Evan Zupancic, the COO and general manager of Stafford Hills Club.
Every month, Club Solutions sits down with an industry expert to share in their wealth of knowledge. In the January issue, the conversation features Evan Zupancic, the COO and general manager of Stafford Hills Club.
1. Prior to the fitness industry, you worked in real estate and finance. Do you ever miss your former career?
I developed many friendships in my former career and that business allows for a lot of flexibility and control over your workflow. But like all business, you get out what you put in. As many remember, it’s a volatile business and there is an abundance of competition. I can’t say I miss those parts of real estate and finance.
2. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in life?
Six months ago, I married my lovely wife, Vicki Brick (Zupancic). Leading up to our marriage, we had to date cross-country for 2.5 years. Taking flights every two weeks to see the woman you love was quite challenging. Like Tom Petty said, “The waiting … is the hardest part.”
3. How did you overcome that challenge?
I put a ring on it!
4. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I was able to compete at the collegiate level in football and baseball and was voted captain by my teammates for three of eight varsity seasons. That was a great honor to be recognized by my peers. I am pretty proud of the fact that in 2000 I was the NCAA “Champion in Passes Defended” as a defensive back.
5. What are you most excited about that’s going on at Stafford Hills Club?
We have an amazing leadership team that is driving a positive and supportive culture for our members. While our facility is beautiful and modern, it wouldn’t be anything without the people inside. Our principles and values help foster an environment where life-long relationships and friendships are made. It’s inspiring to hear the stories about how our club has changed lives and help our members achieve their goals.
6. In terms of industry trends, what are you currently paying attention to?
I’m really looking to the small group training market to make a big push. We recently implemented TRIBE Team Training and it’s been an incredible tool to drive results and excitement in that sector. Boutique markets are growing rapidly, and I think you will see more and more clubs adopting this concept inside their walls.
7. On a typical day, what do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love to stay active and do activities like golf, tennis, hiking, skiing — and just about anything that involves chasing a ball. A perfect day for me would be a round of golf in the morning followed by some wine tasting in the Oregon vineyards and dinner with my wife. Portland has an amazing food scene and we love finding new spots.
8. What book are you currently reading?
“Not Everyone Gets a Trophy” by Bruce Tulgan. This is a pretty insightful book on how to manage Millennials, which is ironic because technically, I am one. My REX Roundtable group — Young Guns — laughed at me when I told them I was reading this book.
9. When did you start to see yourself as successful?
It probably started when I was able to push through the down market in real estate back in 2010. Anyone can ride the highs of a market and have temporary success, but being successful in a tough market or recession is the true test. It’s made me stronger and I know I can accomplish my goals through hard work, determination and a little luck.
10. What’s your favorite aspect of working with family?
My parents have been incredibly supportive throughout my life. They must have attended hundreds, if not thousands, of games and gave me every resource to improve as an athlete. While they gave me freedom to choose my path, they always expressed the importance of education and to be a man of principle. They have worked for years to provide the best for my brother, sisters and extended family. I am grateful to be the COO of a great company and my help at Stafford Hills Club is just one way I feel I can repay the favor. It’s incredibly rewarding to feel I am helping them and establishing a family business that will be around for several generations.