I've spent my entire career working with commercial exercise equipment. In high school and later while in college, I worked at several health clubs in Pittsburgh, PA in the late '70s and early '80s. Both of the clubs where I worked had circuits of Nautilus equipment, along with some basic free weight stations, and a couple of Lifecycles. Sound familiar?
At this time, three important aspects of my early career were converging. I was studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, while working at the clubs, and totally becoming obsessed with Nautilus equipment; both as a training tool, but also with the science behind the design. I became friendly with the local Nautilus Sales Rep and began to read everything that I could about Nautilus, Arthur Jones, Ellington Darden, etc...
About the time when I graduated college, I had the opportunity to attend one of the regional Nautilus seminars held in Cincinnati, Ohio where I met Gary Jones. Gary was running the Nautilus chrome plant in central Texas, and I was determined to get a job with Nautilus. Gary agreed to basically give me a "tryout" in the factory. So I drilled holes, bent steel, welded, and did some assembly. If he liked what he saw, and I was still interested, we would talk about a job. The week passed, we talked, and about three days later I was driving back to Texas to start my career as an engineer for Nautilus. I worked as a production engineer for the next 3+ years. My primary function was to troubleshoot and resolve any production related issues. I also was responsible for adapting the components of machines that were designed in Virginia so that they would be able to be chrome plated. I was privileged to work directly with Gary on a new line of equipment called Leverage, which later became Hammer strength equipment. Another highlight of my years in Texas was a trip to the Independence, Virginia Factory where I spent a week learning production on a much larger scale.
In late 1987 things were changing rapidly. Arthur Jones had sold the company to one of his distributors and another opportunity presented itself, so once again I found myself on the move. Nautilus offered me a commercial sales position in Upstate New York. I took that position and moved to Rochester, New York in February 1988. Working as the regional rep for the next three years, I was able to establish relationships with athletic directors, strength coaches, health club owners, and other fitness professionals.
After a few short years working with Nautilus as a sales rep, another opportunity presented itself. I called several of my customers, and asked one basic question. "If I start a service and repair company, would you hire me to provide maintenance for your Nautilus machines?" The response was overwhelming and I started Integrated Fitness Resources (IFR) in June 1991.
So, for the past 30+ years I have designed, repaired, reconditioned, low frictioned, bought, sold, traded, delivered, and moved Nautilus machines from every era. I look forward to hearing your story.
Please feel free to call me at 585 415-3234.