It’s Thanksgiving WEEK! And There is a lot to be thankful for, so giving away a few “REX Scholarships”

By: John Mickelson

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving and give thanks for the many positive relationships and blessings that have come into our lives.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving and may you reflect/cherish all you have been given over the year and look for opportunities to be able to give back to others that are less fortunate.

I have the best job in the world, to be able to travel and meet club owners who truly have a heart to help their members enjoy a better quality of life. Our industry has changed and its not just about “pumping iron” but its also about providing people a venue where they can meet, spend time together and improve their quality of life.

In the coming months, we will be highlighting club owners and their facilities that think outside the box and work with people with special needs. The “Baby Boomers” are requiring different programs to help with their age related challenges. Parkinson disease is becoming much more common place and in our featured article, Brielle Carter has a 62,000 square foot facility (Ability360 Center is located in the heart of Phoenix) that provides exceptional adaptive sports, recreation, aquatic, and fitness programs that promote the independence, health, and overall well-being of people with disabilities and their family members.

Continuing with the theme of giving back, on February 2-4th the “Medical Fitness Tour” will be held at the above mentioned Ability360 Center. Speakers from all over north America will be presenting with the Keynote and Welcome address provided by industry icon Bill McBride. We have included the “Medical Fitness Tour” invite and speaker schedule for your review.

Continue reading “It’s Thanksgiving WEEK! And There is a lot to be thankful for, so giving away a few “REX Scholarships””

John’s June Musings

It’s that time of year to celebrate “Father’s Day”. As we get closer to the day, the more memories of activities I have of my father. I am my father’s son in so many ways, the personality traits, the love of music, the desire to help people less fortunate, looking for ways to make the world better….etc. I cherish my memories of him and even though he has passed, there isn’t a day that I don’t think about him. May you enjoy the upcoming Father’s Day and please use it as a day to make your father feel cherished and loved.


I’m often asked how the Soapbox newsletter came about. Well, one of the founders of Petra actually published the first edition of the Soapbox back in 1996. Ben Whitham furnished me with the very first edition he published and through modern technology, we are able to share this edition with you. I joined Petra that same year and seeing the very first Soapbox brings back many memories. I hope you enjoy it.


Live Purple is an organization of athletic clubs that are on the front lines in trying to help with the huge crisis of opioid addiction. In the late 1990s many Americans were diagnosed with chronic pain, estimated to affect around 100 million people or a third of the US population. This led to a push by drug companies and the federal government to expand the use of painkiller opioids. But when some patients continue to take the medication beyond what a doctor prescribes, whether to minimize pain or to enjoy the euphoric feelings it gives, it marks the beginning stages of a deadly addiction. Over time, tolerance develops and a person needs to use more to get the same effect. Dependence, or addiction, occurs when a person relies on the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Athletic clubs associated with Live Purple are implementing programs to help people deal with opioid addition. I would encourage you to read the content furnished by Live Purple and contact them on how to become involved.

In doing research on Live Purple, I met with Dr. Gail Krivan, MD who is a specialist and “Board Certified” in dealing with addiction and primarily opioid addiction. She believes there is a need for facilities that can support patients who are dealing with opioids and she has found in her practice that exercise and physical activity certainly speeds the healing process. I had no idea how deep the crisis is and Doctor Gail assured me the opioid crisis exceeds everyone’s imagination. I encourage you to join me in supporting Live Purple and help make a difference in people’s lives.


Here at the Soapbox, we like to support the regional IHRSA organization such as Macma (on the east coast) and Fitlife on the west coast. If you are interested in supporting the regional IHRSA organizations, please review their content. Their summer conferences are worthy of attending and I plan on attending both events. Kerry Campbell facilitates Macma and Neal Simpson oversees activities at Fitlife. Both venues provide sessions on a number of topics that are educational and fun. I look forward to meeting you at these events.


Finally, if your facility is a user of equipment wipes, we need to talk. Petra-1 is one of the largest providers of “antiseptic” equipment wipes in North America. If you provide me the opportunity to quote on our equipment wipe offerings, I believe we can save you money. Besides lowering your equipment wipes pricing, we also provide free freight.


