Route Shout-out: Adam Gardner

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Mar 22, 2021

See Who Makes the Route Go ‘Round

Route doesn’t run itself, ya know. Instead, we count on the passion, zeal, and talent of the folks we’re honored to call friends and teammates. From their innate taste for learning to bringing their whole authentic selves to the table, we’re lucky to have a melting pot of people and personalities working together toward big goals. We’re giving this shout-out to one guy who makes this Route go ’round—Adam Gardner!

As a partnerships manager aboard the Route ship, Adam ensures relationships are rock-solid and stuffed with the good vibes we embody here. We’re all about helping ecommerce brands thrive for years to come, and Adam is one of the people who helps Route meet that mission every day.

What’s up, Adam?

I was born in Valencia, CA in 1988. I moved to Utah when I was 11 and swore I would move back to California one day to work in Hollywood and win an Oscar. But once I figured out how taxes and cost of living worked, and UCLA and USC denied me admission to their film programs, I decided CA wasn’t so spectacular.

Now, the only thing that remains from my childhood in CA is a deep-rooted love for Dodgers baseball (World Series Champs, baby!) and memories of taking karate lessons from the Red Power Ranger (seriously, he opened a dojo down the street from my house, I trained there for 3 years and almost got my black belt before I moved to Utah and decided karate wasn’t cool if it wasn’t coming straight from a Power Ranger). 

These days, I’ve got a wife and two kids—a boy and a girl, ages 6 and 4—and spend my time lifting weights, like, stupid heavy weights. See, my wife and I got fat and we decided we didn’t want to stay that way. We also discovered that running sucks (made it through two 5Ks) and so does dieting, so we figured lifting weights was the best way to lose weight. It worked and we each lost about 40 pounds at our peak but found the real rewards were lifting big weights. Turns out there’s a sport called “Powerlifting” and that’s what we like to do together. 

I know, I know, you want to know how much we lift. My best squat is 650#, my best bench press is 375#, and my best deadlift is 655#. She squats 360, benches 190, and deadlifts 380 at her best. I’ve got a handful of state records, but she’s the real champ with three national records (last time we checked). 

We are also known for sending the best Christmas cards every year. Hit me up to get on the list. 😎👉👉

Other fun facts about me are:

  • I speak fluent Russian.
  • I’ve been arrested (but never charged) in two different countries.
  • I have an extra body part (don’t ask).
  • Jurassic Park is my favorite movie.

How Did Route First Catch Your Eye?

I saw my old Qualtrics contacts Ryan Debenham and Charlie Besecker bragging about this cool new company on LinkedIn early in 2019. When I looked into it, I couldn’t believe that a company selling shipping insurance could possibly be a big deal, but I trusted the judgment and trajectory of those two, suspended my disbelief, and started asking questions to learn more.

What Was the Tipping Point to Joining the Crew?

As soon as the company business model was broken down for me in an interview and I realized that shipping insurance was just the tip of the iceberg, I knew I had to get a seat on the rocket ship.

Has Anything Been a Surprise?

Easily the biggest surprise was the rate of growth. I knew I stumbled into something big, but I never imagined it would grow this fast and successfully. And the best part about that surprise is that it’s not over—it just keeps surprising all of us every time we get a chance to look at the scoreboard.

What’s Changed Along Your Career Journey?

The challenge of building a new team within the company (partnerships) has been more than most jobs could ever offer me. I love turning guesses and hopes into tangible results and measurable revenue. It’s always more fun to build the playbook and see what works than to show up and have someone teach you a playbook that already exists.

What’s Been Your Favorite Project?

Currently, it’s working on a partnership with another Utah company to offer Route as an add-on within their software that should lead to some significant referral volume for us and added capabilities for them. It’s cool to see a partnership that really is a “Michael Scott Win-Win-Win.”

How Would You Describe Your Team?

“Independent Synchronization,” if that makes any sense. We all have our jobs, we all have our goals—many of us are focused on different aspects of a partnership, or different kinds of partners. We all work hard toward those goals independently, but inevitably our work overlaps, and when it does, everyone just clicks and jumps in to help each other out.

What Challenges Pop Up?

Every partnership is different. Every partner has different value to offer us, and every partner looks at our value a little differently, so it’s hard to repeat the same process over and over. That’s also what I like about the job—there’s always something new to keep it fresh and interesting. The best way to face that challenge is to expect it with every new deal and get good at being flexible and thinking on your feet.

What’s the Vibe at Route?

It’s definitely dreamy. It’s the kind of culture I could imagine someone writing about in a Stanford MBA course as one that’s ideal, maybe not attainable, but at Route it’s real.

Which Route Value Resonates with You?

Passion always stands out to me most here. Everything is better when people are passionate about doing it. I definitely respect people that get things done because they have to, but at Route, we are all passionate about what we are building, and it’s not often we have tasks we don’t want to do or get done just for the sake of getting it done. Even the mundane tasks, the hard challenges, they have a spin of excitement to them that we get to solve that problem.

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