Rainer Martens hosted the first formal conference for sports psychologists in 1973.
From that meeting, he published the papers from the conference, which represented the first collection of papers on the subject of sports psychology. Martens saw the opportunity to fill an emerging niche market and turn his passion for disseminating sports science information into Human Kinetics. The company now publishes 200 new titles annually.
As a member of the academic community, Martens' focus is on his publications' content and its contributions to the sports science field. His vision to acquire and distribute the best content and knowledge through any appropriate medium, combined with his eagerness to explore innovative technology, is evident by a 1987 memo predicting the company's need to adapt to future marketplace conditions driven by electronic and online formats.
Martens has created and fostered a family environment at Human Kinetics. He believes in creating opportunities for employees, including instances of promoting administrative assistants to professional roles. His commitment to fitness shows through the on-site fitness center, tennis and basketball courts, health education programs and an incentive program for fitness participation that includes cash rewards.
During the past decade, Martens has researched several means to transfer control of his company. After considering them all, he decided to reward his loyal employees by selecting an employee stock ownership plan, choosing this path to preserve the integrity and culture of the business.