Employee Story: Dusan Milacic, Magna Powertrain
Swimming with Dusan

Dusan Milacic, a fifteen year Magna veteran, slips into the community centre pool every day at lunchtime to do 100 laps. Though he says he does it for personal enjoyment, Dusan has set himself a lofty goal – to swim coast to coast, BC to Newfoundland, a 5020 km trek, in 10 years. He keeps a daily log to track his distance, and he’s already more than ½ way there. If he keeps up doing an average of 2.4 km/day, he’ll will be virtually front-crawling around icebergs in St. John’s harbour sometime between 2019 and 2020.

“In the last five years, I have not had one day where I did not feel like hitting the pool.”

The Design/Development/CAE Manager for Metal Forming Solutions Group at Magna Powertrain has been swimming since childhood. After graduate school, his let his daily habit slide and noticed a decline in his general well-being. His weight puffed to over 220 pounds, his pants grew tighter, and his doctor was suggesting blood pressure medication.

Determined to make a change, Dusan jumped back into the pool in the summer of 2010 and began to reap the rewards and benefits of his efforts. His cholesterol level is perfect, he no longer suffers from migraines, and he said goodbye to foot pain and nightly heartburn. “I am more positive, have much more energy and that is reflected both at work and home. I think this is a win-win situation for me and as well, the people around me.”

Speaking of those people around him…

A few colleagues noticed that Dusan was never at his desk during lunch time and asked him what he was doing. Once he explained, seven of them decided to join and two others were motivated to learn how to swim. “I am very happy that some of my colleagues were inspired to join and have maintained swimming for many years. The solid friendship that we developed is tough to find.” Dusan figures that his prior habit of visiting lunch buffets cost him about $2000/year. “Now we burn some calories and eat homemade health food.”

“While I swim, I think a lot about work and things that need to get done. Usually the best ideas come while I swim!”

This father and husband of three eats everything and anything, but he has changed his meal-time habits. “I have a very good breakfast and a late lunch.” He keeps his evening meal light and avoids alcohol and pop.

In the spring of 2012, Dusan won the Destination Swim Challenge organized by the city of Vaughan.

The tracking system he devised can be applied to any athletic or goal oriented pursuit and can be used as a motivation tool or record of accomplishment. When picking an activity, Dusan advises that you chose something you love to do. “If one forces himself or herself to do some kind of activity, it might last a few weeks or months but it won’t last. I truly enjoy my swim, no matter how long or short it might be.”

“I simply love to swim, and when you love something it is not difficult to do.”

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