We Love Ability 360

By Brielle Carter

The Ability360 Center is a 62,000-square-foot universally designed, accessible and transit-oriented non-profit resources center serving the disability community in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area.  A national model for accessible design and collaborative programming, the Ability360 Center is located in the heart of Phoenix, less than two and a half miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and situated conveniently on the Valley Metro light rail system.

Ability360 continues a 35-year tradition offering and promoting programs to empower people with all disabilities to take personal responsibility so that they may achieve or continue independent lifestyles within the community. The independent living philosophy states that people with disabilities should have the same civil rights, options, and control over choices in their own lives as do people without disabilities.

The Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center opened in October of 2011 to provide health, fitness and recreation programs to individuals with disabilities and their families. The spectacular center is co-located with the Ability360 Center in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to Ability360, eleven other disability services organizations call the Ability360 Center home.

Continue reading “We Love Ability 360”

MACMA Leadership Workshop in June to be followed by the 2017 Annual Conference & Golf Tournament in July

MACMA is organizing a leadership workshop, presented by Mark Miller, COO of Merit Clubs on June 14, 2017. This workshop will focus on Membership Experiences in the fitness world and aims to benefit anybody in a leadership position.

The MACMA Annual Conference & Golf Tournament is set to happen on July 12 & 13. While the initial details can be found on our older blog here.

Click here to download the latest conference guide that contains the details of the event.

2017 FitLife Summer Conference & Trade Show

Dear Soapbox readers:

Information shown below provides you a quick reference on the Fitlife Summer Conference next month in Bend Oregon. My good friend Bill McBride will be returning and I’ll have the opportunity to perform the introduction to his presentation. Every year the Fitlife event gets bigger and better.

We also want to welcome Sal Pellegrino of Precor to this year’s event. I’ve seen him speak at a number of events and he always meets or exceed expectations.

Would love to see you at Fitlife and again, the tradition continues with Petra-1 having booth number “1”



What: 2017 FitLife Summer Conference & Trade Show

Where: Riverside Hotel and Conference Center in beautiful, Bend, Oregon

When: July 16-18, 2017

Who: Members and Non-Members invited. Exhibitors Encouraged

The mission of the FitLife Summer Conference is to create meaningful networking and educational opportunities for the owners, managers and staff of FitLife member clubs and the suppliers who support them. This is not a traditional tradeshow, but rather an opportunity to build real relationships with FitLife clubs owners and staff. As such, exhibitors are welcome and encouraged to attend ALL sessions, meals and events alongside attendees, in addition to working the tradeshow.

The FitLife Summer Conference includes the following events:

  • Sunday, July 16: Welcome, Educational Sessions and Blowout Tradeshow Party
  • Monday, July 17: Breakfast, Educational Sessions, Tradeshow Lunch, Tradeshow Happy Hour, Dinner
  • Tuesday, July 18: Breakfast, Educational Sessions, Lunch, Fitlife Business Meeting.

PetrA-1 Joins Tom Johnston for Global Wellness Day!


Dear SoapBox Readers,

We are changing things up a bit in this May Soapbox Newsletter. This month we feature two individuals that have a strong desire to make things better for those around them. Tom Johnston has a desire to help change the world and Dan Lopez has a passion to change and evolve his facilities for a better membership experience.

I was introduced to Tom Johnston through a mutual friend. Tom is the Chief Operating Officer for American Leisure with a passion for promoting and championing Global Wellness Day (GWD). As explained in the content shown below, GWD started as a grass roots movement that has now spread around the world. June 11th will be the 4th year anniversary and it so happens that Tom is the GWD Ambassador for the United States. I’m sure many of you have questions and perhaps have a desire to become involved with GWD. I encourage you to contact Tom via his email and he will be more than happy to answer all your questions. Thank you Tom for sharing your passion to make the world a much better place.

Our second featured author is Dan Lopez who is the operations/facility officer for the Spare Time Clubs in Sacramento. A large portion of our readers are involved in the actual “nuts and bolts” of facility management. Its our hope you will find Dan’s insight into club operations of interest. Dan brings a number of disciplines to his role at Spare Time and is one of the few people I know that loves to share his knowledge and experience with others. Have you experienced challenges or issues in managing your facility or facilities? How can you reduce pool expenditures, how about the best form of indoor or outdoor lighting, Dan is the man that has the answers. Over the years, Dan has been able to succeed in providing the savings that ownership has needed yet has improved the membership experience. I marvel as I walk through his clubs and the logistics that take place to make his facilities safe, fun and profitable. As with Tom, Dan’s contact info is listed at the end of his article and I encourage you to contact him for words of wisdom.

We cherish our readership and it’s a pleasure and privilege to serve you.We welcome your questions, comments and concerns and if there is a favorite topic you feel passionate about, please let us know. We are here for you and would love to hear from you

John Mickelson

Tom Johnston photoMeet our Featured Contributor
Tom Johnston, Chief Operating Officer of American Leisure and GWD Ambassador
Recognized for overseeing operations of innovative lifestyle amenity spaces for prominent real estate developers. Tom has a consistent record driving increased membership and sales revenue in the health and fitness industry. You can connect with Tom via email.