I appreciate your interest in the Soapbox newsletter and if you have a suggestion, question or comment, its always appreciated.


John’s April Musings

Dear Soapbox Readers,

What a month this has been! The Superbowl / World Series all rolled up into one event called the IHRSA Convention. At the Petra-1 booth, we were slammed. Then add to the activity list in our attending the IHRSA Foundation mixer, Bill McBride’s reception and finally Augie’ Quest, we were running on fumes when I boarded the airplane on Saturday morning.

Next year the IHRSA Convention is in San Diego, one of my most favorite venues. Looking forward to seeing all of you at this spectacular event.

We have a number of articles in this issue and all of them worthy of your attention. It’s our mission to inform and inspire you to make a difference in those around you. You can make a difference and hopefully after you have reviewed the articles in this April issue, you will write me and let me know is we are motivating you in some small way to make a difference. Continue reading “John’s April Musings”

Mickelson Musings – The Real Superbowl, Chocolate, and Free IHRSA Passes, and more!

IHRSA is almost here. The Superbowl of tradeshows. An opportunity to see old friends and make new ones. I’ll be in the Petra-1 booth (booth 617) looking forward to meeting all of you who stop by. It’s all about the relationships and it’s pleasure and privilege to spend time with you when you take time out of your busy schedule to stop by. We even made it easy to attend by providing free entry into the tradeshow. Click on the graphic below this write-up, fill in the blanks and you will receive confirmation that you are signed-up and ready to go. Just another example of how John Mickelson makes things easy for you.

As most of you know from past issues of the Soapbox, we like to give back. Continue reading “Mickelson Musings – The Real Superbowl, Chocolate, and Free IHRSA Passes, and more!”

Happy New year! 2017… It’s all about “We” :)

Let 2017 begin. Everyone starts the new year with lofty goals and inspirations which seem to be based upon self-improvement. We at the Soapbox will try to change this mindset of being about “me” and moving forward into 2017 we want to change the perspective to “We”.

Let’s start with providing our Soapbox readership with a gift if you want to attend the tradeshow at IHRSA. Working with the folks at IHRSA, we are providing free tradeshow passes to anyone who wishes to attend (link Below).  Anyone, from the owners to staff can attend the IHRSA tradeshow free of charge. There is no limit to the number of passes that can be obtained by a facility, anyone that wants to go, can use the link provided and take advantage of this special offer. This is another way we “give back” to our readership.

Meredith Poppler from IHRSA writes about the lofty but achievable goals of The IHRSA Foundation and the desire to demonstrate the impact health clubs have on helping people effectively improve and manage their health, and then promote those benefits to increase the physically active population and improve wellness across the globe. We encourage you to donate to the IHRSA Foundation and help promote evidence-based programs that encourage healthy lifestyles.

I’ve known Neal Simpson, the Director of The FitLife Club Network for a number of years. Fitlife is an association of independent fitness facilities located in the Pacific Northwest. In this Soapbox edition he talks about the Fitlife regional summer conference and the guest speakers that will be presenting. If you have never experienced attending a regional IHRSA event located in picturesque Bend Oregon, contact Neal for more details.

Bill McBride comes through with another powerful article on Active Wellness, which is the leading health service management company and its passion in building active communities through both fitness and wellness. You will find the article full of ideas and practices that should inspire you to think outside the box and I encourage you to contact Bill to learn more.

Finally, in the spirit of giving back, we are continuing our “Free Consultation Offer – Our Gift to You!” offer through January. Bill McBride, President & Chief Executive Officer, Active Wellness, Active Sports Clubs & BMC3, Bryan O’Rourke, Business, Technology & Wellness Leader. Speaker, Consultant & CEO, Brent Darden, Principal at Brent Darden Consulting, Chairman of the Board for IHRSA, and Chairman of REX Executive Roundtables and Sal Pellegrino, Precor, Inc. have offered to “give back” to the Soapbox readership by offering free consulting services. Theres no catch, no fee, no charge for an initial consulting session. If you want to be on the cutting edge of programs to make your facility more profitable, increase membership and provide a better membership experience, you need to email them and take advantage of this special offer. They will meet or exceed your expectations.

