Tim Markison, founder and CEO of Athalonz, was abused as a child. Now, as the leader of a sports footwear company, he hopes to make an impact on kids’ lives much the way baseball had on his life. (Photo by Mike Mertes, AZ Big Media)
Athalonz CEO helps athletes on field and abused children at home
As a child, Timothy “Tim” Markison had a passion for baseball and wanted to play professionally. While pursuing his dream, he struck out once with a tryout with the Chicago White Sox. He struck out again during his sophomore year of college with back and neck injuries while playing for Illinois Tech. But after finding firmer ground with his patent law practice and degree in electrical engineering, Markison hit it out of the park with his innovative athletic shoe company, and his humanitarian efforts to end child abuse.
Markison is now a father of two and a husband of nearly 38 years to his high school sweetheart. He is also the founder and CEO of Athalonz, a company that sells shoes designed to improve athletic performance in a way that is not harmful to the athlete, but beneficial. Several trials of the shoe show at least a 9 percent increase in the power the individual generates by shifting the body’s weight on the inside of the forefeet.
But from the start, the odds were against Markison. As a child, Markison was sexually and physically abused both at school and at home. Still, his love for baseball persisted, and so did he.
“It’s without question, in my mind, baseball saved my life,” Markison said, “because if I had not of had that as a child, I would have had nothing.”
The repercussions of his childhood trauma is something that he has struggled with in his adult life. During his mid-20s, he sought therapy, but had no intentions of talking about it publicly.
“But, something shifted inside me and I can’t even say exactly what,” Markison said. “It’s just part of what I’m supposed to do.”
One in five girls and one in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. It is for this reason that Markison intends to use Athalonz to champion the fight against the disturbing trend.
“What I want to have happen with Athalonz,” he said, “is as we become a household name in the sports’ equipment arena, I want people to, when they hear the name Athalonz, the first thing they think of is child abuse prevention, and then helping people, and then great products.”
About a month ago, Athalonz began donating 5 percent of its proceeds to the Safe at Home Foundation, an organization headed by Joe and Ali Torre to help children experiencing abuse and avoid abuse, as well as offering support for adults who experienced trauma.
But the extent of its humanitarian efforts doesn’t stop there. Last October, Athalonz began a sponsorship of LS Warriors National Amputee Baseball Team, where every member has suffered the loss of at least half a limb while serving in the military. In fact, the team has invited Markison to play on the team the next time they play in Arizona this October.
Both fulfill a dream Markison has had from the start of his company.
“It’s so much more than just making a product that helps people be more physically active,” he said. “It’s really the social calling of sharing what I’ve been through and talking out for child abuse prevention and being the more so, the healing aspect of it.”
Markison hopes that life can show others experiencing traumatic events that there is “a good life to be lived.”
“If my life can represent anything, there’s hope,” he said. “No matter how traumatic the childhood was, no matter how negative the self-messaging resulted from that, there’s hope for a good life and there’s a way through it.”