Global Wellness Day: Saturday, June 11, 2016

This information brought to the SoapBox by Tom Johnston
(You can read the full press release here)

Saturday, June 11, 2016 will mark the fourth Global Wellness Day (GWD) being celebrated around the world. GWD’s international network of over 70 Global Wellness Day Ambassadors report that they are on target to have over 3,000 properties & locations in 100 countries organize complimentary wellness activities like yoga/Pilates/dance workshops; breathing & mindfulness sessions and nutrition & beauty classes to help millions realize that “One day can change your whole life.” In fact, GWD events will be held around the world on the second Saturday in June, from sunrise in New Zealand until sunset in Hawaii.

Global Wellness Day LogoTaking away the barriers of exclusivity, this year’s rallying cry for GWD is “Wellness for Everyone!’’ with a range of cities, tourism boards, health clinics and even national dance companies offering are workshops and classes to educate & inspire the public about the benefits of proactive wellness and mind-body fitness. Waterfront communities from Asbury Park New Jersey to Imperial Beach, California, and both Jacksonville and Boca Raton, Florida, are organizing a day of family friendly wellness activities. AltaMed, the largest community health center in the nation based in California, understands wellness extends beyond healthcare and will be championing wellness opportunities for its employees and the communities it serves on June 11 in order to fully advocate equal access health & wellness services. And in Arizona, the Mountain Vista Medical Center will promote GWD activities at their Women’s Wellness Expo and the Sedona Golf Resort will hold the state’s first Wellness Golf Tournament, followed by a Community Wellness Fair at The Collective Sedona, a food/shopping/art/wellness center, with over 10 local spas holding classes and events.

Setting aside the second Saturday of June to provide complimentary, educational and experiential wellness activities to the public to promote good physical and mental health was the brainchild of Belgin Aksoy, owner of Turkey’s only destination spa and herself a cancer survivor. An idea whose time had come, Global Wellness Day was quickly embraced by the wellness industry and, amazingly, only one year later GWD was celebrated in 74 different countries at over 600 spas, hotels & destinations!

So our question to you is…What should the SoapBox do for GWD??
Submit your ideas today and we will highlight them in next month’s publication! Let’s get our local club members AND employees motivated with global ideas that think local. Click here to share your idea.

GWD American Leisure Team

The GWD American Leisure Team

John’s Testimonials: Hear What Our Customers Are Saying!

Customer: Dan Lopez, Corporate Facilities Director with Spare Time Clubs

Dan Lopez photoWhen John asked me to contribute to The Soapbox I was honored. John and Petra have been a part of my Spare Time team for 14 years. He and Petra are a vital part of our daily business. Petra is not just a vendor they are a team member that contributes to the over all success of our company. I mention this because as a Facilities Director managing multiple locations I depend on many people to help me maintain our clubs to the highest standards.

A critical key to finding a quality vendor or solving a difficult facility issue is to seek out Quality Information before making Any Decision. When it comes to making decisions on a particular product or vendor we usually have plenty of time to gather information and investigate the products or companies before making a decision. This principal must be applied in all of our decisions, even when we are dealing with time sensitive repairs that effect our daily operation and most importantly our members. I find that many people in the repair and service industry makes decision based on their experience, that is a vital piece to understanding a problem and implementing a solution, however it is not the only piece. There are other factors. Following is a guideline that I use when making any decisions for my facilities. The challenge is to not ignore this process for time sake, because a hasty uninformed decision only leads to further problems and longer and more costly repair times.

The First piece of Quality Information needed- What is the problem?  Sounds simple, however many times it is not. Really understanding what the issue is a critical step in making a Quality Decision. Asking many questions will eliminate many rabbit trails and cut down dramatically on the time it takes to solve the issue. “A quick decision leads quickly to more problems.”

The Second piece of Quality Information needed- What are the solutions? Once you have a clear understanding of the problem you must know decide how to resolve it. The key here is to once again have good information. It may be that the simple inexpensive fix may not be the right fix. The real questions are what have I spent in the past, what I will need to spend in the future and how does the down time affect my members. “A cheap fix may cost you more”

The Third piece of Quality Information needed- How do I prevent this from happening again? This is the piece that gets left out in many of our decision making process, however it is a critical function that I use to reduce both down time and cost of repairs at our clubs. If I fully understand the reasons for the failures I can put in place procedures to prevent it from happening again. This is a win win for our members and our bottom line. “Am I fixing it for today or forever?”

I strongly encourage companies to use some type of asset tracking software. I use it on a daily basis when deciding to repair or replace a particular asset such as a pool heater. It is very important that all repairs get imputed to the software so you can make an informed decision. If anyone has questions about asset tracking software, I would be happy to discuss my experience and knowledge with you.

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