As you might have noticed, we are making changes in the Soapbox’s format and we encourage you to drop us an email and let us know how you are doing. We are here to serve you so we look forward to your suggestions and comments.

It’s a pleasure and privilege to serve you and look forward to seeing you at IHRSA.


November SoapBox

A Message From John

November 2016

Dear Soapbox readers,

Changes are coming to the Soapbox, we are expanding into other services and product areas that we will share with our readership around the first of the year. We start the change with our new relationship with Brandi Bergeron at Moon Mission Media who will be our new SoapBox facilitator. Brandi brings to the Soapbox new ideas dealing with social media and experience in dealing with icons in our industry. We will be using Brandi’s talents not just for the Soapbox but for new projects coming online in 2017 including “Giving Back” projects to our readership. We welcome Brandi to the Soapbox family and I encourage you to enjoy Brandi’s bio shown below.

Lisa Dougherty is the founder of the Medical Fitness Network. Yes, there are individuals like Lisa that believe in “giving back” and want to make a difference in people’s lives. To spend time with her is to realize her special qualities. Bill McBride feels so strongly about Lisa that he wrote her introduction. You can’t help but feel energized once you meet Lisa and get a dose of her infectious personality. Lisa realizes that we have an obligation to service our aging population and people with special needs. Her organization Medical Fitness Network (MFN) provides you access to a number of programs that will help seniors and “special needs” members in your facility. Enrich your membership with all the Medical Fitness Network programs and make a positive difference in a member’s life.

Kelly Campbell from Augie’s Quest provides us content on updates and activities in the Augie’s Quest organization. I would encourage you to receive their newsletter and attend their Augie’s Quest bash at the 2017 IHRSA. Please review Kelly’s article and join with me in supporting this iconic organization.

Finally, in October we did our first ever “Flash Promotional Email Blast”! We offered a case of Petra AC 575-F Non-Alcohol Foaming Hand Sanitizer at about ½ the price of competing brands. We will run another Flash Email Blast later this month.

Thank you for being a loyal Soapbox reader and we look forward to providing you information thats worthy of your time to read.


The DOL’s Final Overtime Rule

by Meredith Poppler of IHRSA

Changes to Federal Overtime Laws are going into effect on December 1. These changes will extend overtime eligibility to an additional 4.2 million workers. Under the new rule, an employee must have a guaranteed salary of at least $47,476 to qualify as exempt, more than double the current minimum of $23,660.

IHRSA is extremely concerned about the overtime rule’s potential costs to health clubs and about the short time frame to prepare for compliance. We are working to stop or delay the changes. But in the meantime, because these changes could have a drastic impact on a club’s payroll, IHRSA is providing all IHRSA members with a complimentary webinar on Monday, November 21 at 2pm EST:

Attend this webinar to learn more about the Department of Labor’s new FLSA Overtime Exemption Rule, steps to take to comply with this rule, and an explanation of the FLSA’s “Retail Sales Exemption” by employment attorney Jordan Schwartz.

More information about how IHRSA is trying to stop these changes from taking effect, and how these changes will impact clubs is available here


Vice President of Communication and Leadership Engagement at IHRSA
Meredith Poppler puts her 20+ year career in the industry to work protecting and promoting health clubs by raising awareness of and funding for important policy issues, and encouraging advocacy, collaboration and leadership within the industry. And as IHRSA’s Media liaison, Poppler communicates the importance of physical activity and the benefits that health clubs provide to their communities.  @PopplerMeredith
Meredith Poppler puts her 20+ year career in the industry to work protecting and promoting health clubs by raising awareness of and funding for important policy issues, and encouraging advocacy, collaboration and leadership within the industry. And as IHRSA’s Media liaison, Poppler communicates the importance of physical activity and the benefits that health clubs provide to their communities.  @PopplerMeredithVice President of Communication and Leadership Engagement at IHRSA

Dear Soapbox Readers: A Message from Bill

I’m honored to serve on the Medical Fitness Network’s advisory board.  After meeting Lisa Dougherty, being moved by her passion and learning about the mission of the MFN – I was determined to be involved. 

We enrolled our clubs and fitness professionals in the “super registry” to better serve special populations.  Not only is it very fulfilling to work with those in the most need of our expertise.  It also furnishes leads to our highly trained fitness professionals within our facilities.  These new members personal train because they want and need the expertise of highly qualified fitness professionals. 

