Partnerships + Tech = Success for Active

By Boss Magazine >>>

The leading health service management company takes a non-traditional approach to delivering exceptional fitness and wellness programs. See how it has benefitted the company.

Active’s approach to fitness and wellness management isn’t exactly traditional, and that’s a good thing. The company believes the best fitness and wellness programs are built on personalization, meaningful connections, and exceptional experiences.


It’s a leading health service management company, passionate about building active communities through both fitness and wellness. Its secret? People, and the partnerships the company forges to help it redefine how fitness and wellness programs are delivered.

“Our people are community builders and amazing health ambassadors who help build healthy communities through high-touch interactions that inspire personal health journeys,” said Michele Wong, Vice President of Client Services and Wellness. “We show our partners how to make wellness programs fun and engaging in a way that doesn’t feel forced on our members.”

Through personal and technology-supported interactions, Active Wellness knows that delivering exceptional experiences that truly engage broader populations is the key to success.

The company saw an eight percent growth last year, largely due to its procurement and design services. Active Wellness and its team are working with partners on everything from new builds to refreshes of spaces and equipment.

“We’ve helped our partners look at new ways to utilize space to deliver the best aspects of traditional fitness centers, while still carving out more areas for group training with a focus on purposeful design that as more recently has only been seen in small boutique studios,” said Wong.

“The addition of these spaces is not only a differentiator for our partners but an opportunity to drive higher spend and new membership models.”

In many cases, the design services have led to the addition of new management contracts in multi-tenant campuses where the company’s partners are focused on bringing not only unique fitness offerings to their tenants but wellness services that integrate with on-site medical providers.

Convenience, experience, and value are driving consumer choice in this space, and property managers are seeing the convergence of fitness, wellness, and medical services as a differentiator to improve tenant retention.

Active has a core competency in managing all aspects of fitness and wellness delivery and has now gained a strong expertise in working with the medical community—hospital systems such as St. Joseph Health as well as physician groups.


The partnership between Active Wellness and St. Joseph Health began when the renowned hospital system hired Active to manage one of its medical fitness centers in Napa—Synergy Medical Fitness Center owned by Queen of The Valley Hospital.

As the organizations began to understand one another, the two found their values and goals of positively impacting the health, wellness and fitness levels of the communities they serve were just about identical.

St. Joseph Health later made a significant minority investment in Active Wellness to become an investor/owner in addition to the strategic partnership.

“Having the third largest healthcare company in the country as our partner gives us a unique understanding of the changing healthcare space and the opportunities for advancing the role of fitness and wellness,” said Jill Kinney, Co-founder and Chairman.

“The team has grown and gained a lot of expertise in working with healthcare systems. Our competency and skill set in managing medical fitness facilities is now unparalleled to anyone operating within our industry. We have created a very strong core competency in the medical wellness/fitness space.”

Although Active Wellness has been operating medical fitness centers for many years, its partnership with St. Joseph Health has allowed it to develop new models that are a cross-over from traditional fitness centers to corporate and community wellness programs. Kinney believes the company has just scratched the surface.

“We are expecting this partnership not only brings new management opportunities directly to Active, but will allow us to grow our range of services and operations for other clients.”

“Imagine the latest fitness programming and amenities that best accommodate busy, everyday life,” said Bill McBride, Co-founder, President, and CEO. “Now add in reputable medical care, lifestyle management, and holistic support.

“We’re thrilled and positioned to deliver this convenient new model that integrates all aspects of good health and well-being, backed by science, fun, technology, and service.”

In addition to its strategic partnerships, Active has been successful in adapting to change. The adoption of technology has been historically slow in the health club industry, despite its rapid trajectory in nearly every other industry. The downside of this is that the industry is often behind the curve when it comes to delivering the user experience members have come to expect from modern innovation.

One of the issues is that club operators are reluctant to pilot new technology, which in turn makes it hard for innovators to iterate their offerings and get them market ready. The result is that many good ideas do not get nurtured in a manner that enables them to evolve to being “go-to-market” ready.

To remedy this, The Active Idea Lab provides innovators an opportunity to obtain measured results before reaching out to operators. By helping innovators eliminate certain risk, The Lab will help more companies succeed, and better products come to market.

Active Wellness has the advantage of being located in one of the most innovative areas in the world. The Lab’s virtual space will be developed so that information is shared freely across the entire fitness ecosystem.

“In 2017, we will primarily focus on helping innovators by working with entrepreneurs to develop better fitness products,” said Mike Rucker, Vice President of Technology. “We will then likely expand to create exploratory environments (e.g. the Apple Store) where members can freely test early-stage devices so that we are not just advancing the industry but also bringing members into it.”


We set out to build a great company doing work we are passionate about on a rock solid foundation—people,” said McBride. “I believe we hire the best in the industry who every day operate with heart, compassion and authenticity.

“Each of us is passionately drawn to our mission of improving the lives of others, and we know that if we approach every decision and action with making our people feel better to remain engaged each day, then results will follow for our members and clients.”


Bill is a health club industry veteran with over 25 years of experience leading and managing all aspects of commercial health clubs, medical fitness centers, residential, community, multi-tenant and corporate fitness sites. @billmcbride65

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