BOSTON — When Joe Moore beat out 300 applicants to take the helm as president of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) last month, he set the following goals for the future of the association: to take a larger role in educating the public about the importance of physical activity, to influence public policy to make exercise more accessible to everyone and to strengthen the association's ties with the medical and financial community.

“We want to get doctors to look at exercise as medicine,” Moore says. “To that end, IHRSA will examine the ways in which we can effectively make inroads into the medical community.”

Moore's experience as a club owner will help him to understand the needs of club owners and the fitness industry, says Michael Levy, chairperson of IHRSA's board. Moore opened his first club in 1972, and his business grew into a health club chain with 20 locations in three states.

Moore has served as the interim leader of the association since July 2006, when John McCarthy, IHRSA's first president and CEO, retired. IHRSA began a search for a replacement in 2005 and considered applicants from inside and outside of the fitness industry.

By the Numbers: IHRSA's Executive Search

Here is a numerical breakdown of IHRSA's more than year-long search for a new president:

  • About 300 candidates applied.
  • The executive search committee narrowed the list to 20 candidates.
  • IHRSA conducted in-person interviews with 15 candidates.
  • Eight candidates were selected for second interviews.
  • Five finalists were selected for the position.
  • Moore was offered the position.