Club Fit Staff Spotlight: Clint Hodder, Director of Maintenance & Special Projects
By Lisa Olney
March Madness came early to the Hudson Valley as Mother Nature rained four nor’easters upon the Hudson Valley, backing up Punxsutawney Phil’s unpopular prediction of six more weeks of winter. Winter storm Riley hit the area on Friday, March 2, leaving communities from Briarcliff to Jefferson Valley without power – some for over eight days, including Club Fit Jefferson Valley. Club Fit’s Director of Maintenance and Special Projects, Clint Hodder, and his crew sprang into action assessing damage at both Clubs. Club Fit Jefferson Valley was forced to close while Clint tracked down an industrial strength generator in Connecticut, and his crew worked tirelessly to restore the club to functionality for its members. Down the Taconic, however, Club Fit Briarcliff seemingly dodged a weather bullet, remaining fully operational for members of both clubs – that is until 9:30 p.m., the next night.
On Saturday, Club Fit Briarcliff closed at 9:00 p.m., and the maintenance team – a few men down due to cleanup and repair efforts at Jefferson Valley – began their overnight shifts, readying the Club for the following day. At 9:30 p.m., one of the crew was grooming the courts in the tennis bubble when he heard a loud pop and the ominous sound of a steady rip followed by the sudden listing of the bubble due to a pressure imbalance. As it turned out, Club Fit Briarcliff did sustain a hit from the relentless 60-plus mph wind gusts, and the bubble absorbed a 60-foot tear when an anchor bolt gave way, cutting through the bubble.
Club Fit’s tennis bubbles are nearly indestructible, so the issue was not of the bubble collapsing, but of the growing pressure imbalance within and the still gusting winds which could topple the unbalanced bubble, taking out the fences and damaging the exterior of the Club. Clint, however, had a contingency plan in place, and the call was instantly and decisively made to take the bubble down and wait out the raging winds. The only X factor was time. Nor’easter #2 was due to arrive on Wednesday, promising over a foot of snow.
After the weather stabilized on Sunday, Clint’s hardworking team once again rose to the challenge, surpassing expectations by having the bubble repaired, restored, and cleaned with one court playable by Tuesday evening and the remaining six courts ready for play the following morning. This huge project with an extremely quick timeline included two men heat welding the tear while five others held the material in place, cleaning and drying the bubble and the fixtures within, resurfacing the courts, and checking the electrical and HVAC systems. The dedication and work ethic of Club Fit’s maintenance team is nothing new, but never had it been more on display then during this mad month of March.
“Never doubt the power to accomplish monstrous tasks when a thoughtful, committed group of people work together,” said Club Fit Tennis Director Rodrigo Schtscherbyna. “Getting our bubble fixed and all courts ready for play only a few days after the storm is a major accomplishment, and all parts of our Maintenance Team should be commended for it.”
21 years ago, when Club Fit first decided to install tennis bubbles, David Swope, the Club’s co-founder, did his research and hired Clint, who was an expert and respected professional in tennis court construction and bubble installation, to manage Club Fit’s tennis bubble project. Clint also had a background in exercise physiology, and while living in the City, he worked as a fitness director, helped with the building of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club, and ran his own tennis bubble business. It wasn’t long before David and co-founder Beth Beck brought Clint on board as their full-time special projects manager.
“David and Beth gave me the freedom to learn and grow on my own,” Clint recalls of entering the area of health club maintenance and construction. “It wasn’t my field, so I was self-taught, I watched, learned, paid attention, did my own homework. And, I adapted it to this industry.”
David Swope and Beth Beck had an uncanny knack for finding employees who combined specialized expertise with tremendous growth potential. “Our members, particularly tennis players, probably don’t know how lucky they are to have Clint working on our courts and bubbles. He’s one of the most knowledgeable people in the country with regard to tennis court maintenance and bubble procedures,” says Club Fit President Bill Beck. “When other businesses in this industry need help, they are often directed to Clint for troubleshooting by the manufacturers and suppliers, themselves,” explains Bill. “Clint does a great job.”
So, when you are heading to Club Fit for your next tennis clinic or workout rest assured that Clint Hodder and the Club Fit maintenance crew are always hard at work, doing their part to make your Club Fit experience the best it can be.