People + Parks: Healthy Parks and Happy Employees

Grant Ausbury 
People + Parks
, All Parks, People + Parks

By Elizabeth McGuire

When Cirrus Logic moved their headquarters from the outskirts of Austin to their downtown location in 2012, company leaders wanted to become more active in their new neighborhood—to benefit both their community and their employees.

The company began working with its neighborhood association, Austin Parks Foundation and other organizations to develop a core philanthropy and volunteer program centered primarily around green spaces, trails and parks. They became District Park level sponsors of Austin Parks Foundation allowing APF to continue critical maintenance and improvements in parks all over Austin.

Visiting Parks Encourages Healthy Habits

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Bill Schnell, a public relations manager who has worked at Cirrus Logic for 17 years, says this focus was all about participating in what the city has to offer. “We encourage our employees to get out, to live a healthy lifestyle, to not just be at their desks all the time. And nothing connects physical and mental well-being more so than being engaged with your parks and green spaces.”

The plan was an immediate success. When volunteer opportunities arose, Cirrus Logic employees eagerly signed up for work days, participating in everything from creek clean-ups to tree plantings. One of their earliest projects helped revitalize a stand of historic oaks along nearby Shoal Creek.

“I think it behooves any corporation, especially in a concrete environment, to take a look at the green spaces around them and do what they can to make sure these spaces are everything they can be for the public and for their employees.”
- Bill Schnell, Cirrus Logic
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Connecting with Parks & Green Spaces in Austin

Kevin Nguyen, a validation engineer who has been with the company for six years, appreciates the layered benefits of these volunteer opportunities. “We get to connect with each other outside of work, but on top of that, when you volunteer in the parks by cleaning up or enhancing the area, it adds another level of connection to that park.”

Nguyen turned his personal connection to parks into an ongoing tradition for his co-workers. Twice a week, he and a group of employees gather to play ultimate frisbee at Duncan Park, which is a five-minute walk from the office.

When he started the game five years ago, there were typically six people showing up to play. Now it’s more like 16 to 20 players, plus a handful of employees who come to watch or soak up the sunshine on their way to lunch.

Volunteer Opportunities for businesses

Investing in the Parks & Healthy Lifestyles

The corporate emphasis on healthy parks and healthy employees has been so positive for Cirrus Logic, says Schnell, that he hopes other companies follow their lead.

By joining Austin Parks Foundation in our mission to maintain and improve healthy parks as sponsors, Cirrus Logic has invested not only in the well-being of their employees, but the entire Austin community.

Learn more about how your company can support our 300 parks, trails and green spaces here!