|The Journey on the Path of a lifetime”
Roger Wittenberns was born in Montreal Canada on Feb 18, 1956. His father, Peter was Dutch and his mother was Italian. They met in Davos, Switzerland and married shortly thereafter. They both had the same dream of moving to America only to find that their only option to America was more difficult than expected. However Canada was more to open to accept Dutch and Italian families attempting to relocate from the shambles so many European Countries were experiencing. They settled in Montreal, Canada. Their first and only son, Roger was born a Canadien citizen in 1956. Through Peter’s continued efforts to move his family were finally accomplish. They were finally American citizens. Throughout Rogers young years his father was determined to shape his sons clear understanding that anything is possible by staying focused on your goals and maintain the persistance nesesarry to accomplish his goals no matter how many times one has to get up, shake himself off and get back to the mission of accomplishing any goal. “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Setting goals and reaching them was a family tradition. And just as important is continuing to set higher goals and living on the track to accomplishing every goal.
Rogers lessons in life was that he needed to continuously set and accomplish new goals. had very little time for a lesson that he would use as a foundation to accomplish his goal of becoming American citizens was achieved through his sheer tenacity and accomplish his goal. move to America succeeded they became American citizens. Peters Wittenberns, finally granted status to move in Five years later his family again relocated to Fort Lee, New Jersey. The fact that Roger became comfortable with relocation was an important base to his future endeavors.
When Rogers father as a young man he began building a successful foundry in his home of Amsterdam Holland. In the mid 1940’s thousands of business were taken from their rightful owners by the Nazi War Machine. In his mid 20’s and had already experienced owning a business and loosing it. Peter took the loss as an opportunity to advance himself moving to the USA he sooner than later. began managing rental buildings and housing complexes. He kept on moving to larger and larger condominium buildings. Later in years he was offered another opportunity to move to Boca Raton Florida. He worked as the President of the south Florida building managers association until he was 70 years old. Unfortunately after retiring he was diagnosed with cancer only to pass at 72. Rogers father lived to see Rogers success in business. Of his many life lessons the last everlasting rule of life was that you must work as hard and smart as you can while. You must also enjoy your family and reap the rewards and try exercising life, something that is rare to many successful business people.
Roger graduated Fort Lee High School and he, as many young men came face to face with choosing to either continue his education or taking the option of beginning his life by joining the work force. He stayed in Fort Lee, NJ to start on his decision to begin working on his career. Roger made his first life altering decision. Roger undeniable had the youthful exuberance needed to start earning a living in a variety of businesses. At this time he felt attracted to the booming fitness industry. Looking back he is not sure if the incentive was “fear of failure” or a strong desire to prove he could successful. Rogers first 18 years would lead to understanding the discipline and work ethic that would be at the fore front of his business and social career.
From the day Roger first decided to take the more difficult path and apply to an advertisement at a Jack Lallanes Health Spa in Fort Lee. Roger sought to fill a position in the company as a lifeguard. Roger applied for the job 5 days in a row until he was hired. Within the first year as a life guard the pool area looked directly at the Gym. Roger continued to ask to be placed in the sales training program. When finally being accepted to the companies sales force he began as a fitness training consultant. The reasoning was simple. You cannot sell what you don’t know. Finally, after months of training to become a membership sales person he was put on the walk-in and info call rotation while. He was constantly reminded that anyone he was introduced to was going to walk out of the sales offices a winner. The idea was to sell the customer a membership and both he, you and the company would be winners. If they did not join there was 3 losers. The customer for failing of being motivated to join and start getting healthy, the company which had invested in the prospect lead and the then you. It was imperative to schedule the caller to come tour the club same day or next day. Same day shows most likely to join. 2nd day they already slept on the thought of usually the money value or the laziness factor and was a 50/50 desire to join. An appointment more than 2 days have already decided not to join and continue procrastinate and not show. Miss a call, miss a pitch means you are scrutinized to see if you should be given another up.
Roger was truly dedicated that he usually worked full 12 hours a day several days a week.
Rogers lifetime career goal was that there are not any valid reason a membership consultant had to close 100% of every lead or walk in. If a consultant is unable to close deals all eyes are on you. Especially the new recruits in training to take your job !!
This was a time that Roger became aggressive in not only closing everyone he spoke with but now was directly competing with his fellow sales team. A battle that cannot be lost. Roger proved worthy and not only maintaining 95+ closing ratio in any club they transferred him to but he began focusing on historical sales records and focused on breaking those records. He was on top of the world. No excuses. He understood and played by the Jack Lallanes rules. He had decided that the booming fitness industry would create a career for years to come.
