How Student Athletes Succeed in the Working World

Only an elite few of the most promising high school and college athletes make the transition from amateur to pro in sports. In fact, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) estimates that only 1 to 2 percent make it to the professional level. Moreover, even if they make it into a professional league, sports careers are typically short-term, a few years at most.

That said, student athletes may not end up in an athletic career, but competitive sports participation gives them a variety of skills that prepares them for any type of career. These skills have little to do with athletic prowess and everything to do with an athletic mindset. Here’s how it works.

The Mind of the Student Athlete

A survey conducted by the NCAA of 21,000 student athletes reveals some surprising facts. Researchers found that the typical student athlete prepares for or competes in sports more than 20 hours per week. More than 70 percent of those surveyed considered themselves more “athlete” than “student.” Student athletes balance sports activities with academic requirements, which often means missing out on extracurricular activities and coursework. Fortunately, participation in student athletics builds valuable transferrable skills that prepare athletes for a successful career. Here are a few examples of transferrable skills student athletes develop that make them great employees, managers, administrators and entrepreneurs:

  • Working in a team environment.
  • Staying mentally tough under pressure.
  • Ability to think outside the box.
  • A strong work ethic.
  • Self-motivated.
  • Enjoys a challenge.
  • Excels in time management.
  • Thrives on competition.

Student Athletes and Business: The Perfect Match

Business is a logical career choice for student athletes. Many of the same attributes cultivated by athletes are present in the most successful business executives. In fact, businesses increasingly look to former student athletes to fill vacant positions.

Because most college athletes began their sport at a very young age, they have learned how to bounce back after a loss and keep trying. They’ve learned how to be resilient, focus and eliminate unnecessary external influences. If they don’t succeed, they keep trying. Most athletes develop finely-tuned problem-solving skills and a willingness to take risks.

Because most student athletes compete with a team, they learn what their role is and how it benefits the group as a whole. They develop strong communication skills and don’t cave under constructive criticism. Student athletes have been listening to coaches all of their lives and are open to new ideas. They also realize that if they don’t sharpen their skills and work to improve, they’ll most likely end up on the bench.

In a Washington Post article dated January 2015, Marie Artim, vice president of talent acquisition at Enterprise Rent-A-Car said, “We see a lot of transferable skills in athletes.” Enterprise hires more entry-level graduates than any other U.S. company and recruits athletes because they know how to multitask and work on teams.

Ford Sync 3: A Whole New Ballgame

Vehicle entertainment systems that let you listen to your favorite tune or radio station have remained decidedly low-tech. Attempts at updating  entertainment and navigation systems in vehicles with voice activation and swipe screens have been attempted since 2007 with limited success. According to Alex Perdikis at Koons Automotive, all of that is changing with Ford’s Sync 3, its newest and most innovative system. Sync 3 is available on select models now and will be included in all Ford and Lincolns by the end of 2016. By all accounts, it’s faster, better and chock full of standard and optional features.

Sync 3 is Full of Surprises

Previous versions of Sync used a Microsoft platform. Sync 3 is a completely new package using QNX, a platform owned by BlackBerry. QNX is the most widely used car entertainment operating system and its superiority shows. The result is a more up-to-date look, greater responsiveness and more intuitive features. Sync 3 uses a capacitive screen just like tablets and smartphones. The buttons are better placed, bigger and the system responds with a light touch. Swiping, pinching and zooming functions are easily performed and response time is phenomenal.

Plays Well With Others

Unlike its immediate predecessor, Sync 3 supports AppLink. Drivers with select smartphones can connect to Sync 3 with a USB cable and enjoy full use of Pandora, Spotify and other apps. If you have an iPhone with Siri, you can connect via Bluetooth and use the steering wheel voice button for hands-free queries. Sync 3 will automatically discover compatible apps on your smartphone. CarPlay and Android Auto are also supported.

A Smarter User- Friendly Interface

Along with crashes and glitches, the rap against programs like Sync has been that the interface is difficult and response times excruciatingly slow. Sync 3 boasts a much improved and easy-to-use interface. Brighter and easier to see, the new interface has a 3-window view with a tool tray on the bottom. The left window is for navigation, upper right for audio and lower right for phone. Voice commands are read accurately and smartly, with no need to match exact wording.

Safety First

Sync 3 has the ability to connect to a compatible cellphone for a no-charge feature called 911 Assist®. 911 Assist calls for help in case of accident even if you cannot make a call. Sync 3 also promotes safety because its features are hands-free, letting you concentrate on the road.

