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Talking Disruptive Fitness with a Past ABC Attendee

Aaron Roppolo | Fitness Center Coordinator, Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood, Colo.
Aaron Roppolo | Fitness Center Coordinator, Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood, Colo.

Every year, attendees from a variety of backgrounds come to the Athletic Business Conference & Expo — all driven by different motivations that inform each unique experience. We're catching up with attendees to see what they've taken home from ABC.

What brought him to ABC last year. We're developing a new fitness and recreation facility. I'd been involved in the design of a facility before, but there's always more to learn. I went with the intention of dotting my i's, crossing my t's, not making mistakes during the design process. We're breaking ground in January 2016 with an expected completion of January 2017.

The session that resonated with him the most. Ted Vickey's session on disruptive technology and where things are going. I thought Ted was a very energizing speaker, brought a lot of vision and got many people paying attention to something perhaps they weren't before.

Armed for action. I already had an eye to utilizing some sort of onsite wellness assessment technology at our facility. As a community college, we're not always the most forward-thinking group. Going to Ted's session gave me a lot more leverage to have that conversation: "Fitbits are taking over. We need to be paying attention and meeting the needs of our people."

Experiences on the trade show floor. The trade show was incredibly useful in enabling me to go around and cherry-pick exactly what I was looking for. I found people were very friendly and very helpful. For instance, I've been working with the administration here in regards to our front-desk management software. They're convinced that if something is on the cloud, it's going to violate FERPA, the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act, and that's not the case. I was able to bring back info from about five different management-software vendors, and say, "Hey, they basically laughed at me."

ABC as a motivator for career change. It opened my eyes to the fact that the industry is growing and changing, and I'm now looking into how I can have a bigger impact on a larger scale. I found the inspiration to say, "I can go out on my own. I can make something happen." My ultimate goal is to make a dramatic impact on the way Americans approach healthful habits."

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Show and Tell"

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