One of the things I enjoy most about my work is that, on occasion, I have the privilege of getting to meet fascinating individuals who embody the message that we try to share at the Upbeat Dad Organization. When dads are actively engaged in their kids’ lives, great things happen. And when those great things result in increased opportunities to share a positive message on fatherhood, that’s icing on the cake, as the expression goes. Today’s post is about such a dad. It is with special privilege that I say that our Upbeat Dad of the Month is Greg Battersby.
I had the privilege of interviewing Greg and I left that conversation quite impressed with his story. An intellectual property attorney based in Westport, Connecticut, Greg has been married for 42 years. The marriage has produced 2 sons, the pride and joy of his life. Both adults now, his sons are pursuing their life callings but it was during their formative years that the uniqueness of this story began.
An age-old expression says, “The reward for hard work is more hard work.” And Greg was getting rewarded – both financially and with more work. With the increased workload, he was beginning to realize that the demands of his career were starting to take their toll on his family life. He would routinely work 12 hour days and not be able to spend meaningful time with his sons. The words of the song Cats in the Cradle rang in his head. If you don’t know it, Cats in the Cradle is a song about a working dad who was always so busy that his son grew up in his home but they never made a connection. And later in life, he looked back with regret.
Greg dreamed of being a constant presence in his sons’ lives – doing things such as coaching Little League baseball and other activities that meant much to them. On the one hand, he was living the life that many would envy but deep within, there was an emptiness that could only be filled by being the kind of dad that would have a close bond with his kids.
|Greg and son, Adam, during Little League practice
What has transpired since then is something made for the movies! He became a Little League baseball coach, just like he dreamed. His son Adam was quite gifted and really took a liking to the sport. With his dad coaching him and giving him tips along the way, Adam developed a passion for the game.
Now here’s the kicker. Greg noticed that Adam was very good in the batting cage, as he swung at different pitches. But that success didn’t always translate to the field. He would occasionally struggle when he batted in real games where pitchers threw different pitches at different times. A concerned father, Greg wanted to help his son make the transition to the field from the controlled environment that the batting cage is.
To use the catch-phrase, a light bulb went off in his head! He thought about how helpful it would be to have a machine that could throw different baseball pitches interchangeably. Baseball players could attest to the fact that you hit a fastball differently than how you hit a curve ball, or a slider, etc. Greg thought that a machine that could simulate different pitches that one could encounter in a game situation would be helpful. That machine didn’t exist so, to work he went.
He assembled a team of experts to develop such a machine. After 2 years of research and development, a prototype was created. And being the intellectual property attorney that he is, he patented his invention – with 13 patents altogether. This brilliant idea simply came from the concern of a loving dad who wanted to see his son perform better on the baseball field. And out of it was born a ground-breaking business concept.
|Batter using ProBatter pitching simulator
Greg knew he had a hit on his hands but in order to capitalize on it fully, he had to start a company that would develop and market the product. ProBatter Sports LLC was established in 1999. The company found an investor who helped to fund the cost of developing and producing the pitching simulator. In the years since its founding, the company has experienced a meteoric rise to success. Several major league baseball teams including the legendary New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox organizations use the product to help their batters develop. Over 20 NCAA college teams use it as well and the product is used in more than 200 batting cages and training centers throughout the country and abroad.
With the patented technology, the company has also developed for other sports – namely softball and cricket. It has contracted with the British national cricket team to help to develop their batsmen (yes, batsmen is the proper cricket term!) The cricket market is limitless and with increased opportunities in places such as Dubai, India, England and Australia, the potential for a huge global presence in this sport is limitless.
|Adam Battersby, now President of ProBatter Sports LLC
|Greg and sons, Adam and Damian
I yearn to see the day when stories such as this are the norm – a man who chose a strong relationship with his kids over his career. The reality is that when we make such choices, we don’t really have to give up our careers. As his example shows, the career situation often takes care of itself. When we do the right thing for our kids, things just work themselves out in our favor and in our kids’ favor.
Today, Greg can proudly look on his sons’ achievements with knowledge that, along with his wife, he played a vital role in their success. For this he ought to be applauded. An Upbeat Dad he truly is.
Have a great day.