Explorer, Mountaineer, and Adventurer Ryan Waters visits Integrated Fire Protection

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There are certain occupations that you only hear about in books and the movies. To me, “Explorer,” “Mountaineer” and “Adventurer” seem about as realistic of an occupation as “Interstellar Astronaut” or “Ghostbuster.” The idea that a person is capable of climbing the highest peaks in each of the seven continents (including Mount Everest… twice), as well as skiing full, unsupported trips to both the North and South Poles, had never once entered my mind….

Until Friday.

On Friday, December 11th all of the employees at Integrated Fire Protection gathered together at Maggiano’s to enjoy a meal together, celebrating the successes of a record breaking year. We had no idea that we were about to meet Ryan Waters, the first American to have ever completed all of the above mentioned expeditions (called the “Adventurers Grand Slam”), and much more. We were absolutely captivated as we listened to Ryan tell us more about his life and amazing experiences.

Ryan spent an hour describing to us the gratification of overcoming unthinkable obstacles and life or death situations. From fending off Polar Bears and frost bite to falling through the ice without a drysuit on, Ryan has nearly been through it all. He explained how important it was in his expeditions to be completely prepared for any circumstance. Embarking on these 30-70 day polar expeditions means accepting that you would not be comfortable, at all, for the entirety of the trip and that you would need to do whatever it takes to reach your end goal.

For example, take Ryan’s expedition to the North Pole – arguably the most dangerous, hostile place on Earth. He and fellow adventurer, Eric Larsen, covered over 500 brutal miles while pulling everything they needed to survive atop two 320lb sleds. They knew that they had a hard deadline to reach the North Pole not only because they were in a competition to do so the quickest, but also because conditions after a certain point would be too dangerous for their retrieval plane to come pick them up (Delta Air Lines does not service this route!). When they began to fall behind, due to shifting ice and nearly impossible conditions, they decided to cut their sleep back to only two hours a day, skiing, swimming, and climbing around the clock until they reached the Pole.

On Wednesday, December 9th, Animal Planet aired a two hour special called “Melting: Last Race to the Pole” showing Ryan and Eric’s expedition to the North Pole. The documentary was shot by Ryan and Eric themselves and raised the possibility that the two men may be among the last to conquer the route because of warming temperatures at the Pole. Oh, and only 44 people have done this in the entire history of the world!

Not only has Ryan completed countless expeditions himself, he has also guided and assisted many disabled Veterans in their expeditions around the world through Disabled Sports USA and War Fighter Sports. These Veterans are able to use their prosthetic limbs to conquer world-class mountains and expeditions giving both Ryan and the Veterans a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

Ryan’s message is absolutely unique and astonishing, and it runs in parallel to what we are striving to accomplish here at Integrated Fire Protection. We are laser focused on serving our clients, breaking through obstacles, and achieving our goal of being a best in class Fire and Life Safety Total Solutions Provider. There are many exciting things coming down the pipeline for 2016 that I am confident will advance this organization to the next level. It is going to take dedication, perseverance, and cooperation from each team member for us to reach higher than ever before – a challenge we are ready to accept with fervor.