As a cash management analyst for NPC International, LeeAnn Ryan’s daily duties include a lot of office work and number-crunching.

As a cash management analyst for NPC International, LeeAnn Ryan’s daily duties include a lot of office work and number-crunching.
On Wednesday, however, Ryan’s duties for her company included a bathing suit and an inner tube, as she joined several of her colleagues and local employees from throughout Pittsburg at the Pittsburg Aquatic Center to take part in the closing events of this year’s Corporate Challenge.
Hosted every year by the City of Pittsburg, the Corporate Challenge brings employees from many local businesses together to compete in a variety of sporting events and other challenging games. Ryan said Wednesday that this year marks the fifth in which she’s competed in the challenge.
“I love it,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun competing against other people I know.  I think they should keep doing this every year.”
Kim Vogel, Pittsburg’s recreation superintendent, said 11 teams participated in this year’s event. Four teams — PittCraft Printing, Bridges, the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas and Greenbush — competed in the 99 employees and under division. Seven teams — Watco Companies, NPC, Pittsburg State University, Pitsco, Mt. Carmel Regional Medical Center, Names and Numbers and Pitt Plastics — competed in the 100 employees and up division.
Events this year included the old staples, such as bowling, golf and basketball, and also some new twists, such as flag football.
“We try to incorporate new things every year,” Vogel said.
More than 330 local employees participated in the mile walk on Tuesday, and that number does not include the many spouses and pets that joined in the event.
“That was quite impressive,” Vogel said. “It’s good to have that level of participation.”
According to the city, the focus of the games remains on increasing communication skills, encouraging cooperation and coordination of efforts, recognizing individual effort, increasing trust, encouraging problem solving and building company spirit.
“The appeal is that it gives companies a chance to get their employees out to compete together in a unique environment, to build teamwork, trust and cooperation and all of the things the games entail,” Vogel said.  “I think that’s what keeps them signing up — that and the competition.”
Gene Dayton, of PittCraft, said the games help teammates bond and build relationships outside of the office.
“It’s fun to go out and do things with co-workers that you don’t always get to do,” Dayton said. “So yeah, it does build camaraderie and a sense of teamwork.”
C.E. Starkweather, also of PittCraft, said competing as a team in the Corporate Challenge “gets everybody out and on the same page.”
“The competition is also nice,” he said.
Along with building trust and cooperation among teammates, Ryan said the Challenge also goes a long way toward building a sense of community togetherness.
“There are a lot of people in Pittsburg,” she said, “and this brings everyone together.”

The winners
Pittsburg State University won this year’s first-place trophy in the upper division with 349 total points. NPC finished second with 348 points and Pitsco finished third with 341 points.
In the lower division, Greenbush won with 302 points. PittCraft earned second-place with 299 points and Bridges finished third with 290 points.