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Rick Caro, president of fitness industry consulting firm Management Vision, is the recipient of the 2006 Club Industry Lifetime Achievement Award.
Q&A with Rick Caro
Q: If you could have changed anything about the fitness industry during your career, what would you have changed?
A: I'd love to have the industry not have created such ill will with the public that we had to have special health club laws in every state to protect the consumer. I'd love to have had fairer and more consumer-oriented methods of payment early on so that people didn't feel as if the club industry was either difficult to deal with or didn't seem to respect their rights as a consumer. If we could have started out with a clean slate and not been criticized for some of the behavior we exhibited toward consumers, it would have been an easier time building credibility and not have led to such scrutiny.
Q: What surprises you about the industry as it is today?
A: It's the good news/bad news thing. We reached 14 percent of the United States as members, but also that we've only reached 14 percent. We educate people as an industry but we don't get them to take actionable steps. We are an industry that can help people lead better lives, healthier lives and less stressful lives, and we aren't having an impact on as many people as we should right now.
Q: Where do you plan to go from here?
A: I'm still loving the industry as much as ever. I'm still passionate about the industry. I will continue to consult in areas I have some strength in. I may have a chance to participate at a senior level — perhaps on a board level — at a company that may not be large today but could be in the future or a company that could combine a few of the better club groups together. It would be fun to have a leadership role at a company where I'd have a chance to be a part of a business on an ongoing basis rather than being invited in just to consult.