The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) gave awards to three individuals and one vendor at its conference and trade show last week in Los Angeles.
On Thursday, IHRSA presented Trina Gray, owner of Bay Athletic Club, Alpena, MI, with its Outstanding Community Service Award. The award is given to individuals or groups who have a longstanding commitment to making a difference in their community. Bay Athletic Club works with children, a women’s shelter and a local assisted living center. Gray works with the club’s six-week Corporate Fitness Challenge. The success of the program extends beyond the club’s community, as Gray has shared it with clubs from as far away as Singapore and Sweden.
“We are amazed by the tremendous impact that the Bay Athletic Club has had in a community that is unhealthy and struggling financially,” Joe Moore, IHRSA’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Based on the local and statewide recognition Trina and the Bay Athletic Club have received, she has proven to be an inspiration to many people in her community and well beyond. And with this award, she now becomes an inspiration to other IHRSA members.”
Also on Thursday, John Doyle, founder and owner of The Belmont Athletic Club, Long Beach, CA, received the Dale S. Dibble Distinguished Service Award. This award is given to individuals within IHRSA who have excelled in their contributions to IHRSA and the industry.
Doyle was a founding member of the IHRSA board of directors in 1981. He has consistently supported IHRSA during his more than 30 years as a member, donating to public policy efforts, participating in programs and personally attending or sending staff to every IHRSA convention, according to IHRSA. Doyle has taken an active role in IHRSA initiatives, most recently signing on to offer free health clubs memberships to military family members as part of the IHRSA Joining Forces Network.
“When I started in the club business and got involved in IHRSA, Dale Dibble was the guiding light on how to be successful in our industry,” Doyle said in a statement from IHRSA. “I feel very honored and humbled to receive the award named after this most distinguished gentleman. The information from and interaction with people like Dale, who belong to and have been a part of IHRSA, has been the backbone of our Belmont Athletic Club operations. Almost every change, large or small, that we have made to the club has come from ideas we have learned through IHRSA for these last 30-plus years.”
Polar Electro Oy, which owns Polar USA, Lake Success, NY, received the Associate Member of the Year award on the same day. Polar Electro received the award because of its membership loyalty, its commitment to advertising and sponsorship, and for being an exhibitor at IHRSA for 18 years. Polar Electro OY invented the first wireless heart rate monitor in 1977.
On Friday, Linda Mitchell, director of marketing and public relations at Newtown Athletic Club, Newtown, PA, received the Julie Main Woman Leader Scholarship. The Julie Main Woman Leader Scholarship is given to a woman who shows courage, perseverance, excellence and professionalism and who contributes to the industry and her community.
A 30-year employee of the Newtown Athletic Club, Mitchell has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to the club, her community and the industry, according to IHRSA. Each year, she oversees the distribution of more than $1 million worth of charitable donations to ensure that the donations are spread across a balanced cross section of organizations. In addition, Mitchell has helped Newtown successfully deal with not-for-profit competitors, and she has intricately woven the club into the community’s infrastructure.
Mitchell also has served her industry by mentoring many young leaders both locally through Newtown and nationally through IHRSA. She has been featured as a speaker at IHRSA, Club Industry and MACMA specializing in community outreach and customer service.
“To walk in Julie’s shadow for only a moment is the biggest honor I have ever received or will receive,” Mitchell said as she accepted the award.
Main was co-owner of West Coast Athletic Clubs, Santa Barbara, CA. She was active in IHRSA and developed the Cancer Well-Fit Program, an exercise program for health clubs to offer people dealing with cancer. Main died of cancer in May 2009.
“I am thrilled to recognize this year’s award recipients for their outstanding innovation, commitment, and service to their communities, their customers and of course, to the betterment of the health and fitness industry,” Moore said. “Each of these IHRSA members embodies the dedication it takes to truly make a difference in our world. On behalf of IHRSA and the industry, I sincerely thank them for their outreach efforts and their support.”