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January 04, 2016
Five Questions: Henry Wallmeyer, President & CEO of National Club Association
What path did you take to get to the trade association for the private club industry?
Relatively soon after graduating from Villanova University, I started working on Capitol Hill for the National Republican Congressional Committee. From there, I went to the Club Managers Association of America where I had the opportunity to work in conjunction with the National Club Association (NCA) on legislative issues. I progressed through associations such as the International Parking Institute as Deputy Director and, most recently, as Vice President, Membership at the National Association of Manufacturers, one of the most influential trade associations in D.C. My various positions at associations have provided me with a deep background and understanding of association management, and with my legislative background and private club experience, the position of President & CEO at the National Club Association was a perfect fit.
What’s new at the National Club Association (aside from you)?
It’s like the adage, “what is old is new again.” For more than 50 years, we have worked to protect, defend and advance the interests and well-being of the private club industry. We continue to do that, but we have new challenges due to overreaching government regulations and legislation that negatively impacts private clubs. NCA is working with our many allies on these issues and thankfully we are seeing progress, but more needs to be done. We are forming new relationships with industry organizations and companies to help us in these efforts as well as growing our political action committee, ClubPAC, to change the perception of the private club industry.
What are the top three advocacy issues affecting the private club industry?
There are many issues affecting the private club industry, but the top three are the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Overtime Exemption, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The DOL’s new Overtime Exemption requirements will likely impact staffing levels and shifts for clubs and compensation packages for employees — especially if golf lesson income is not permitted to be included in an employee’s weekly salary.
The EPA’s WOTUS rule will cause nearly all water on a golf course to fall under federal jurisdiction. This means for the first time golf clubs will need to deal with the EPA permitting requirements before placing chemicals or fertilizers on its courses. It impacts the bottom line of every club and golf course owner while adding significant administrative responsibilities.
For almost six years, NCA has been working to limit the impact of the ACA on our members and the golf industry. Though we have had some tremendous success in the last six months — the passage of the PACE Act, the delay of the “Cadillac tax,” the medical device tax and the health insurance tax, and the extension of time to file the new ACA information returns with the IRS — there are still many more issues left to address.
What trends do you see influencing private clubs in 2016 and how will they affect the industry?
One of the top trends influencing clubs is the desire for healthy lifestyles. Private clubs are becoming a hub for physical fitness activities, as well as for healthy dining and wellness. We are seeing increased programming like racquet sports, new fitness facilities, pools and aquatic centers and golf training opportunities.
Family-centric focus and a more casual lifestyle are additional trends that have influenced private clubs. Today’s time-constrained families are finding wonderful opportunities at private clubs for spending quality time together in safe environments with a new mix of programming and facilities that provide recreational and social hubs for busy families that want to stay connected.
How can club leaders make their voices heard on industry issues?
Clubs must begin to make elected leaders more aware of our industry’s importance to our economy. The economic impact of the club industry is estimated to be $21 billion, employing 363,000 Americans and generating an estimated $150 million in charitable giving each year from golf tournaments alone. As we continue to work with our allies in the golf industry, which itself has nearly a $70 billion economic impact, club leaders are in a great position to be heard on the issues they care about most.
For NCA to be even more successful, we are working to get more clubs engaged. NCA provides club leaders with the skills to ensure policymakers understand who we are and what we do and, at the same time, NCA members support our advocacy work that helps keep the club industry growing. Together, we can ensure our voice is heard loud and clear on every issue impacting daily operations.
Henry Wallmeyer took over as President & CEO of NCA on October 1, 2015.