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Billy Malkovich Appointed President of VillaSport

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Billy Malkovich

Billy Malkovich talks his return to the fitness industry, his new role at VillaSport, and more.

Billy Malkovich has been appointed president of VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa, which boasts seven clubs in Texas, Colorado, Oregon and California.

Malkovich left the fitness industry in 2014 after serving eight years as CEO and 17 overall at Mountainside Fitness. Here, he shares about his return to the fitness industry and plans for the future.

Tell me about your return to the fitness industry. How did it all come about?

It certainly wasn’t something I was looking for. I missed the industry, I missed the people, the energy. I missed being the best part of people’s days. There was a lot of stuff I missed about it, especially growing up in it — I started my first health club when I was 17. So I always had a lot of heart for the industry.

Syufy Enterprises, which is the parent company to VillaSport, reached out to me with an incredible opportunity. And they were a brand I was familiar with. I had a chance to spend a little bit of time at one of the VillaSport locations, was really impressed with the facility, the focus on family and community, and was just really impressed overall with the model. So when they reached out to me, they were one of the few fitness brands I felt like I identified with and really respected how they delivered fitness. So we just started having conversations, and the more I talked to that team and learned about the company’s plans coming out of COVID, I started getting more and more excited.

I’m really excited to be back in the industry and absolutely love the VillaSport brand and what they stand for.

What are you most excited about regarding VillaSports’ future?

I think the most immediate thing is still navigating COVID’s impact on the business. It’s going to be trying to thread the needle between surviving the present-day COVID environment and how each state seems to be approaching it differently from a mandate standpoint, but also having an eye to the future, right? Not getting bogged down in just trying to manage the most recent mandates or guidance coming from the state, but really figuring out, what’s the next step for future growth in a post-COVID world? So I’m excited not only to manage today, but really figure out what tomorrow looks like.

Looking at the data, members are returning at a pretty rapid pace. So that was a really encouraging sign, I think not just for VillaSport, but for the industry as a whole. And then it’s just a matter of expanding and growing the brand.

What do you think your experience outside the fitness industry will bring to your role at VillaSport?

After I left Mountainside, I stayed in multi-site, multi-state operations almost my entire career. I moved into the education space for awhile, and then have spent the past six years in the health care industry — specifically home and community based health care services, supporting about 4,000 patients across Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Texas and Oregon.

The comforting thing I’ve learned in my time away is that, at a certain level in an organization, each industry has nuances, but the mechanics of the roles are very similar. Whether it’s a general manager in the health club business, or a principal at a school, or an executive director in the healthcare space, you’re either supporting members, you’re supporting students, or you’re supporting patients. So a lot of the day-to-day mechanics feel very similar. But also, having grown up in fitness, I’m so appreciative of my time away from it, so that I could get a perspective in other industries. So I could experience the real estate industry, the higher education industry, and healthcare. And I think I come back to fitness with a much broader perspective on organizational structures, on leadership styles, on what motivates not only employees, but also customers and guests. I’m super thankful for being able to just broaden my skillset and horizon, and I hope I’m returning to fitness a better leader than I was 10 years ago.

What’s your plan for the next few months?

My plan for the first few months is to go on a on a learning and listening tour, and to spend as much time in the clubs as possible, getting to know the employees and the members and reintegrating myself into the industry. I think that’s the most important thing for me to do right now is just meet everybody. And listen and learn.

Connect with Billy Malkovich on LinkedIn.

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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