Business awards win for personal trainer seeking to set new industry benchmarks

Published in the August 2016 issue

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David Hoffmann with his business awards.

David Hoffmann with his business awards.

David’s Health and Lifestyle Studios at Goonellabah, owned by Southern Cross University sport and exercise science student David Hoffmann, has taken out Business of the Year at the 2016 Lismore Business Excellence Awards.

“I was really happy when we won the Health and Fitness category earlier in the night, given we were up against larger gymnasiums in the area,” David said of the event on July 30.

“But when we picked up the overall Business of the Year award that just floored me. It’s easy to do what you do when you love what you do, and I love what I do.”

David dedicated the win to his five staff members.

“For me, it was great acknowledgment of my team. It’s a tough job in terms of the hours, with early morning starts and late nights. I’ve set high standards. I do ask a lot of them but they’re meeting that well and truly for me, which is good.”

The former Australian Army infantryman re-trained as a personal trainer 16 years ago after acquiring a workplace hearing impairment during active service.

“I lost about 40 per cent of my hearing,” said David.

“I have to wear hearing aids all the time and I have a hearing impaired phone. The lectures and facilities at SCU are great for someone with a hearing impairment. The University has been really accommodating with providing the services I need.”

While David maintains his mandatory fitness industry qualifications, he is studying the Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science degree, part-time at the Lismore campus, to expand his knowledge and learn new skills.

“We work with people who are legally blind, have mental health issues, right through to serious physical impairments, like cerebral palsy. I’ve built a reputation through word-of-mouth. We work one-on-one in really small groups and build trust and confidence.

“A lot of doctors and physiotherapists and a brain injury clinic refer people with special needs to us. When it comes to my clients, I bounce ideas off my lecturers and use the library resources to access research papers. It’s fantastic,” said David, who started the degree in 2013.

David has set himself the goal of lifting standards in the fitness industry.

“There’s a lot of talk about having a different selling point in your business. I disagree. In my acceptance speech I said, ‘You don’t have to be different, you just have to be the best’.

“A lack of a code of ethics means people are setting up personal training businesses with no qualifications. Instead of complaining, I’ve decided to change the industry from the inside out and set new benchmarks. I’d like the industry to revise its standard based on us.

“That’s our biggest goal in the next couple of years, to raise that benchmark and give people the best service,” David said.

Southern Cross University is a sponsor of the Lismore Business Excellence Awards.

The University, through the School of Business and Tourism, also sponsors the Business Excellence Awards Tweed Shire (BEATS) Awards held on the same night (July 30).

The BEATS Awards event is organised by Natascha Wernick, liaison officer at the Murwillumbah District Business Chamber who is studying a Graduate Certificate in International Tourism and Hotel Management at the University’s Gold Coast campus.

Natascha said Dr Peter Wynn Moylan was her lecturer in the unit Event Design Principles in 2013 when she founded the BEATS Awards.

“It was through his guidance and his assignment task that I created the very professional and successful event that the BEATS Awards now is.

“With a budget of $120,000, 70-plus sponsors, more than 50 entries and a formal gala event with more than 220 guests, the BEATS Awards is now the most prestigious business event in the Tweed shire calendar year,” she said.

Two academics from the School of Business and Tourism were on the judging panel that assessed entries across more than a dozen categories.

The School has been a major sponsor of BEATS for the past four years and offers the major prize for the Excellence in Professional Service category: a free unit of study in the MBA program. The winner this year was Southern Cross Credit Union.

At the Coffs Harbour business awards, known as the Sunny’s, on August 6, the Solitary Islands Aquarium, part of the University’s National Marine Science Centre, was a finalist for the fourth year running in the Leisure and Entertainment category. The Novotel Coffs Harbour Pacific Bay Resort was named the category winner.

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