Brian Mohr: Changing Lives at D1 Columbus

Author: D1 Training

Brian Mohr: Changing Lives at D1 Columbus


We recently spoke with Brian Mohr, Vice President of Operations and General Manager of D1 Columbus.

Tell us a little about yourself. What did you do before joining D1?

I grew up in Florida and played baseball in high school and college, and was with the Orioles organization for a year and a half. After my time in professional baseball, I moved to Columbus to work in the restaurant industry for ten years.

What prompted your interest in D1 Sports Training?

I tore my labrum and ended up at D1 Columbus for my physical therapy, and eventually I started doing some baseball lessons there on the weekend.  I got to know the GM at the time, and decided to take a leap of faith and pursue a part-time position.

In the restaurant business the primary goal was how many mouths you could feed, and I wanted more. I was making really good money and took a 75% pay cut to come to D1, but I had to take the leap. I wanted to help people, to provide an avenue for them to reach their goals. I wanted to do something that I could really be proud of at the end of the day.

What different roles have you played within the organization, and how have those experiences prepared you for owning a D1?

I took the part-time job with D1 in July of 2011, and after two months I became the interim General Manager. Four months later I became the Area Director overseeing Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit and Green Bay. Two years later I moved to corporate headquarters in Nashville to consult as a National Director of Training and Development.  I had the opportunity to open up sixteen D1 locations and train the GMs and staff in that role, which was a great experience. This past February we moved back up to Columbus, and I took over as VP of Operations/General Manager of the D1 Columbus location.

In each of my roles at D1 I have been able to build many different relationships around the country. This has helped me to see the good and the bad- to learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others. After putting together the operations manual and fine-tuning how we do things, then coming back as a partner and owner, I have an advantage because I already know the training inside and out – now I am simply implementing it. It’s become much more of a clear picture for my staff. Before they didn’t really know the end goal, and now I can cast a vision and show them a clear path for how to get there.

What makes D1 in your market different than anyone can experience in another gym?

There is nowhere in Central Ohio that has a facility of the caliber that we have, and none that provides the product and proven results that we have over the last five years. Thanks to the incredible efforts of our head strength coach we have produced over 65 Division 1 athletes, and we have eight to ten more that have signed this year out of high school. We have a proven track record of taking kids to the next level.

What have you enjoyed the most about being a D1 franchisee/operator?

I love to create stories and change lives. It’s the kids that aren’t the most athletic, the kids who are being bullied, who aren’t part of the “in” crowd that have a huge impact on me. We welcome them, work with them, and change their outlook on life. I get to meet with the parents and see them sitting in my office in tears because of the positive changes in their child’s life from coming to D1. As a business partner those are the wins for me.  It’s great that we have so many Division 1 athletes, but every single person here is important. You never know what’s going on in their lives outside of these four walls. Our staff tries to produce the best hour of their day when they walk in these doors. That’s what matters most.

In all of our facilities, we have the twelve character words on the wallsRespect, Honor, Dedication, Fearless, Confidence, Responsibility, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Discipline, Accountability, Determination, and Selfless. What do those words represent to you?

For me, that is what’s most important – changing a person’s life off the field. We try to instill the deeper meaning of each word into someone’s life.  Those words are the motivation that pushes them to the next level. Those character words drive everything we do here.

What have you done to grow awareness for the D1 brand in your market?

We recently partnered with a foundation to provide scholarships for underprivileged athletes. This has helped us to not only support these incredible athletes, but to build awareness and get involved in the community. During Christmas we do a big pancake breakfast to support Toys for Tots. We don’t just focus on selling memberships, but on creating a great environment for the whole community to come together with friends.

Some people think that membership dues are the only way that facilities make money. What other things have you done to grow top line?

We offer combine and NFL pro training, sponsorships, team training and personal training. We make sure to get our coaches involved and utilize their abilities.  If you can focus on building bigger ticket items and ancillary revenue streams, you have an ability to make a much larger impact.

What advice would you offer up for someone considering opening their very own D1 facility?

1) Location is everything.

2) You can’t be a silent partner. Focus on actively growing your business, not just waiting for it to grow.