American Heart Association Launches Rise Above Heart Failure Campaign

Gary Rixson, a consultant with Lockton Companies’ Benefit Communication Insourcing team since 2013, is a business development professional with more than 16 years of experience. An active runner for local charities, Gary Rixson has lent his support to various health-related organizations, such as the American Heart Association (AHA).

Heart failure plays a role in one out of nine deaths nationwide, and in light of a recent study predicting that the rate of new diagnoses will nearly double over the next 15 years, the AHA announced Rise Above Heart Failure, a national initiative to raise awareness of the potentially deadly condition and reduce hospitalizations by 10 percent in the next five years. With more than 870,000 new cases each year, heart failure is one of the most common heart-related diseases in the nation, and although there are ways to manage it, about half of those with heart failure die within five years of diagnosis.

Participating is as simple as pledging to add one heart-healthy change to one’s daily routine, capturing a photo of an individual or group forming a heart with their hands (aka a “heartie”), and sharing a post on social media with the tags #MyChangeofHeart and #RiseAboveHF.

For more tools and tips on preventing and living with heart failure, visit


2015 Wounded Warrior Project Alumni Survey

After spending 12 years with AT&T, Gary Rixson joined Lockton Companies in a consulting role. Beyond his work with the Benefit Communication Insourcing Division, Gary Rixson supports charitable organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).

During each of the last five years, WWP has reached out to more than 21,000 members to compile the WWP Alumni Survey. The information gathered as part of the survey helps the organization to tailor its existing programs to better serve veterans while also establishing new WWP initiatives.

The survey covers topics ranging from common issues veterans of war face when returning home to the diverse assortment of injuries Wounded Warriors often live with. WWP began gathering information for its sixth annual WWP Alumni Survey in March. As a testament to how valuable past editions have been to the organization, survey coordinators have included incentives in hopes of encouraging more members to fill out this year’s survey.

Ideals of the Tough Mudder Competition

Gary Rixson has worked as a consultant with the benefit communication insourcing division at Lockton Companies since 2013. Outside of work, Gary Rixson combines his athletic interests with his passion for philanthropy, running marathons and Tough Mudder events.

Established in 2010, the Tough Mudder competition challenges teams and individuals to complete outdoor obstacle courses that range from 10 to 12 miles in length. While the courses change from event to event, they are designed to challenge participants’ physical endurance as well as their mental fortitude. Since 2010, more than 150 events have been held, resulting in $8.5 million raised for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).

Tough Mudder competitions differ from similar athletic events in a number of ways, primarily in regards to the emphasis on teamwork and determination. Tough Mudder competitors do not record finish times at the conclusion of an event, for example. Instead, athletes are lauded for their efforts in encouraging and helping others in completing the course. The Tough Mudder Pledge begins “I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge,” and includes the promise to “help my fellow mudders complete the course.”

Upcoming 2016 Tough Mudder events are scheduled to take place in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Austin, and Chicago throughout the spring months.

The Final AFL-NFL Super Bowl

Gary Rixson works in Kansas City, Missouri, as a consultant with the Lockton Companies. In his free time, Gary Rixson supports the city’s sports teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs.

Although the National Football League (NFL) absorbed the American Football League (AFL) following the 1969 season, the AFL legacy lives on through the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl was initially conceived of as part of the merger agreement between the two professional football leagues. The game called for the championship teams from both leagues to face off against one another in order to determine American football’s official world champion.

The final Super Bowl held prior to the NFL and AFL merger took place on January 11, 1970, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The Kansas City Chiefs, representing the AFL, made their first appearance since losing the first Super Bowl in 1967 to the Greenbay Packers. This time, the Chiefs got the better of their NFL counterparts, the Minnesota Vikings, scoring a 23-7 victory. The Chiefs’ quarterback, Len Dawson, threw a 46-yard pass to Otis Taylor for a touchdown to cap off the victory and was later named the Super Bowl MVP.

Tips for Marathon Runners on Race Day

Gary Rixson currently works as a business development consultant based out of Kansas City, Missouri. In his free time, Gary Rixson likes to stay active by running. He ran the 2012 Chicago Marathon and the 2013 Tough Mudder obstacle race.

Training for a marathon can take several weeks or months for an experienced runner, and even longer for a person competing in their first distance-running event. In addition to the long-term preparation that goes into marathon running, a runner can take some actions to improve the likelihood of a successful race on the same day as the event.

A simple tip, for example, involves visualizing success. This can be done any morning or night, but it is particularly helpful on the morning of the race. The most common example of visualizing success involves imagining one’s self crossing the finish line. Some of the world’s most successful runners admit that positive thinking before and during the race is critical to running a good marathon and can help overcome physical difficulties mid-race.

Of course, athletes must also avoid getting too caught up in the activities of race day and remember to follow their typical routine, including warm-up stretches. Calf, quad, and hamstring stretches, as well as neck rolls and knee raises, can be especially beneficial when it comes to loosening the muscles and preventing injury during the race.

Study Examines Childhood Dietary Habits

Gary Rixson joined Lockton Companies as a benefit communication insourcing consultant in 2013. In this role, he works with businesses to reduce HR workload and improve employee satisfaction. In his free time, Gary Rixson enjoys tending to his vegetable garden and supporting healthy initiatives through the American Heart Association.

Recently, a study published in American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, showed that poor diet can be an indicator of declining heart health as early as childhood. Researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine conducted a study of nearly 9,000 children aged two to 11, tracking heart-health indicators such as BMI, diet, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Within this sample, less than 1 in 10 children consumed the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, yet 9 out of 10 consumed more than the recommended amount of sodium. Additionally, more than half of children consumed more than the recommended amount sugar calories. Whole grains fared the worst among all food categories, with 3 percent of boys and 2.4 percent of girls meeting recommended requirements.

Although researchers note that further data on activity levels are required to draw any conclusions, the study is one of the first examining the day-to-day dietary habits of children in the U.S. These findings join a growing body of research linking unhealthy lifestyles in early childhood to an increased risk of several long-term conditions, including bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and obesity in adulthood. According to CDC estimates from 2012, more than one-third of children in the U.S. are overweight or obese.

The Most Desired Employee Benefits

An accomplished business development and marketing professional, Gary Rixson currently serves as a consultant for Lockton Companies’ Benefit Communication Insourcing team. In this capacity, Gary Rixson designs and implements unique strategies for large organizations to assist HR with employee benefit communication.

Surveys have found that close to 90 percent of employees consider their benefits to be as important as their salary. Employees also rate health insurance as among their most desired benefit. However surveys have shown that 40 percent of employees do not understand their benefits. If they do not understand their benefits how can they make educated decisions about them or truly appreciate them?

In 2002, Lockton developed Benefit Communication Insourcing (BCI) to specifically address these challenges for its clients. BCI significantly reduces workload within HR and dramatically improves employee benefit education, engagement and appreciation. BCI works closely with your HR team to hire, train and deploy full-time, dedicated Benefit Communication Specialists (BCS) to act as an extension of your team and provide accurate and consistent benefit education and communication to your employees year round. At no cost, BCI addresses corporate communication / financial objectives and dramatically improves employee understanding of all benefits. In fact, 94% of employees supported by Lockton BCI specialists rate their benefit education as good or excellent.

Our client’s say it best: