April 20, 2022

I Love To…Meet the ELA Team

This month we introduce you Pete Stokes, ELA Director of Business Operations and avid race car enthusiast and (former) driver! Below, Pete shares his experience trying to conquer “Turn 12” at the Road Atlanta race course. Enjoy the ride!

At the end of the long back straight at Road Atlanta your car is moving at maximum velocity. Just under the pedestrian bridge the track falls away like the big hill on an old rollercoaster and your stomach is up near your throat. At the bottom of the hill is an almost 90-degree right hand bend that leads onto another straight section. It’s a white-knuckle ride but if you get it right, it’s the key section to a great lap time.

The skilled and experienced drivers make it look easy and take that corner flat out. But for a novice like me, driving an open-wheeled race car for the first time, it had become my nemesis. If I could plant the accelerator to the floor, hold it there, and trust the car would grip through the apex I’d cut almost a second off my lap time. It was the ultimate “risk-reward” challenge. Next time on the track, I defied every impulse to lift my foot as my heart was beating out of
my chest. I’ve never felt a car glued as tightly to the track…just like the instructor said. I carried more speed out of the turn and a full second was shaved off my lap time. Fastest lap of the day.

Sometimes, you just gotta trust that things will work out and hold the pedal to the metal, as they say. Now, some 30 years later as I embark on a new challenge, I still can hear my racing instructors voice when I have any doubt, “don’t you lift that right foot Stokes, or you’ll end up in the wall!” Plan, Evaluate, Commit, Trust.

Meet Pete Stokes, ELA’s Director of Business Operations. Pete joined the ELA Operations team after spending 12 years as Excel Learning Center’s Business Manager. Pete’s focus is to facilitate efficient business operation, processes, and evaluation with the ultimate goal of helping provide a better experience for enrolled children, parents, and staff. Contact Pete if you want to talk about: grants, expense control, revenue, generation, enrollment, internal processes, or anything on your mind about the business side of childcare.