It all started in 2006. While preparing for deployment to Afghanistan Joe took the first step in planning Empower when he reached out to Dev Pathik and his firm Sports Facilities Advisory. Following a successful deployment and ultimate retirement from service in 2008, Joe DeRing returned home to Middletown, CT. Using his Army leadership training and combat experiences, Empower Leadership Sports & Adventure Center was born in 2009. This unique facility features zip lines, rope obstacles, tree climbs, and other adventures in a setting designed to empower its guests. Originally forecasted to be for “groups” only, Empower experienced overwhelming demand for family-friendly, recreational adventures. By their first summer, Empower was running a full schedule of recreational zip line canopy tours as well as booking private group experiences.
Joe’s leadership experience in the Army, as well as his passion for creating new leaders, would create the vision for what is now Empower Leadership. Dan Jaskot joined Joe in Middletown to help open Empower Leadership Sports & Adventure Center. With nearly a decade of successful leadership experience in education and coaching, Jaskot worked with Joe to build team building & leadership development programs to align with the adventure facility.
The success of this facility would lead to DeRing partnering with Dev Pathik and Jason Clement to build two additional zip line adventure facilities under the Empower umbrella – one in Middleburg, VA in 2014 and one in Tampa, FL in 2016.
At each Empower property, it is the intention to empower guests and groups through adventure experiences. That means to give participants an experience that will help them to feel stronger and more confident about who they are, improve their ability to face their fears and overcome challenges in their lives and to feel energized to make bold decisions towards living their best life.
In 2019, Empower partnered with Nomads Entertainment in South Windsor, CT to take over management of their aerial adventure park, Nomads Outdoor Adventure. This unique self-guided experience, based entirely in the treetops with over 80 obstacles, creates a new and different product offering for Empower and allows our team to find new ways to help participants become their best selves.
Between the four adventure facilities, as well with programs on location for clients via our Mobile Training Team, Empower has empowered nearly 200,000 participants in over 3,000 engagements since 2009 with adventure-style leadership experiences. Through that process and the relentless desire to go farther, the dream to create One Million Leaders was born.
Empower Leadership is that dream in action. It’s our goal to provide fun, productive, and accessible leadership adventures & team building programs for as many people as possible. We want to share what we love, which is helping people find the leaders within themselves through challenging adventure experiences. Will you adventure with us?