If you are the kind of operator that truly wants to make a difference for people, you should join the MFN. 

If you are the kind of operator that wants more members to serve within your facility, you should join the MFN. 

If you are the kind of operator that wants to do more Personal Training, you should join the MFN.

Just saying… ☺

Bill McBride

Co-Founder,President & CEO Active Wellness


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


Why Clubs Should Join the Medical Fitness Network

by Lisa Dougherty

There are approximately 100 million baby boomers (aged 50 and over) making up 30% of the nation’s population and three-fourths of its wealth.  This group is expected to live longer than previous generations.  This is the largest population segment in our economy and they are seeking professional help for their aging bodies.

As this group ages, we are seeing a significant increase in obesity, chronic disease and individuals with multiple medical conditions.  The number of aging individuals seeking fitness professionals is about to reach it’s tipping point. 

Among the many conditions a boomer client may face are: joint replacements (often two or more), arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s and muscle loss.

These members/clients, once thought of as the exception, are now becoming the norm. They have heard that not all exercise is created equal and they will be looking for clubs, programs and professionals who understand who they are and how they can be helped to restore function and preserve their quality of life.

The Medical Fitness Network (MFN) was founded in 2013 due to the necessity of servicing our aging population.  America’s aging are internet savvy and  spend time researching online before deciding who and where to get help from when their physician suggests starting an “exercise program”. 

MFN is a free online resource directory for consumers to locate clubs, fitness & allied healthcare professionals who provide services for those with chronic disease, medical conditions, disabilities and women’s health issues including pre & postpartum care.   

MFN has partnered with many of the top medical & health organizations in the U.S was 

acknowledged by the White House as a finalist for Champions of Change in 2016 for its community service work.

Facilities can join to increase their online exposure and credibility for $99 for the first year. Membership includes a full page business listing plus unlimited professional memberships for each of the staff to promote their services and specializations under the facility listing.   The cost of this membership is easily offset by all the benefits that come with it.

MFN believes education is important and has partnered with 50 education companies that provide members with savings on certifications and CEC’s.  Fitness & allied healthcare professionals working with the aging population must have a higher level of knowledge, skill and expertise.

Members also gain access to FREE educational webinars from the top experts in the fitness industry to stay up to date on the latest in research and trends in the industry.

It is clear, the demand for  more medical fitness facilities and professionals will only grow as our population grows and ages.  The MFN offers an opportunity for clubs & fitness professionals to become an established part of the healthcare team.  Please join this registry today!


Lisa Dougherty is the founder of the Medical Fitness Network.  Her vision is help improve the quality of lives of the many millions of people by connecting them with facilities and professionals who have background in prevention, treatment & rehabilitation of chronic disease, medical conditions, disabilities and women’s health issues including pre & postpartum care.   
Lisa has worked in the fitness industry since 1999.  She graduated from the University of Ca, Irvine, Fitness Instructor Program, and went on to get her Certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach Certifications through the American Council on Exercise. She has many specialty certifications to work with arthritis, CVD/stroke, breast cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgis, knee & hip replacement, MS, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, post surgical/rehab as well as pre & postpartum fitness.

Closer To A Cure – Augie’s Update

by Kelly Campbell

The fitness industry continues to support Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS, the research initiative led by LifeFitness co-founder Augie Nieto.  Recently, Health and Fitness club recruited and trained runners to raise a record $430,000 for ALS research.   Team Quest4ALS is a new Augie’s Quest endurance event program that works with people of all athletic abilities to train for and complete a half-marathon for their first time or their fastest time while committing to a fundraising minimum to benefit amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research at the ALS Therapy Development Institute.  Thanks to 15 clubs and over 155 runners who completed the Brooklyn Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon for ALS Research on October 8th.

Congratulations to the top 3 fundraising teams: 

1. Newtown Athletic Club – $169,000
2. The Atlantic Club – $107,068
3. Greenwood Athletic & Tennis Club – $52,479

Augie’s Quest was represented by Augie’s wife, Lynne, and his son, Austin, who finished the half-marathon in honor of his dad.  Five patients living with ALS attended the event, and inspired all runners to finish.  We are grateful for the fitness industry who came together to help make this Inaugural event a success!

