What does your organisation stand for? Ray Algar asks Joe Cirulli, owner of the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center in Florida

A smiling Joe Cirulli, Founder and CEO, Gainesville Health and Fitness Centres

Ray Algar asks Joe Cirulli, Founder of the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center, Florida six questions that define the essence of his multiple award-winning organisation.

What does your organisation stand for?

The core purpose of our company is ‘To create a fitness experience that helps people get the most out of life.’ What we mean by that is that we will work to make each and every visit as memorable as we possibly can. We work to create an environment that will make people want to return on a regular basis. We know we can’t help members get results if they don’t show up.

We stand for the following values:

Integrity. We define integrity as always doing the right thing even when no one is looking. We do not lie, steal, or cheat. As Mark Twain said, ‘When in doubt, tell the truth.’

Hardworking. We give 100% effort to everything we do and we work until the job gets done. The mental fortitude required in the high intensity workout interview sets the tone for our company. We want people whose nature is to work hard.

Extraordinary commitment to helping people. We offer a consistent level of service that far exceeds the ordinary. We actively search for ways to anticipate and accommodate the needs and wants of our fellow employees, customers, and community.

We live everything. It doesn’t mean we don’t mess up every once in a while, but we will correct a problem as fast as it arrives.

Creators of our own future. Our greatest power is the freedom to choose; we decide what we do, what we think and where we go. No one can take this power away from us; it is ours alone. We can do what we want to do; we can be who we want to be. We develop our own future by applying persistence to the possibilities. Our future is all around us. If we seek, we will find it. If the door is closed, we must knock and keeping knocking until it opens. We never give up. Winston Churchill was once asked how history would remember him. He replied, “History will be kind for I intend to write it.”

What single word (s) or attribute describes the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center?

Get members results.

What is your business mission?

Our mission was to make Gainesville the healthiest community in America. It was a 3.5 year project and we accomplished it in 2003. We then changed our mission to keeping Gainesville the healthiest community in America.

In what ways is the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center unique?

Our goal is to help people who are not in shape, who believe that a fitness center is not their kind of place and change their perception. Everything about us is designed to make the fitness center a comfortable place for a novice to be as well as convenient. We continually work to remove every barrier possible that could keep a person from joining.

If the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center closed today, how would it be missed?

From what I have seen and members I have talked to (and understanding I have had members with me for 34 years as well as their children and their parents) they look at the club as an integral part of their life. We have always worked to be the third place, well before Starbucks promoted it. My goal from the beginning was to create a facility similar to a country club built around fitness and affordable to the average person. We have never stopped upgrading and adding on to our centers for 30 years. We started with a staff of 3 and today have 385 employees. And we still have the original 3. I have many on my staff who have been with us 10 to 30 years.

Describe how you wish to be remembered. What will your legacy be?

I hope that people will talk about how we started a company from nothing and through its growth impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. And I don’t mean just the members lives but anyone who was connected to our company. Over the last thirty years we have had thousands of employees. Our goal with our employees is to create such a unique learning and caring environment that it will be a point of reference for them for their entire work life. We want them to say that the greatest work experience they have ever had was at the Gainesville Health and Fitness Center. And through their experience they will create that same feeling to our members. And ultimately create great work environments with whatever company they ultimately end up with.