SNEWS Qs: SportsArt CEO says going green, functional fitness are the top trends

SNEWS chats with Scott Sechrest, new SportsArt CEO, about his thoughts on the industry and his plans for the company.
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Scott Sechrest said he's never worked a day in his life.

FitnessSNEWSQsScottSechrest

That’s what happens when you do what you love in an industry where you feel at home. He suspects his streak of happy employment will continue in his new role as CEO at SportsArt.

“I’ve grown up in the industry — beginning as a teen working in my local gym, competitive bodybuilding on to personal training, club management and then manufacturing,” Sechrest told SNEWS. “It’s a real gift to have your vocation and avocation so closely aligned.”

SNEWS recently chatted with Sechrest about his goals as the new SportsArt CEO, what he trends he’s seen evolve in recent years and how he’ll settle into life in Seattle.

How are you feeling after your recent appointment to SportsArt CEO? 
Energized! SportsArt is easily the most underrepresented brand in the industry. Great technologies, products and people.

What are you most looking forward to about being in this position? 
Rebuilding the brand, reinvigorating the culture and launching a ton of new and innovative products and programming solutions.

How has your past experience prepared you to take the helm at SportsArt? 
I’ve done every part of the role at some point along the way — entrepreneur, product development, business development, marketing and, of course, dealer and direct sales. This role simply allows me to combine those disciplines.

What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received? 
Hugh MacColl, then CEO of Bank of America always told me, “Be honest, humble and authentic,” and also: “A sense of humor goes a long way.”

What are your short-term goals in your new position? 
The initial foci are optimizing our distribution network, enhancing the new products and, of course, a healthy dose of marketing and [public relations].

What are your long-term goals? 
Today’s customers want partners not vendors. Our long-term outlook is to develop a sustainable winning culture that consistently offers the market innovative solutions. Not only new and unique products, but programming, financing, content and training/education.

Why is SportsArt the perfect home for you? 
SportsArt is large enough to have a footprint in the market along with great manufacturing scale, yet small enough to quickly recognize and react to markets trends. Paul Kuo, our founder, is an exceptional engineer with over 100 patents to his credit. He and I clicked from the first moment as we both have such a passion for product development.

What are some noteworthy trends in the fitness industry you're spotting? 
I continue to be amazed by the explosive growth of all things functional and small group — CrossFit in particular. I think the industry completely underestimated "the power of the tribe." Another undeniable trend is towards all things green.

How do you expect SportsArt will respond to those trends? 
SportsArt has already taken the lead with our Green System. Power is generated and fed back into the grid to offset other power consumption in the facility. The new products feature an integrated inverter that makes the entire set-up a breeze. Each pod can link up to 10 cardio units and provide up to 2,000 watt-hours back to the grid. It’s really cool. Relative to functional training — you’ll have to wait until IHRSA [2014].

So I understand that you’ve become an avid waterman living in Hermosa Beach, Calif. Will you be taking the paddleboards up north to Seattle?
Are you kidding me? Absolutely! Seattle is amazing for all things water-related. Shilshole Bay alone surrounds you with some of the best parts of Seattle — the mountains, beach, Puget Sound, sailboats and killer sea life. That said, I’ve already gotten the 411 that natives don’t carry an umbrella so I’ll be leaving that behind.

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