Save the Date for the 12th Annual BASH for Augie’s Quest, which will take place in conjunction with the IHRSA Conference and Trade Show on March 10, 2017 in Los Angeles.  Please for details.

Thanks to the fitness industry, great strides are being made in research.  This year the ALS Therapy Development Institute has made significant progress on its two lead research programs; AT-1501 and the Precision Medicine Program. Right now, there are already 370 people enrolled in the PMP, and the Institute is aggressively working in partnership with those people with ALS to collect crucial data necessary to find treatments and cures. One of the most significant outcomes to date of the PMP are the creation of databases pointing to the potential use of the movement and speech tracking technology used as tools to speed up clinical trials, reducing the time and number of lives it may take to determine if proposed treatments for ALS actually work. One such proposed treatment, AT-1501 has also advanced forward this year, overcoming milestones related to its scalable manufacturability and potency of that process. In addition to these two lead research programs, the Institute continues to lead the field in the screening and validation of potential treatments by developing various models of disease, including mouse and now human derived cell lines. For the latest information on these programs, please visit 

A Soapbox Welcome

Brandi J. Bergeron is a talented Marketing Consultant, Branding Strategist and bjb
Creator with her finger firmly on the pulse of digital media’s leading edge. With 20 years of marketing experience under her belt, Brandi loves nothing more than helping her clients to thrive in both traditional marketing and the constantly changing seas of digital and social media. Her secret weapon is a knack for combining powerful relationships with strategic expertise that bridges the Wellness, Fitness and Technology industries.

A strategist who truly understands the power of a thriving community, Brandi’s mission is to help her clients to explode a raving fan base through top notch content. Her work isn’t done until her clients have blasted through the ceiling of their business potential.

An LSU Grad who has spent the last 2 decades working within a variety of industries, from Lifestyle brands (B2C) to the industrial sector (B2B), she can skillfully hone and realize a company mission, bringing integrity, honesty, creativity and compassion to all of her work. Known for her attention to detail, Brandi is super easy to work with and she loves getting to know her clients in order to meet and exceed their every marketing need.

Through her full service media company, Moon Mission Media, co-founded with industry leader Bryan K. O’Rourke, her work continues to develop impactful messages and stimulate authentic engagement between diverse communities across the digital landscape. Motivated by the fun of enabling her clients to serve their audiences in a meaningful way, Brandi earns customer trust and converts them into loyal supporters for each one of her clients.

It’s a passion for excellence that drives Brandi’s success. Her unwavering ability to deliver consistent results is the driving force behind her solid reputation as a stellar marketing professional. She’s a whiz on any campaign, no matter how abundant or limited her resources may be. Brandi never fails to answer the customer’s call with creativity and commitment.

Brandi held the position of Director of Digital Marketing at both Integerus LLC and the Fitness Industry Technology Council and she’s worked as a Marketing Consultant at various companies in the health industry, including DiAMC (Diabetes Assessment and Management Centers) and Physicians Proviso.

She has recently been published in a joint collaboration between Bryan K. O’Rourke and Robert Dyer, in their new book, The Nine Principles of Partnership. When she’s not producing marketing miracles for her clients, you can find Brandi running on the beach, reading and spending time with her family and friends.

Connect with Brandi Twitter, LinkedIn  & IG

What does the Petra and A-1 merger mean for you and your company?

Dear Soapbox Readers,

March is always the busiest month of the year as it’s the month IHRSA which is the “World Series” of events for our industry takes place . This year, the IHRSA convention was Petra’s best ever, besides a new booth, we also announced our merger with A-1 Textiles. PetrA-1 is the new name for what is now the largest provider (in the athletic club and sports industry) of towels and textiles in the United States and Canada. The content regarding the merger for this Soapbox issue was furnished by the two owners of PetrA-1, Sam Maduri and Ben Whitham.

Our IHRSA booth was brand new, giving us more display room for the new towel offerings, textiles, dispensers, liquids, equipment wipes and included a “selfie section”. Selfie photos are posted below for review. It was a lot of fun and we appreciate all the attendees that stopped by.