The general manager invited him to attend a weekly team meeting. Looking back what made his decision was when the manager said “I can higher you now or in 4 years from now for the same position and same pay structure. Regardless of a 4 year college education Jack Lallanes company had their own training program which offered immediate financial incentives for those that were able to follow specific corporate sales training infrastructures. Roger start on his club industry career in 1974 and would never looked back.
Roger was more interested in starting his life career in sales and management with a company with 40+ locations and growing company and industry. He notice that the sales and management personnel were all extremely exited with their positions, company and future opportunities. Roger enjoying his new found career began looking at the top and figuring how he would rise to the top. He devoured books that had to do with sales and motivational speaking.
As a few years went by and with Roger excelling in membership sales and club management in several New York / New Jersey Area Jack Lallanes locations contacted by a recruiting consultant of a competing chain of Health Clubs, European Health Spas. European Health Spas, was a national chain of 150 + locations giving Roger the opportunity to move from city to cities nationwide. Augusta, Georgia, Charleston South Carolina, Ohio,and Texas tom mention a few. Roger quickly the sales training he had received was priceless. Upon realizing the tools Roger had acquired were priceless.
Within a few years with European Health Spas with a Divisional Supervisor the obvious next step in the industry was to figure out how to think big and build his own club. This became the biggest challenge ever because he was never involved in building a club. After all, How hard can it be !! So, to be big in this industry you have to “ think big “. While to date he had broken sales records in nearly every JackLallanes and European Health Spas. How hard could it be !! ( famous last words :) Roger began meeting with shopping center developers and much to his amazement Rogers Real Estate Broker’s had offers. The cookie cutter deals. Roger,s Real Estate Broker’s presented landlords with “cookie cutter offers.” The deal was incredibly strong but to Rogers amazement the developers were also exited to watch how Roger and his team bring thousand of members to their centers benefiting by offering other tenants draw from more traffic in the centers. So, they offer was One Year Free Rent, 2nd year Half Rent, Turnkey buildout, no personal guarantees would and in some cases developers threw in equipment package at their expense.
So, in comes a franchise broker to help sell a franchise including all the landlord developers offers for $35,000 franchise fee the company grew exponentially. Simple offer,
From his base of 40 locations in Houston Texas Roger sought to Franchise his clubs not only in Texas but nationwide.
Realizing there were no “franchised health clubs, only licensed clubs”. The huge path Roger found himself on a quest a structured franchise chain of clubs began from the birth of not only 40 Texas Lady Spas but, with a name change to Lady of America he was ready, willing and able to create a chain of 1300 locations in 9 countries servicing over 1.5 million members, all on an electronic billing system.
Roger had his fair share of unsuccessfully franchised clubs but he also created a resell program allowing clubs to remain just with a new owner operator.
However Rogers ultimate success was when he was approached by a large Hedge Fund that would allow Roger to sell the company, keep a percentage of the stock and enter in an arena that was remarkable. He had met his goal. Which was to retire at 50 and spend his time doing a thing called a life !
With two beautiful daughters and gorgeous wife inside and out Roger felt that his goal that had worked Roger building his company
INXS”, SPONSORED BY LADY OF AMERICA FRANCHISE CORP IS A 47 FT APACHE V-BOTTOM RACE BOAT THAT WON THE WORLD OFFSHORE CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1993. INXS IS EQUIPT WITH (3) 1200 HP ENGINES AND TOPPED 118 MPH. 3600 HP !!
INXS IS SEEN HERE RACING A SISTER 47 FT APACHE OWNED BY “ LITTLE CEASERS PIZZA”.
BOTH “INXS” and “LITTLE CEASERS PIZZA” HAVE RETIRED FROM THE RACE CIRCUIT AND ARE USED AS PLEASURE BOATS IN LOCAL SOUTH FLORIDA WATERS.
ROGER WITTENBERNS OWNED AND OPERATED THE 3 THROTTLES AND 3 DRIVES OF INXS WHILE PATTY MCQUIGGIN WAS THE DESIGNATED DRIVER.
TODAY RACE BOATS ARE TOPPING 200 MPH PLUS WITH TURBINE ENGINES.
Copyright © by Roger Wittenberns a Health club developer, franchise entrepreneur experiance All Right Reserved.
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