As new updates become available, Sync 3 automatically downloads and installs them through a home Wi-Fi connection.

Sync 3 is clearly a step above previous versions and outshines its competition. Its sleek interface, fast response time and application compatibility prove that Ford’s commitment to innovation is not an empty promise. If staying in touch, listening to music and accurate navigation are important to you, you don’t have to look any further than Ford’s Sync 3.

10 Awesome Car Features for Fluffy and Fido

Whether you take your furry friend along in the car for local excursions, extended road trips or needed visits to the vet, these ten features can make the ride smoother, safer and less stressful.

1. Ample Cargo Space

Separate cargo space located behind the last row of passenger seats in a car is ideal for cat carriers and medium or large dogs. This feature provides pets with a secure and roomy space to relax in their carrier during travel.

2. Leather Seating

Leather seats are more convenient than cloth seats in terms of cleaning stray pet fur or wiping down any unfortunate messes that may occur during a car ride. Vehicles with waterproof seats have an extra touch of pet friendliness.

3. Low/Wide Access Points

Dogs in particular benefit from cars that sit low enough to enter and exit without jumping. Vehicles with wide doors, such as the Ford Flex, or sliding rear doors, such as the Mazda5 Sport, offer additional ease of access.

4. Fold-Over Seats

Rear seats that fold flat are a great feature to consider if you regularly travel with multiple pets but no other people. With folding or removable seats, even the largest dog carriers fit safely within the vehicle during car trips.

5. Climate Control

Vehicles with all-around climate control give you the peace of mind in knowing that your pet is riding in a safe temperature range at all times.

6. Privacy Windows

Car windows designed with privacy glass help to keep your pet comfortable while on day trips as these windows block the sun’s strong heat rays from bearing down on your fur-covered friend.

7. Hands-Free Liftgate

Vehicles such as the newer-model Ford Escape and Ford Kuga are equipped with a foot-activated lift gate that allows you to open your rear hatch for pet access while holding cat carriers or leashed dogs.

8. Anchors and Tethers

The Mazda5 is an example of a car that provides extra security for pet seats and carriers through the availability of anchors and tethers in the rear passenger area. Your pet should be buckled in just like you.

9. Built-In Storage Bins

If you need to take extra food, water, toys or other pet supplies along on your excursion, then vehicles equipped with space-saving in-dash or in-floor storage compartments are a good buy for pet owners.

10. All-Wheel Drive

Cars designed with all-wheel drive not only offer your pet a more gentle ride in general but also help to reduce turbulence on road trips with bumpy terrains. Bottom line: A calmer pet makes for a happier journey.

Maintenance Musts to Keep Your Car Healthy

Outside of a house, vehicles are the next largest investment that most individuals make. They take the time to choose the right manufacturer, the right model, and even the right color. After making a down payment, they drive away, expecting the car to last for many years to come.

This is not an unreasonable expectation. Today’s cars are built to last. However, it is possible to increase the life of a car by taking care of regular maintenance and service as suggested by the manufacturer. These recommendations are laid out so that a vehicle can be kept in the best working order possible. But maintenance doesn’t just happen by itself. Vehicle owners must make it a priority to care for the vehicle at standard intervals.

An oil change is one of the most frequent reasons for a visit to the dealership. The old oil needs to be removed from the vehicle and new oil needs to be added. Oil works to lubricate the different pieces of the power-train. Without lubrication, metal on metal grinding could take place, which typically results in costly repairs. By investing in the small cost of an oil change, drivers avoid long-term problems in the future.

As an engine works, it heats up. Drivers want to avoid overheating the engine at all costs. It leads to damage and could create problems in other parts of the vehicle. The cooling system in the engine should also be checked and serviced at different intervals. This is typically a yearly service that removes all of the existing coolant, cleans everything out, and then refills the vehicle with the necessary coolant.

Tires also need to be checked regularly. Tire rotations are good for the tires themselves as well as the vehicle. Tires tend to wear differently. Tires in the front tend to handle all of the steering and provide most of the pull for the vehicle. By rotating these tires, moving the front tires to the back and vice versa, the tires should wear evenly, ensuring that all four need to be replaced at the same time. Rotated tires ensure that the brake system functions properly and the vehicle drives well.

Each manufacturer sets its own maintenance schedule for various vehicles. With continued research, these intervals are set to change. For example, back in 2007, Ford decided to increase its oil change schedule to every 7,500 miles. This is just one reason why it is important to take the vehicle back to the dealership to handle all the maintenance and service.

