s more like a series of snapshots—remembering the crispiness of a Varsity Pizza slice, how heavy my clothes felt after being drenched on Split Day, and the pounding in my heart the first time I opened a Daily Orange and saw my byline.”

Imprints on his life, and new ones to come with each walking work day.