"Elevating Facilities. Enriching Programs. Empowering Leaders." That phrase is at the heart of what Athletic Business strives to do — our mission. Next month, Nov. 7-10, professionals from all corners of the athletics, fitness and recreation industries will unite in New Orleans, La., to bring those values to life at the 37th annual AB Show. Whether you hope to improve yourself as a professional, give your programs a boost or build a facility to be proud of, AB Show is a must-attend event for anyone seeking to get ahead of the competition. Here's what AB Show attendees can look forward to:

Pre-conference tours/workshops
AB Show is packed with action, with a full slate of events that take place before the Expo floor even opens.

 

Those with a facility project in their future will find plenty of ideas to take home at AB Show's pre-conference facility tours. The first tour will be on campus at Louisiana State University, where attendees will get a chance to tour the newly constructed LSU Gymnastics Training Facility, University Recreation Center (UREC) and the UREC Field Complex. UREC was named a 2018 Facilities of Merit® Award Winner, see page 42. The second tour will feature two stops: the recently expanded JCC New Orleans Uptown and the Ochsner Fitness Center, Harahan. Each tour allows attendees the opportunity to hear from the people who operate and maintain these facilities. It's a great chance to generate new ideas, whether you're in the market for design inspiration or programming advice.

AB Show's pre-conference workshops offer attendees practical guidance for managing athletics, fitness or recreation businesses. This year's workshops include sessions on how to provide inspiring leadership, imagine the future of recreation facilities, assess and manage an organization's financial health, and improve time-management skills.

Finally, first-time attendees can educate themselves on all things AB Show by checking out the First-Timers' Reception, where AB Show staff will be on hand to answer questions in a fun, relaxing environment.

TWO Keynotes
The keynote address at AB Show is always an inspirational highlight. This year, attendees can enjoy twice the insight from two industry thought-leaders.

Randy Hetrick, founder and CEO of functional training pioneer TRX, will deliver a keynote address offering business leadership lessons he learned during his time as a Navy SEAL. Attendees of Hetrick's speech, Lessons of a Frogman, will laugh, learn and be inspired by one of the most successful figures in the fitness industry.

The following day, author, marketer and entrepreneur Ryan Holiday will present a keynote speech on how an ancient principle has affected the success stories of icons throughout history. Focused on his bestselling book The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Act of Turning Trials into Triumph, Holiday's talk will highlight how determination to see opportunity instead of obstacles can lead to success.

Attendees of AB Show's keynote addresses will come away armed with new strategies and ways of thinking that will positively impact their careers and their organizations.

New and returning events
New this year at AB Show is the IHRSA Women's Leadership Summit. Open to facilities eligible for IHRSA membership, the half-day event will gather women from around the health club industry for networking activities, panel discussions and a keynote presentation.

As the preferred industry event for military members, AB Show is proud to welcome military attendees to the AB Military Reception. Free for registered military attendees, the reception is a chance for personnel from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines to network and kick off their AB Show experience with AB Show staff and sponsors.

AB Show 2018 marks the return of the popular AB Golf Classic, hosted at TPC Louisiana. Bring your clubs for a day of camaraderie, conversation and competition with other AB Show attendees, exhibitors and staff on one of the finest courses in the region.

Industry-leading event
Regardless of your professional goals, AB Show's top-flight educational seminars, bustling trade show floor and unique networking events combine for a one-of-a-kind experience that's unrivaled in the industry.

With more than 125 sessions spanning 11 unique tracks, AB Show's seminars offer something for everyone in any athletics, fitness or recreation environment. AB Show's talented speakers serve up fresh content that is relevant to the challenges — both big and small — that the industry faces today. Whether you're looking for practical advice on how to get your facility approved and built, or seeking to juice engagement on your business's social media channels, AB Show's seminars can help.

In addition to the classroom, attendees get access to the massive AB Show Expo, where more than 250 of the industry's leading equipment and service providers will show off their latest products and solutions. But it's much more than that. The Innovation Station returns this year, offering attendees short, 30-minute educational presentations right on the show floor. If you've got your eye on new fitness equipment, you can test it out for yourself during the Early Morning Workout. And of course, the famous free-throw contest allows attendees a chance to compete for fun prizes. The AB Show Expo can be your window to discovering just the thing you need to give your facility a jumpstart, but it's worth seeing just for the chance to experience the latest and greatest in all kinds of equipment and technology. (Pro tip: Stick around Friday afternoon for a Happy Hour on the show floor!)

Finally, AB Show provides a number of networking events where you'll have the opportunity to interact with peers from around the industry and across the country.

Thursday's Welcome Reception is open to full-conference attendees who can participate in an evening of music, dancing and New Orleans-inspired food and beverages. And on Friday night, full-conference attendees are welcome to attend the Facilities of Merit® Reception, where the designers and operators behind this year's award-winning facility projects will be recognized.

Now in its 37th year, AB Show is designed to drive the industry forward. AB Show can help elevate your facility to the next level with new equipment and stunning design, enrich your programs with cutting-edge ideas, and empower your professional life, giving you the tools, strategies and connections you need to tackle your next career move. You won't want to miss out on AB Show 2018. There's still time to learn more and register. Head to www.abshow.com. We'll see you in New Orleans.


This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Elevate, enrich, empower: How AB Show drives the industry forward." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.

 

Jason Scott is Online Managing Editor of Athletic Business.