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What Spins The Wheel

What Spins the Wheel book cover

What Spins the Wheel starts off when Milestone Communications President Len Forkas learned that his nine-year-old son Matt had leukemia, he began searching for a way to help him cope with the debilitating loneliness and isolation that occurs during treatment. At a time when webcam technology was still in its infancy, he pioneered a way for his son to connect digitally to his classmates. In 2003, he founded Hopecam, a non-profit dedicated to doing the same for cancer-struck children around the world. Today, Hopecam gives children with cancer iPads, pays for Internet access if needed, then works with the school to establish a regular Skype video chat connection with friends and classmates.

Len’s unrelenting dedication to Hopecam’s mission compelled him to accept a daunting fundraising challenge. In 2012, he competed in one of the world’s toughest endurance events: Race Across America, a 3,000-mile, coast-to-coast solo bicycle race that participants must finish in 12 days. As he fought through the scorch of deserts and the joint-wrenching cold of 11,000-foot mountain elevations, an amazing, all-volunteer crew supported him around the clock. What Spins the Wheel describes Len’s harrowing journey and the many valuable lessons he learned about team building, leadership, motivation and tenacity.

Len’s story in What Spins the Wheel is one of fatherhood and fortitude, business grit and growth. This memorable read will show you the power of combining the right mission with the right team – and how it can lead to extraordinary results.

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What People Are Saying

Dan Pink

“You could read this book to profit from the management lessons Len Forkas has gleaned from riding in Race Across America. Or you could read it for its insight into a little-understood endurance sport. But the real reason to read it is for its message of dedication, resilience, and hope. You are sure to learn something from What Spins The Wheel.”
Daniel Pink, author of TO SELL IS HUMAN and DRIVE

Thomas Murphy

“Always, whether in business, politics or life, when a person tries to do something new, there are those giving a hundred reasons why it won’t work or you shouldn’t even try…  Len Forkas’ book captures  the essential ingredients necessary to succeed in the face of  timidity. Regardless of what you do now, it is a read that will change your perceptive about what you CAN do!”
Thomas Murphy Jr., Senior Fellow, The Urban Land Institute and Past Mayor of Pittsburgh, PA

Steve Gladis

“You don’t have to be a cyclist to get a lot out of What Spins the Wheel. Established and aspiring business leaders and athletes of all stripes will come away with many useful lessons. It’s also the kind of book you’ll want to give to a new high school or college graduate, or to someone who wants to embark on a hero’s journey. That someone may even be you.”
Steve Gladis, Ph.D, CEO, Steve Gladis Leadership Partners

Patrick Phillips

“A tale that artfully blends a heartfelt mission, lessons in team-building and leadership, and an amazing story of physical and mental endurance.”
Patrick Phillips, CEO, The Urban Land Institute

Joe Kernan

“Len has taken the opportunity to document a self-imposed yet purposeful experience that few have either the motivation or the courage to embark upon. Precipitated by a difficult medical event in his family  and manifested in a relentless commitment to his program to keep medically isolated students in a classroom environment,  a cycling challenge moved Len to places of discovery and reinforcement. Len’s experiences in teamwork, courage, perseverance, resilience and self-challenge remind me of attributes most valued and salient in the Naval Special Warfare community.  A story underscored by an unwavering commitment to his family and Matt, prepare to be inspired.
Vice Admiral Joe Kernan, US Navy SEAL, (Ret)

William H. Hudnut III

“An entertaining, enlightening, and inspiring tale of a triumphant human spirit dedicated to a most worthy cause.”
William H. Hudnut III, Past Mayor of Indianapolis, Author & Executive Director – Georgetown University

Jack Dale

“While What Spins the Wheel was gleaned from an amazing, exhaustive bike ride across America, the leadership story is timeless and universal in its application.  As a leader of a large United States school system, Len’s message applies to the important work of the leadership team, the school board and all the businesses serving the community.  Len’s message to us all is an inspiration. Thanks Len for sharing your insights on leading.”
Jack Dale, former Superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, Virginia

Tim Naughton

“Fathers and business leaders alike will find inspiration in Len’s story. He takes us along on his journey from worst day to best, from Pacific to Atlantic, calling upon his skills as a leader and motivator, while using every bit of his physical strength and courage. What Spins the Wheel compels us to use our own gifts toward a meaningful goal—a happy family, a successful business—and Len shows us how. I plan to give this book to my son and daughter, as well as my closest colleagues.”

Tim Naughton, Chairman & CEO, AvalonBay Communities

Robert S. Marshall

“In his book What Spins the Wheel, entrepreneur, father and extreme cyclist Len Forkas shows us that leadership is a journey involving teamwork, personal growth and untiring determination under intense emotional and even physical pressure. Len’s story will resonate with athletes and members of the business community – as well as anyone determined to embrace enormous challenges and come out ahead.”
Robert S. Marshall, co-founder and CEO Earth Networks – WeatherBug

Chris Warner

“Hard things are not put in our way to stop us, but to call out our courage and strengths. -Anonymous.”
Len Forkas, turns adversity into opportunity, teaching us that every challenge can lead to growth. We all need to be reminded that ordinary people can overcome extra-ordinary challenges. “What Spins the Wheel” offers a road map for embracing the extra-ordinary.
— Chris Warner, co-author High Altitude Leadership