VIPs of the Tennis Industry: Our Serve
I just spent a very enjoyable and informative weekend with a group that may well be one of the most important in this industry. No, I wasn’t with any of the pro players at season-ending tournaments, nor was I with all the organizational bigwigs attending the successful Davis Cup final in Oregon.
I was in Austin, Texas, with the American Sports Builders Association. These are the people who build, surface and maintain the courts that we all need to sustain our livelihoods. If it weren’t for the court builders, it’s fair to say there would be little to no tennis in the U.S.
Every year, ASBA members get together in early December for their Technical Meeting and Trade Show — a time for presentations and seminars on everything from asphalt mix and vapor emissions to negotiating contracts and writing proposals. It’s also a time to network with manufacturers and peers, to share ideas and experiences. Some of the most informative sessions are the “problem-solving roundtables,” in which a room full of court contractors and manufacturers share construction problems and solutions in a relaxed, unstructured manner.
This meeting was bittersweet in at least one respect. Longtime ASBA executive Carol Hogan is retiring in 2008, after 20 years at the administrative helm of the organization. Under Carol’s guidance and organizational expertise, the ASBA has more than doubled its size. But even more important, under her tenure the group has become a much more influential voice within the industry itself, creating partnerships with key organizations such as the USTA and TIA. RSI, too, is a partner with the ASBA in the Facility Awards program, which honors the best in court construction.
As always, though, there still is more work that needs to be done, and the association management company that will take over for Carol will have some very big shoes to fill.
The bottom line, though, is that the ASBA and its members are a valuable group in this industry. If you’re a court builder and are not a part of the ASBA (www.sportsbuilders.org), you should be.
These are, indeed, very important people.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.