Brand endurance Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2010
Award Recipient
Marketing, Media and Entertainment

Little did World Triathlon Corp. CEO Benjamin C. Fertic know it at the time, but a chance meeting with Dr. James Gills during a World Ironman Championship race in Kona, Hawaii, would change his life forever.

Gills was the owner of World Triathlon Corp., which holds the Ironman trademark. Fertic developed a relationship with Gills and shortly thereafter began attending meetings of the corporation’s board of directors as an IT specialist. He turned down a job offer from WTC in 1998 but accepted a second offer, joining in 2000 as a vice president.

Fertic quickly saw that WTC was not on a path to reaching its potential, and quickly wrote a 14-page business plan outlining his vision for the company. The plan included the expansion of the Ironman brand into new races and a variety of women’s events and a variety of different royalty and licensing agreements. In 2003, with WTC coming off its worst financial year, Fertic shared his plan with the board of directors. Some directors were skeptical that the company could handle an expansion with waning revenue, but Fertic garnered enough support and was subsequently promoted to president.

Once in the president’s position, Fertic began to enact his plan, with tremendous results. The first Irongirl race was launched in 2004 and is now the largest women’s event series in the world with 25,000 participants. A series of half-size Ironman competitions began in 2005 under the Ironman 70.3 name. There are now 35 races under that brand.

Going forward, Fertic sees WTC’s biggest challenge as staying true to its message and resisting the urge to make decisions for short-term profitability. Victory to Fertic is not a revenue number but expanding the company and its mission of promoting health and fitness.

How to reach: World Triathlon Corp., (813) 868-5940 or www.ironman.com/corporate