This Lifestyle Family Fitness veteran brings a youthful perspective to the IHRSA board.
This month, CBI is pleased to introduce Ervin Zubic, a new member of the IHRSA board of directors, who’s served as the executive vice president of operations for lifestyle Family Fitness (LFF), a St. Petersburg, Florida–based chain. (LFF was recently acquired by LA Fitness, an Irvine, California–based firm.) Other new members of the board include Mark Stevens, the regional manager of the Houstonian Club and Spa, in Houston (see “Board Profiles,” August CBI, pg. 99), and Molly Kemmer, a general manager at the Colorado Center for health and Wellness, in Denver.
For many fitness professionals, working in the health and fitness club industry has seemed a natural fit from the very start. Such was the case for Ervin Zubic, 31, who became acquainted with the business in 1998 as a membership consultant for the iconic Gold’s Gym brand.
It didn’t take long for him to realize that he’d discovered much more than a promising career path—he’d found his passion. “Being part of an industry that’s focused on creating communities and helping people improve their health and overall well-being is pretty easy to get excited about,” he tells CBI.
The following year, he joined LFF, the dynamic chain that was founded in 1982 by Geoffrey Dyer, a former president of IHRSA. Zubic was named manager of the company’s new Clearwater, Florida, location, and presided over the club’s grand opening. Within a short period of time, he earned a rapid series of promotions: to district manager, to vice president of operations, and, finally, to executive vice president of operations.
Over the past five years, he’s directed LFF’s acquisition of two club companies, involving five clubs in Florida and 10 in Ohio; developed a successful sales training model; and extended the LFF brand into North Carolina, overseeing the opening of six facilities there.
“Over the years, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that there’s no substitute for hiring the right people for the right job,” he reflects. “You can’t correct enough for placing someone in the wrong position. And it will take more time to undo the damage that they’ll leave behind than would have been required to locate the right person in the first place.”
At the time of its sale to LA Fitness, LFF had a total of 33 sites.
Zubic doesn’t intend to assume a position with the new owner, preferring to explore other career possibilities. “Right now,” he explains, “I’m helping to finalize the transition, and then, over the next few months, I’ll decide what I’d like to do next.”
A member of IHRSA since 2000, Zubic is now eager to add his skills to those of the talented professionals already sitting on the board. “I think my operating experience will bring value to the pool of education and business acumen they possess,” he says. “All of us are committed to the industry’s ongoing growth.”
Zubic has several goals he intends to pursue during his term on the board, but his principal objective is
to enhance IHRSA’s status as “a global leader and primary advocate of wellness, health, and an active lifestyle.” Beyond that, he explains, “I’d like
to be involved in shaping personal training standards, and in promoting tax incentives for individuals leading healthy and active lifestyles.”
As IHRSA’s youngest board member, he brings a unique perspective to the proceedings. “I’d like to help motivate members of younger generations to make fitness an integral part of their lifestyle,” he says. It’s a goal he’s already had some success with. At LFF, Zubic launched an anti-obesity initiative that resulted in the donation of more than 11,000 memberships for teens.
“It’s essential that we engage young people, and make effective use of technology to promote the social aspect of fitness,” he insists. “Because 85% of Americans don’t go to a health club, the challenge is to fit the ‘club’ into their lifestyles—even if it means working outside of the traditional club environment.”