Keith Albright and Mike Uretz received World Gym International's top awards at its franchisee convention in September at The Mirage in Las Vegas.
Albright received the World Gym Visionary Award posthumously for his years of work expanding the World Gym franchisee program. The former vice president of development died in 2014. Albright's lifelong friend, Jack Temple, accepted the award on Albright's behalf and shared memories of him.
Uretz, World Gym's former CEO and president, received the Joe Gold Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented annually to the individual who best exemplifies the principles on which Gold built World Gym.
"I told a guy the other day that I bleed World Gym blood, and that's the truth," Uretz said in his acceptance speech, which can be watched at the bottom of this page. "I'm touched. I'm thrilled. Thank you so much."
Uretz was the fourth recipient of the award. Previous recipients were Jim Brown (2014), Lou Ferrigno (2013) and Ric Drasin (2012).
Uretz worked out in Gold's original gym as a member and gave Gold legal advice during his workouts. The two became friends, and Gold later asked Uretz to leave his law practice and help grow World Gym.
Gold, who previously had founded Gold's Gym, was Club Industry's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient in 2004. Gold died before he could receive the award, and Uretz accepted the award on his behalf at the Club Industry Show in Chicago that October.
“Mike Uretz forever changed World Gym and the industry," World Gym International Chair Joyce J. Cammilleri said in a statement. "Without Mike’s vision, leadership and larger-than-life personality, World Gym might have stayed just a single gym on the beach. Thanks to him, World Gym is in 20 countries and territories around the globe with even more in the works."
Also at the convention, Wes Hodgson, Mike Nysten and Lee Roberts were re-elected to World Gym's Franchise Advisory Committe. New committee members elected were David Stempler, John Caraccio, Michael Sanciprian, Joe Talmadge and Greg Tayman.
Matt Wold of Mishawaka, Indiana, and Angie Sloan of Barrie, Ontario, Canada, were the first-ever winners of the World Gym Ambassador Search. The two will represent World Gym in a series of instructional videos and select marquee events.
Other World Gym award winners at the convention were:
- Best PR Campaign: World Gym Southside of Australia.
- Best Social Media Marketing Campaign: Asa Norte, Brazil.
- Best Overall Marketing: Saudi Arabia.
- Best Rebranding Under 10,000 Square Feet: Phoenix, New York.
- Best Rebranding - USA: Tracy, California.
- Best Rebranding - International: Tijuana, Mexico.
- Best Gym Design and Branding in the USA: Eastlake, California.
- Most Improved Gym: Penrith, Australia.
- Best New Gym - USA: Texas City, Texas.
- Best New Gym - Australia: Burleigh, Australia.
- Best New Gym - International: Gongguan, Taiwan.
- Best American Gym: Victorville, California.
- Best Australian Gym: Rockhampton, Queensland.
- Best Canadian Gym: St. Catherines, Ontario.
- Best Taiwanese Gym: Linkou.
- Fastest-Growing Country: Canada.
- Most Inspiratonal Member: Natalie Ruggeri.
- Vendor of the Year: X-Treme World Sport.
- Franchisee of the Year: The Talmadge family.