ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwired - September 21, 2016) - With over fifteen years of international sales and marketing experience, David Bittenbender has been an integral leader of the Vantage LED sales force since 2012. The Atlanta-based salesman is a Regional Sales Manager for the southeastern region of the United States, specializing in sports marketing projects that include LED displays and live video technology for arenas and stadiums.
While work and family remain a dominant part of his life, his passion for competitive sports has always been a prominent part of his identity.
"I've been competing athletically since I was 12 years old racing bicycles," Bittenbender shared. "So I have spent most of my life consumed by this lifestyle, which I love."
Before making the United States Dragon Boat Team in 2015, Bittenbender was a competitive cyclist with several professional titles. On top of being a master paddler for fifteen-plus years, he was a former member of the U.S. National Cycling Team, a 3-time U.S. Collegiate Cycling Champion, and former Olympic alternate to the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team.
"This was a once in a lifetime opportunity," Bittenbender said about his experiences at the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics. "I have no regrets whatsoever."
Bittenbender kept racing until 1997, the year he sliced his foot in an accident that put a halt on his future plans in competitive cycling. Generally, cyclists put a lot of stress on their feet while pedaling, and an injury like his could lead to further complications if he wanted to continue racing.
Bittenbender stepped down, but with another plan in mind.
"Without a plan you really aren't going to succeed," Bittenbender explained. "If you can think of a game plan then write it down, implement it, and you're already on your way to succeeding."
Bittenbender went on to pursue canoeing and kayaking shortly afterward, shifting his focus over to his upper body rather than lower body strength.
In September of 2015, Bittenbender tried out for the U.S. Dragon Boat Team in Atlanta and learned he made the team just days after.
"I just showed up," Bittenbender said. "I told myself that if I was going to show up then I would have to be absolutely ready for it."
Since making the team, Bittenbender has had to make critical adjustments to his daily routine, especially as a traveling salesman.
"When you're on the road there is not that many good food options to choose from. I've tried bringing my own food instead, and I can also get a decent workout at the hotel. I have to follow the same routine no matter where I go."
Leading up to finals, Bittenbender's biggest challenge was following his yearlong intensive training program. As an older athlete, neglecting his diet and sleeping routine are no longer an option.
"At my age, I have to follow my training program," Bittenbender stressed. "I really need to follow all of the rules. I can't make any excuses because it's all part of the deal."
On September 8th, the Russian Canoe Federation hosted the 2016 ICF Dragon Boat Championship at the reconstructed Krylatskoye Olympic racing course in Moscow. The championship lasted until September 11th, spanning over a period of four days with 16 other teams from nations around the world competing in several different categories. Those categories ranged by age (junior, senior, and master), gender (woman, men, and mixed), and boat (ten-seater and twenty-seater boats).
"It was as tough as I imagined it would be," Bittenbender said, recalling how each day of the event unfolded. "Team Russia dominated just about every category that they entered and they deserved it. I knew proximity was going to be an advantage since it makes it more convenient for a country to send over their best athletes, and this was the case for Russia and several European countries."
According to the International Canoe Federation, Team Russia proved to be an unstoppable force since the beginning, winning the most medals with 32 gold and 15 silver and bronze by the end of the races. Team USA was among the top 10 teams who also won medals, bringing home one silver and one bronze respectively.
"I was very pleased overall," Bittenbender concluded. "[Team USA] placed 4th, 5th, and 6th in several categories which is amazing."
Since finding out about Bittenbender's championship plans, the Vantage LED team have showed their support and enthusiasm from across the country by making a banner with the phrase "Vantage Has Got My Back." The tagline was derived from the well-known Vantage LED mantra, "We Got Your Back," which promotes building stronger connections with people and partners.
Among his support system is also Vantage LED founder and CEO Chris Ma, who once offered to pay for his accommodations at a training camp in Los Angeles.
When it comes to supporting one another, Vantage LED has gone the extra mile for a reason. It goes without saying that any employee's personal goals are just as important as their career goals. Vantage LED has acknowledged this by continuously supporting valued employees like Bittenbender, who have always shown their appreciation at every opportunity.
Bittenbender summarized it best by quickly adding, "Chris likes to give to [the Vantage team], and I like to give back to Chris."
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