Special gift offered to our Soapbox readers in California. In April, PetrA-1 is participating in the CCD Spring Symposium and Trade Show taking place in Palm Springs (April 19-21). Details are posted below. I’ve secured a limited number of free passes for this event. If you have given thought to attending and haven’t yet purchased your passes, please contact me.Passes will be awarded per a “drawing” to be held later this week. Just emailme or call me and I’ll enter you into the drawing.

To help support the CCD Spring Symposium and Trade Show, PetrA-1 is sponsoring Bill McBride (president and CEO of Active Wellness & BMC3) in a keynote address. The CCD Spring Symposium and Trade Show is an opportunity for independent athletic clubs in California to come together and hear from icons and leaders on industry trends that will impact the profitability of their facility(s). This event is certainly worthy of your attendance. I look forward to meeting everyone that drops by our booth.

Thank you for your faithful readership and as always, it’s a pleasure and privilege to be a part of this wonderful and healthy industry.


Building Partnerships: Petra Hygienic Systems and A-1 Textiles
Written By Sam Maduri and Ben Whitham of PetrA-1
We are pleased to announce that Petra Hygienic Systems and A-1 Textiles have agreed to a strategic merger of the two companies Fitness Divisions which will create a new company called PetrA-1. This merger is expected to be formalized in the following months. PetrA-1 will be the largest provider of locker room amenities and towels in the USA. Both companies express excitement for the future, especially because of following benefits to customers:

  • Fastest Delivery Times: PetrA-1 will have 6 warehouses across the United States enabling the quickest delivery times in the industry.  Locations: California, Nevada, Texas, Atlanta, Indiana and Hawaii;
  • One-stop shop: PetrA-1 will offer the widest variety of liquid amenities, soap dispensers, wipes and towels;
  • Better Customer Service: PetrA-1 will have sales and customer service offices on both the East and West coast, meaning longer hours and better access to company representatives.
  • Continued Innovation: PetrA-1 will have the resources to increase our investment in product development and innovation to reflect the current trends and needs of the industry.

Petra Hygienic Systems has been the leading provider of liquid soaps, amenities and towels to the fitness industry, while A-1 Textiles has been leading the Hospitality industry for over 25 years. Together, PetrA-1 will create an even stronger supplier that will provide unparalleled products and service for all your locker room needs.
Your business is extremely valuable to us and we thank you for your loyal patronage. We strongly believe this merger will improve our service to you and hope you feel so too.

For your information we have developed a Customer Fact Sheet and Q&A document to address any questions you may have. If you have additional inquiries, please reach out to John Mickelson via email or at 775-530-7133.

Ben and Sam of PetrA-1Meet the PetrA-1 Leaders
Ben Whitham, VP of Sales/Owner
(pictured left)

Sam Maduri, President/Owner
(pictured right)



Featured IHRSA Trade Show Photos!

(Click here to see all the selfies from the Petra booth)

IHRSA Conference 2016 IHRSA Conference 2016 3 IHRSA Conference 2016 2

IHRSA Conference 2016









You Won’t Want to Miss this Upcoming IHRSA Regional Trade Show!

CCD Logo

*SoapBox Reader Exclusive Pricing*
Spring Symposium & Trade Show!

John is now offering SoapBox readers exclusive two-day passes for only $89! There will be many well known speakers to learn from and network with. See details in the event brochure here.

Trade Show will be held April 19-21, 2016 at the Renaissance by Marriott Palm Springs Hotel, located at the foot of the dramatic San Jacinto Mountains.CCD Symposium room rate per night is $159. The rate is extended to the night before the event (April 18) and the night after the event (April 21). Contact Renaissance and ask for CCD Symposium rate, 760-322-6000. You can view hotel accommodations by clicking here.

Contact John via email

Merry Christmas! Our gift to you: free expert consulting!

Welcome to the December Edition of the SoapBox!

Dear Soapbox Readers, What a year 2015 has been! With the December Soapbox, we conclude our last 2015 issue. With the help of IHRSA industry icons, Bill McBride, Brent Darden, Bryan O’Rourke and Sal Pellegrino, our Soapbox newsletter has grown beyond our expectations and has brought valuable information to our ever expanding readership. We have truly been blessed in so many ways.

