Think Tank of Experts
The GGFA Think Tank Panel of Experts is a group of professionals that support the GGFA through education. Each of them have expertise in various areas of business, and are particularly knowledgeable in gym operations. Through the association’s resources, they present in educational webinars and write articles and blogs that published and available to GGFA Members.
Financial and Marketing Expert
Rick Caro, President & Founder – Management Vision
Rick Caro is the President of Management Vision, Inc., a leading consulting firm specializing in the club industry. Management Vision is widely regarded for its feasibility studies, business plans, loan proposals, valuation of the worth of clubs, assistance in the buying and selling of clubs, operational analyses of existing clubs and financial acumen. Management Vision has experience with small and large-sized clubs, single activity and multi-sport facilities, suburban and urban sites, owned and leasehold properties and start-up and take-over business situations all over the U.S. and other countries.
Rick Caro is a 38-year veteran of the club industry. He previously was the owner of an eight-club organization of multi-sport clubs in the Northeast U.S. which he successfully sold in 1983. Over the last ten years, he has consulted to over 1,500 clubs. Mr. Caro was the Founder, Past President and Director of IHRSA (International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association), the trade association of over 9,750 clubs in over 78 countries. He is a frequent writer for various trade publications and the author of the book, Financial Management, targeted for the club industry. He is also a well-known lecturer for the industry.
Group Fitness / Fitness Education
Sara Kooperman, CEO – SCW Fitness
Sara is part of the Gold’s Gym Think Tank, a favorite Club Industry, ABC and IHRSA presenter, as well as the Illinois State Business Woman of the Year. As CEO of SCW Fitness Education and WATERinMOTION® and producer of 8 MANIA Fitness Conferences, Sara is also a licensed attorney, a Fitness Editor for Oxygen Magazine, a former adjunct faculty member for the Kenneth Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research, ACSM, and NASM. Sara co-founded WATERinMOTION, a pre-choreographed one-of-a-kind Aqua Fitness Program and is the proud recipient of AEA’s Global Award for her Contribution to the Aquatic Industry. Sara was most recently inducted into the prestigious National Fitness Hall of Fame.
Personal Training Structure, Sales and Service
Rick Mayo, CEO – North Point Fitness & Alloy Personal Training Solutions
Rick Mayo is the founder and CEO of North Point Fitness (est. 1992) and Alloy Personal Training Solutions. As the owner of North Point Fitness, Rick and his team conduct over 50,000 personal training sessions a year. In 2010, Rick created Alloy, a consulting and licensing company as a platform for the North Point business/personal training systems. Alloy has consulted with over 500 clubs and has licensees worldwide in markets as far away as Tasmania and Poland. Rick is a featured speaker at conferences domestically and internationally, speaking on how to best sell and service personal training. He presented over 25 times just last year as a keynote in Australia and a subject matter expert in personal training. He has written numerous articles on the business of fitness for trade journals and contributes regularly to national publications such as Men’s Health. Rick sits on the board for the GA State exercise science department as well as the Atlanta School of Fitness. Rick is also an NSCA certified personal trainer and has also recently been elected to the Industry Board of Advisors for the American Council on Exercise.
Customer Experience Management
Blair McHaney, President – Clubworks
Blair spent 2.5 years as VP of Strategic Initiatives for Medallia, Inc., the global leader in Operational Customer Experience Management (OCEM) technology and is certified in OCEM through the Medallia Institute. He has served as an educator for the Medallia Institute and is currently President of Club Works Inc., specializing in Medallia’s OCEM system for the fitness industry and a subject matter expert on operationalizing CEM. He is President of Confluence Fitness Partners, Inc. operating two Gyms in the Wenatchee Valley for over 30 years, a former President of the Gold’s Gym Franchisee Association (GGFA), and former Director Emeritus for the GGFA. Blair has been recognized for his contribution to the Gold’s Gym brand and has been presented with several awards.
Social Media / Technology
Bryan O’Rourke, President – Fitness Industry Technology Council
Bryan O’Rourke is an accomplished CEO, strategic adviser, entrepreneur, investor and professional speaker. His expertise in technology, strategy, development, marketing, management and finance has led to a track record of results in fitness and wellness, food and beverage, international trade, technology and franchising. Bryan has led organizations and projects in Asia, the EU, and the Americas. He has transformed organizations and brought stakeholders together in a variety of roles. He is an acknowledged thought leader in fitness, wellness and technology , his articles have been published in a variety of established periodicals and he has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and New York times, among other leading newspapers. Bryan O’Rourke has been a featured speaker and presenter at numerous industry conferences. He serves as a member of the American Council on Exercise/s Industry Advisory Panel and was named by IHRSA as one of 13 to watch in 2013 because of his predictions and insights into this exciting and transformative period in our industry. Bryan recently became a member of the Board of Directors for IHRSA.
Gym Turnarounds / Sales Training / Team Building
Jim Thomas, President – Fitnesss Management & Consulting
Jim Thomas is the well-known founder and president of Fitness Management USA, Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With over 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Jim lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Since forming Fitness Management, he has been turning health clubs around at an amazing rate and garnering a reputation as a producer of change…a sharp-eyed troubleshooter, a brilliant sales trainer, and a motivator. A dynamic, articulate motivator, Jim exudes confidence without artifice and accomplishes wonders without the bruised feelings that can so often accompany change.
Melissa Knowles is Vice President of Gym HQ, a Clubready Company
With over a decade of industry experience, her knowledge spans many areas: strategic operations, development of staff training materials and programs, cost savings analysis, reporting development and implementation, fitness department overhaul, client retention systems, and corporate management. She’s especially well versed in all operational and HR focused areas; and she holds an HR certification through SHRM. What makes her uniquely qualified as an industry leader is her time spent “in the trenches”. Melissa is a graduate of the University of West Florida and holds an MS in Exercise Science and a BS in Sports Medicine.