Front-Line All Star: Andrew Lingelbach
“Andrew suffers from an eye cancer that took one eye at a young age and he is basically blind in the other,” said Mark Miller, the vice president of Merritt Clubs. “However, with the right tools, Andrew has been able to overcome this challenge and be a huge asset to our company.”
In his time with Merritt Clubs, Andrew has organized and grown participation in a 5K run for Make-A-Wish, completed the club’s leadership academy, and was recently named one of the “Top 20 Tigers in Their 20’s” by the Towson University Alumni Association.
“Andrew is selfless in his pursuit of helping others, always willing to lend a hand, actively involved in all our company events, and has never once used his disability as an excuse for not doing anything,” said Miller.
He’s been an inspiration to everyone around him with his attitude and determination. “Andrew shows everyone in this industry that limits are nothing more than what is in your mind, and you can overcome obstacles and have a huge impact on all,” said Miller. “I am so proud of Andrew — he has my loyalty and respect.”
Learn more about Andrew and his ability to overcome obstacles and encourage those around him:
Title: Fitness Engagement Team Leader
Club: Merritt Clubs – White Marsh
Years of Service at Merritt Clubs: 3.5 years
CS: What is the favorite aspect of your job? What do you love most?
AL: I love helping the members discover their new habit of going to the gym. I like encouraging them to see the gym not only as a physical endeavor, but an opportunity to relax, socialize and live.
CS: What’s kept you at Merritt Clubs all this time?
AL: Merritt Clubs has a company culture that encourages growth and development. Lots of trainers at other companies feel like a cog in the machine. I and so many other of our trainers feel like we steer the machine.
CS: What was your “aha” moment that made you realize you loved this job?
AL: I work with an older population, and the day my client thanked me for “making it easier to carry in his groceries” was that moment.
CS: How does Merritt Clubs make you feel valued as an employee?
AL: My input matters. I could pick up the phone and speak to the COO, he would listen to every word, and would push to implement it.
CS: Where do you get your work ethic? How do you keep a positive attitude?
AL: My work ethic comes from my history and my family. I’m a childhood cancer survivor, and for all intents and purposes, I shouldn’t be here. I want every moment I have on this earth to be one that mattered.
CS: What practices or techniques do you use to make strong connections with members? Do you have any tricks you use for remembering members’ names, or significant aspects of their lives?
AL: Ironically enough, I love nicknames. Nicknames that stem from some aspect of their lives. So every time I call someone by a nickname, what their name is and why I gave it to them floods back.
CS: What’s the most challenging aspect of your job, and how do you strive to overcome that challenge?
AL: It’s hard to please everyone every single time. I always simply do everything within my power to make them feel welcome.
CS: What best practice tips can you share that would be beneficial to professionals in a similar role at other clubs?
AL: One word: care. If it is authentic, you don’t need tricks and tips. Recognize everyone needs a pick-me-up, and try to be the person to give them that.
CS: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made, and what did you learn from it?
AL: I used to not share my personal life struggles with the rest of my coworkers. We are a family, and just like a real family, talking it out makes everything better. I didn’t want to bother them with it at first, but sharing with them made everything better.
CS: What’s one of the best ideas you’ve ever had that improved the member or customer experience?
AL: Costumes! I’m the costume guy around the club, so on big holidays, events, or just for the heck of it, I’ve developed a wardrobe to make the whole atmosphere more fun.
CS: What’s your funniest member story?
AL: It’s hard to top getting pied in the face with a whipped cream pie by my first client for a fundraiser.
CS: What’s the best gift from a member you’ve ever received?
AL: So it’s a little old fashioned and eccentric, but I’ve developed a hope chest for things I’ll need in a house one day. One of my long-time clients has gotten me a wisk, pizza cutter, measuring cups and blankets to all go into my future home I’m looking to buy this year. A case of Guinness beer is a close second. Guinness is my favorite!