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Why this web site?

The answer is simple. I have been very blessed personally and professionally. I quit a public service job at age 38 to try to start a racquetball club in a small Maryland town. Somehow it all worked, and in over twenty years the Bel Air Athletic Club grew from 25,000 sq. ft. to 120,000 and became an industry model for family oriented clubs.

Along the way I had invaluable help from industry icons, including Dale Dibble, Cedardale’s founder, Alan Schwartz, founder of Tennis Corporation of America, John McCarthy, the legendary long time Executive Director of The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), Will Phillips, who led my industry roundtable, and many many others. They gave of their time and expected nothing in return. The health club industry has brought me many friends and exceptional opportunities, the most important of which is finding a career to be passionate about. After nearly thirty years in it I still am.

Like all entrepreneurs I have made lots of mistakes along the way but have learned a few things that I regard as core to any successful business — having a clear articulated set of values; a commitment to growing people and your “business culture”; and having folk in positions where day in and day out they are able to employ their natural talents and strengths. My intent via this web site is to share some of the things I have learned in the health club industry in the hope a few of my insights might help others. Please visit the Downloads section for these materials.

Additionally, Cal Ripken, Jr., who is a friend, gave me permission to share with you a fifteen minute business interview I did with him for a presentation to the 2007 IHRSA Management Institute. Cal is someone who understands what it takes to be successful on the field and off. He is exceptionally wise and analytical. If you manage others I believe you will find his remarks relevant and interesting — especially the sections on the importance of trust and self-awareness. For more information about Cal’s businesses, please visit Ripken Baseball and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.

If you discover something from this web site that’s particularly useful, please share your thoughts. That helps me to keep on learning. You can email me at Rogerralphllc@aol.com – reference “Your Web Site” in the subject block.

Roger