Industry mourns Steve Tharrett, co-founder of Club Intel
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Industry mourns Steve Tharrett, co-founder of Club Intel

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The global fitness industry has been shocked and saddened by the death of Steve Tharrett, co-founder of industry insight firm, ClubIntel, on 22 December.

Tharrett built a powerful reputation as an industry researcher, analyst, writer and commentator, speaking regularly at conferences and more recently on Zoom seminars, sharing his expertise and insight.

In addition to developing and producing a wide range of industry insight reports, examining areas such as the development of the boutique fitness market, Tharrett, a prolific author, 'wrote the book' on the fitness industry through his lifetime of research and textbook production.

ClubIntel stepped up during the pandemic, designing, coordinating and producing research to guide operators by giving insight into consumer responses to the crisis and likely behaviours on reopening, including The fitness fndustry’s response to COVID-19: insights into the collective improvisation, innovation and resilience of global fitness operators and What members say matters when it comes to getting them back.

Tharrett was well known for prefacing his work with proverbs, searching for appropriate ones to use for each occasion and his LinkedIn memorial post includes an appropriately chosen proverb: "Love is the greatest link that we have with those who have temporarily left us." Lao Tzu

ClubIntel, which he founded with Mark Williamson, offered a wide range of services, such as gym member and employee insight and focus groups, brand health studies, business concept studies and change management consulting. They also specialised in consumer attitude and behaviour studies.

A regular contributor to HCM magazine, Tharrett was generous with his time and energies.

Editor, Liz Terry, said: "Steve was such a joy and a delight to work with – a wonderful collaborator who was engaging, kind and thoughtful in his communications, his passing deprives the industry of a highly valued friend, champion and mentor who made a transformational contribution to the success of the sector.

"Steve really helped put the fitness on the map, providing the context needed to professionalise the sector and raise its profile with investors.

"But fundamentally his mission was to make the world a better place and so his work helped people working in the industry to be better and to build more successful careers and businesses, to spread the benefits of health and wellbeing as widely as possible. A huge gift.

"He leaves a wonderful legacy in his vast and meaningful body of work which will continue to do good in the years to come."

Among Tharrett's many credits are texts which form the basis for industry training, including: Fitness Management, 3rd edition (soon to be published in Russian); The Ultimate Handbook of Member Retention: Why People Join, Leave and Stay with Health/Fitness Clubs; 101 Programming Strategies for Engaging Members in Health/Fitness Clubs; 101 Strategies for Improving Member Retention in Health/Fitness Clubs; The Health/Fitness Operator’s Guide to Recruiting and Retaining Great Employees; ACE’s Fitness and Business Forms Handbook; Legends of the Trade: A History of the Artisans, Influencers and Innovators of Fitness.

Tharrett was also the co-editor of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions of ACSM’s Health and Fitness Facility Standards and Guidelines.

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The global fitness industry has been shocked and saddened by the death of Steve Tharrett, co- founder of industry insight firm, ClubIntel, on 22 December.
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