KATY, Texas -- On Academy’s corporate campus in Katy, it’s all about sports, outdoors and family.
“We started as a family business almost 80 years ago. That’s been the basis of our culture from Day 1 and I think it’s as true today as it was done then,” says CEO JK Symancyk.
He says the idea of family extends beyond just the Academy staff; his team focuses on being there when customers need them. Those customers needed help when Harvey hit – customers at the chain’s 37 Houston-area locations and customers who drove onto campus in high-water rescue vehicles.
“Not just Texas DPS, but FBI, DEA, Forest Service, NYFD, National Guard, Army,” Symancyk lists. “All of these groups converged together, working for our city."
As the water began to fill the streets, first responders began to fill Academy’s parking lot, along with the hallways, offices and wherever else there was space. They were joined by families of Academy employees, including Symancyk.
“My son slept in the supply closet. My wife, daughter and I were here on the air beds, along with the family dog,” he says. ”My daughter was one of the big hands in the kitchen, cooking meals for folks. My son went and worked in the distribution center. Everyone helped however they could.”
The company donated $1.6 million in shoes and clothes to Harvey’s victims who needed them too, proving that Academy’s family is not bound by blood, but is instead connected by the flood.
“I was and have been proud to be a part of this team from Day 1,” Symancyk says. “Disasters are terrible, but they do reveal character. I think what the world got to see was the best of Houston when a bad situation hit. I’m proud we are a part of that.”