As we look forward to the December holidays, the season for giving and “giving thanks”….We are going to do something that has never been done before, at least I’m not aware of. We are going to give back to our readers. We are going to offer our readers a complimentary “one on one” consultation session (30 minute session) with Bill, Brent, Bryan and Sal. If you have a desire to talk with Sal about industry trends, we will arrange a free session with him. If you are interested in a discussion in retaining members or any other topic with Brent, we can make it happen. How about social media questions and concerns, Bryan can provide “one on one” expertise and finally, Bill McBride is able to work with you on strategy, sales & marketing or organizational structure. You can choose one, two, three or all four members to discuss your club’s questions or concerns. All provided to you at no charge. We are not talking about a webinar, we are talking about each of the individuals mentioned above talking directly to you, your management staff or administrative staff, its up to you who you include in the “one on one” 30 minute conference call.

I mentioned to several club managers our “Season To Give Back” program and was always asked, “whats the catch?” The beauty of the above offer is, there is no catch! Each of the content contributors have a heart to give back to our readers and help each of you to be a stronger presence in your community and lets not forget, more profitable…Its that simple.

If you are interested in participating in our “Season To Give Back” program, contact John here and we will take care of the rest. Its that easy. We also invite you to share this special offer with other club owners and managers. This offer is good through January 2016. We want everyone to succeed, and can’t think of a better way to facilitate this goal than with the help of Bill McBride, Brent Darden, Bryan O’Rourke and Sal Pellegrino.

Its our hope the “Season To Give Back” program will bring you some holiday cheer and we welcome your participation, your questions, comments and suggestions. May you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

– John Mickelson

Email John here for a free consulting offer good through January 2016.


Bill McBride profileBill McBride, President & Chief Executive Officer, Active Wellness, Active Sports Clubs & BMC3

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.  He co-founded Active Sports Clubs and Active Wellness, LLC and owns a health club consultancy – BMC3. Bill has served as Chairman of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) Board of Directors, President of the Mid-Atlantic Club Management Association (MACMA) and served on the Industry Advisory Board for the American Council of Exercise (ACE).  He is actively engaged as an author on industry education, serves on several Advisory Boards and speaks regularly on industry topics throughout the world.

Bryan O'Rourke ProfileBryan O’Rourke, Business, TechnoIogy & Wellness Leader. Speaker, Consultant & CEO

Bryan O’Rourke is an experienced CEO, strategist, deal maker and adviser who helps organizations and professionals realize their full potential and solve their biggest challenges. With a track record of building teams and growing global brands, his network of associates and partners have served organizations large and small. As the current President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council, he is working to create interoperability standards in the fitness space. He is considered a leading expert on technology, consumer and business trends and his views have been published in periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Inc. Magazine, CBI and many others.

Brent Dardin ProfileBrent Darden, Principal at Brent Darden Consulting, Chairman of the Board for IHRSA, and Chairman of REX Executive Roundtables

The club industry has labeled Brent Darden a “Texas Talent” and “Industry Treasure” – “part preacher, part teacher, and part reacher”. For over three decades, the former IHRSA Board of Directors Chairman has amassed a wealth of knowledge about the industry and continues to share his experiences around the world through speaking and consulting. His messages have reached audiences across nine continents and been translated into seven different languages. In addition to his consulting practice, Brent also Chairs several industry REX Roundtables. Website:

Sal Pelligrino ProfileSal Pelligrino, Senior Vice President of Client Management at ABC Financial Services

Sal Pellegrino is an experienced presenter at many industry events, Gold’s Gym Convention, Club Industry, IHRSA, World Gym convention, Medical Fitness Association and the JCC Association. Sal is a wealth of industry knowledge and has a keen eye for creative industry trends. His experience ranges from owning two fitness centers for seven years and thirty years of vendor experience with a number of large fitness equipment and service companies (StairMaster, Precor, Star Trac and Les Mills). During these many years of experience he focused on large national and regional chains where he observed many new trends, creative programs and facility design elements. He lives in Raleigh, NC with his wife and daughter and is known to play a pretty good guitar. Recently, Sal has accepted a position with ABC Financial as the SVP of Client Management.


