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Stephen Tharrett

My career in the fitness industry has spanned 40 years, encompassing stints in the private club, corporate fitness, nonprofit and for-profit segments of the fitness industry. The most influential roles I fulfilled during this time period include:

  • Serving as a Club Department Head, a Vice President, and finally, a Senior Vice President for ClubCorp, a Dallas, Texas-based owner and operator of private clubs and resorts. While serving as a SVP, I oversaw athletic, golf and tennis operations, along with spearheading the company’s growth of fitness facilities.
  • Serving nearly three years as the CEO of the Russian Group, overseeing the company’s two brands, World Class and Fizkult, which collectively served close to 100,000 members, had 50+ clubs and revenues of $150 million.
  • Serving as the President of the IHRSA Board for one year (1996 – 1997) and as a Member of the Board for four years (1994 – 1998).

During my career I have also served in numerous volunteer leadership roles, including:

  • Former Member of the Star Trac Advisory Board;
  • Former Member of the Stairmaster Advisory Board;
  • Former Member of ACSM’s Education Committee, Certification Committee and Marketing Committee;
  • Current Member of the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) Advisory Board;
  • Current Member of the Club Industry Board;
  • Co-editor of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions of ACSM’s Health/Fitness Facility Standards and Guidelines;
  • Deputy Chair of NSF International’s Health/Fitness Facility Standards Committee;

I have authored over 10 books on the business of fitness, including Fitness Management, 4th Edition, a textbook used in over 30 colleges and universities, and Studio Success, presently a resource textbook for the fitness studio industry. I also have an online specialty course entitled The Business of Fitness, which is presently available on the American Council of Exercise website.

In addition, I have spoken at over 50 national and international conventions, including:

  • Australian Fitness Network and Australian Leaders Conference;
  • Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) International Convention, U.S.;
  • International Health, Racquet and Sportclub Association International Convention, U.S.;
  • European Health Fitness Forum International Convention in conjunction with FIBO Europe, Germany;
  • FIBO USA, U.S.;
  • Fitness Brazil, Brazil;
  • Club Spa and Fitness Association (CSFA) national convention, U.S.;
  • Canfitpro Convention, Canada;
  • ACSM Health Fitness Summit, U.S.;
  • IHRSA European Conference, Ireland and Spain;
  • Mercado Fitness, Argentina and Mexico;
  • ICHPER World Congress, Istanbul, Turkey;
  • World Class Convention, Russia.

Finally, along with Mark Williamson, I am the Co-Founder of ClubIntel, a brand insights firm.