In order to keep that brand new car running well, it is necessary to learn more about the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and adhere to it. By making these appointments and investing a small amount in the cost of maintenance, drivers could be saving themselves lots of money down the road.

Ford Unveils New Lightweight Concept Car

This year, Ford has created a concept car unlike any other and it’s an idea that is innovative and sure to catch on.

It’s no secret that the average vehicle is very heavy. After all, they are loaded with huge amounts of metal, plastic and rubber that combine to weigh more than a ton in many cases. Some experts feel that the heft of a car contributes to its safety, but the other side of the coin says otherwise.

Now, Ford has created a new concept car that is much lighter in weight than even the vehicles that top the list of lightest in weight. The creators of the Ford vehicle worked to pare down the materials used to create the car so that it weighs less and performs better. The body of the car is constructed of steel and aluminum while the interior of the car replaces steel with a carbon composite material, according to the experts at Motor Trend magazine. In addition, many of the under-the-hood elements have been refined so they weigh less and work better. The chassis has also been overhauled so that it doesn’t weigh the vehicle down.

Choosing a lighter weight vehicle, such as this Ford concept car, is beneficial for drivers for many reasons. For one, the lighter pound load maximizes the fuel efficiency of the car so that less fuel is needed to operate it. This can save buyers a lot of money in the cost of gas over the years that they drive the car. In addition, lighter weight cars seem to perform better on some road tests. Those reasons combined create a car that is more affordable and reliable for the average driver, and the Ford name makes buyers confident in the product they are getting.

Ford isn’t the only car manufacturer working to create lighter weight cars. Jaguar, Honda, Toyota, Acura, Nissan, BMW and Subaru are among the manufacturers with the lightest weight cars on the market, according to the experts. While they do rank well on the list, the new Ford concept model is one that is even lighter in weight than these top ranked cars. It is not available for road driving at the current time, but it’s probably a concept that will be hitting the market in the near future, as the entire idea is exciting to car experts and drivers alike.

Likewise, Ford isn’t the only company introducing concept cars on a yearly basis. That list includes Lincoln, Chevrolet, Porsche and Aston Martin in 2014. While some of them are slated for release in coming years, many are simply ideas that need more work before they can be sold on the new car market. That means that car buyers might have to wait several years before Ford’s new lightweight concept will be available for purchase. But once it hits the market, it’s sure to be a popular idea that will entice many buyers to purchase.

The Skinny on the 2014 Ford Explorer

The 2014 edition of the Ford’s popular Explorer SUV is a large crossover model available in base, XLT, Limited and Sport trims. Instead of underpinnings based on a truck design, the Explorer has a unibody design which is similar to that of a car’s. Given its seven-passenger capacity, comfortable interior and improved fuel economy when compared to its predecessors, the Explorer is a good choice for those looking for a feature-laden SUV at a reasonable price point.

Trim Options

Standard 2014 Explorer features include 17-inch steel wheels, a V6 engine, integrated blind-spot mirrors, automatic headlamps, roof rails, rear privacy glass, cruise control, air-conditioning, a third-row seat, a trip computer, a sound system with a CD player and six speakers. Buyers will also receive an auxiliary audio jack and full power accessories on the base model.

If you move up to the XLT trim, you’ll get Ford’s Equipment Group 201A package, which adds automatic climate control, a sound system with nine speakers, and a rear-view camera along with the Driver Connect features, including electronic controls and heated front seats. Models with this trim have upgraded and added features when compared to the base, such as 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights and a keyless entry code pad.

The Limited trim has the bundled features of the base and XLT with more upgrades, including 20-inch wheels, a remote engine start, pedals with memory that are power adjustable, and a 110-volt outlet. You can add Ford’s 302A package to this trim to get automatic high beams, xenon headlamps, a blind-spot warning system and other safety and driving assist features.

A Sport trim model has many features in common with the Limited with some exceptions, such as no 110-volt outlet. It has front sport seats and a different type of 20-inch tires than what comes with the Limited models. Its 401A package adds driving features such as the navigation system and cross-traffic alerts, along with luxury interior upgrades such as driver seat memory.

Under the Hood

With the exception of the Sport model, the 2014 Ford Explorer comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. You can choose optional four-wheel drive or front-wheel drive, and there is a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine available for those willing to pay a little extra. Note that the Sport model only comes in four-wheel drive and has a 3.5-liter V6 engine, which is turbocharged.

Take the time to review all the different features available at the four trim levels to ensure you’re getting what you want in your new SUV.