Fitlife Update: Winter Retreat!

Feb 21-22, 2016 at the Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, WA featuring roundtable discussions with Dr. Gerry Faust. Two days only $99!!

Call 888.591.9077 using Reservation Code: Fitlife

CCD Update: Spring Symposium & Trade Show!

April 19-21, 2016 at theRenaissance by Marriott Palm Springs Hotelfeaturing keynote speakers, networking activities, and education. Two days only $189for members and $239 for non-members when you register by Feb. 25.

Contact Lin Conrad at 510-243-1532 or via email for more information.

Celebrating the Memory of a Lost CCD Friend

Our house is still without Hannah.  My long time Springer Spaniel sidekick and companion has gone to the other side.  We traveled all over California together, me with my work, her with her ball.  When not traveling we spent hours together in the CCD office.  She never let me spend too much time in the chair.  Her subtle shove of a ball in my direction would remind me it was time to take a break.  She was the best hiking dog; never leaving my side to wander off in the bushes or chase a coyote.  She understood her commitment and tried her best to uphold them.  I sit now in my office chair and wait for that ball to roll over into my feet…Our house is still without Hannah.

St. Mary’s Fitness Center Personal Trainer a Guinness World Record Holder!

Saint Mary’s Fitness Center hosted a fundraiser for the The SPCA of Northern Nevada and had the support of the local community as Reno resident Mark Zarubi (a Saint Mary’s Fitness Center Personal Trainer) broke the 12 and 24 hour Guinness World Record on Tuesday, September 1, 2015. You can see their promotional video here:

February 2015

Club Cleanliness a timely subject. This year more than ever.

Colds and flus are wrecking havoc on everyone–even more with our seniors, which John recently experienced firsthand. Proper disinfection has always been a crucial piece of the cleaning puzzle, particularly in health club facilities. In fact, John recently contributed to CBI Magazine’s “Cleanliness is key to Healthiness” feature (You can see a digital version of CBI Magazine in it’s entirety by clicking here, the Cleanliness article is on page 64, you can enter the page number to go directly to the article) which he touches on in this month’s edition of the SoapBox.

A message from John…

I recently learned firsthand how quickly super bugs and pathogens can get out of control. My mom resides in an independent living facility where they try to keep up on cleaning and disinfecting. But once several residents came down with a cold and flu bug, there was no way to prevent the number of illnesses that occurred.

My mom ended up in the hospital and at 85 years of age, there was a day or two where we didn’t know if she would recover.

There is good news though. I work with a number of regional and national janitor supply companies that have the products and knowledge to help keep your club clean and sanitized. Making sure you have a strong relationship with a trusted janitor supply rep is one of the most important ways to lower your chances of being a gateway for transferring pathogens to your members. I encourage you to dialog with a trusted janitor supply rep, they typically are very knowledgeable and their advice is free. If you need help on finding a rep, let me know, I have a huge network of qualified people that I can recommend. Most important, besides keeping your club and equipment clean and sanitized, encourage everyone to wash their hands, use non-alcohol foaming hand sanitizers and if your budget allows, provide antiseptic equipment wipes.

If you want to know how clean your club is, use a portable, battery powered ultraviolet light which allows you to actually see the pathogens and other not so nice things in your facility. Seeing is believing. I have an inexpensive unit available if you are unable to source.

As to mom, she is on the mend. Each day she becomes stronger and in several weeks, we look forward to having her back to being normal. Enjoy the article from CBI Magazine (don’t forget the Cleanliness article is on page 64) and let me know how I can be of assistance to you and your facility. Be well my friends and lets make life fun and bring happiness to everyone we come in contact with. John

Home of the SoapBox

Welcome to the online archive of John’s SoapBox.

Featuring the leaders in health and fitness club management

A Message From John…As many of you may know, I publish a monthly blog in which I feature the leaders in health and fitness club management. Since my entree into the industry back in 1984, I’ve had the good fortune to cross paths with many knowledgeable, fun, passionate, motivated and caring people.

These special people have changed the lives of their member’s and now via the SoapBox, we have a way to honor them and share their stories.

We hope to share with you what peers in our industry have found to make their operation work better and more efficient. Continue reading “Home of the SoapBox”