Introducing our General Manager: Steven Davies

24 August 2016

Tell us a little of your background. What is your experience of the leisure industry?

I was sports mad growing up and was lucky to go to Bedford Modern School where the opportunities were great for sport. Squash, cricket and football were my main three but by default I played a lot of rugby at BMS, I was just not the right build or quick enough to make my mark in that sport!

I went onto university to study Sports Science and Management at Hull and from there it was a natural progression into the leisure industry. The first company I joined was superb for training and looking after its staff and I progressed to management roles pretty quickly. I have subsequently had 13 years’ experience managing a variety of Health clubs, including dual site and cluster roles.

What attracted you to the position of GM at Towers Health & Racquets club?

This role was just perfect for me. Throughout my professional career I have worked at clubs that were purely fitness based which I have loved but I am also a keen squash player and an active level 3 England Squash coach so the chance to combine my knowledge of both the fitness sector and racquets industry in one job was too good to miss. I am also Bedfordshire born and bred and passionate about creating opportunities for people to get fit and play racquets sports in the county. Hopefully, in time the club will help improve the standard of tennis and squash in Bedfordshire – I would find that immensely satisfying. Finally, I have learnt a lot working for a large multi-national company but the chance to work for an independent club and the additional freedom (and challenges no doubt!) that this brings is hugely appealing.

When recruiting your staff, what will you be looking for?

The attitude and personalities of the staff will have a major impact on the member experience and the environment in the new club. The facilities and equipment will be first class and it is now down to me and the staff to do it justice with the service we offer. It is vital therefore, that the team reflect the kind of friendly, inviting members’ club that we are focused on creating here at Club Towers. Clearly, we want to, and will, employ staff with good knowledge and experience in their respective fields but personality and charisma is just as important to me. Starting from fresh we have a unique opportunity to build the right team for the club and that is why we have started the recruitment process very early on.

So far all the signs are good and I am really excited to see the team starting to come together.

How good is your squash and tennis?

Well as I mentioned earlier squash is definitely my number 1 sport. I play to county standard and have been County Champion six times (hopefully, that can be 7 soon with the tournament happening at the end of this month!). I have played since I was 4 years old and it was my dad that got me playing at such a young age. Young kids love the freedom of hitting balls around on a squash court and whilst the sport suffers from a lack of publicity in the main stream media, I would really encourage all parents to let their little ones give the sport a go.

Tennis is a slightly different kettle of fish. I play on and off socially, having been introduced to the sport (again by my Dad!) when we were on family holidays, and I have always followed the sport closely on TV. I have played a couple of times recently and really enjoyed it and had some encouraging words from those I was on court with. I am not sure if they were just being kind but I am sure I will be spotted on the courts a fair bit from now on. I will be happy to accept challenge matches from members who want to find out how good I really am! I think the second serve will need a bit of work for sure so I will be tapping up our coaches as soon as we employ them!

What is your favourite food?

This feels like a loaded question! Clearly we are planning to run a bar & café area, with a strong healthy feel to it but I have to admit my diet is not the best! I love Thai and Italian food but will generally eat anything going.

What do you like to do when not working?

When I am not at work or playing sport it has to be family time now. I am a proud dad of a three year old and a 4 month old so it is a busy time at home. I never imagined I could be bossed around quite so much by a three year old but she is at a really fun age for sure. I have actually just spent the weekend at Peppa Pig world – much more exhausting than a game of squash! My wife cannot wait for the club to open and make use of the crèche and actually be able to attend some exercise classes again.

And finally…. who has been your biggest influence?

This one is tough! I have been lucky to have had some really good people supporting me in both my professional and personal life so it is hard to single anyone out. When I look back it is incredible how much my parents supported me in my sporting career; they literally used to ferry me around from event to event up and down the country all the time. As a coach myself now, I never underestimate the role parents play! In my professional life again there have been many influences but my very first manager I think played a huge role in my success in the company. A great start for employees is really important and I always remember being impressed by his attention to detail and care and pride over the smallest of things. You soon realised why he did this – the members cared about the small details too. I like to think that has stayed with me.