[by Cynthia Canada, Freelance Writer]
The Jewish Community Center welcomed Thomas Wissinger as its new senior director of membership and wellness on May 6. Wissinger is employed by WTS International, the fitness management consulting firm that manages the JCC’s membership and wellness departments, and is assigned to Louisville’s JCC.
A native of western Pennsylvania and a graduate of Slippery Rock University, Wissinger is happy to be in Louisville and looking forward to getting to know the area.
Wissinger’s professional background is in event and facility management, making the Louisville JCC role a great “next step” in his career.
A few years after graduating with a B.S. in sports management, he was offered the opportunity to work in Qatar, as an event coordinator for the Asian Games Organizing Committee. In 2010, the committee invited him to return to Qatar, and he spent a year as the Senior Manager for Venue Operations and Logistics for both the 2011 Asian Cup and the 2011 Arab Games. He found life in the Middle East exciting and enjoyed his experiences immensely.
When not working abroad, Wissinger has spent the bulk of his career in the greater Washington, D.C., area, working in the areas of wellness and fitness for municipal recreation facilities. He’s developed programs and events, managed a staff and a budget, and – a major catalyst for a big move – dealt with D.C. traffic over an extended period. He says escaping the “Beltway tangle” was a prime motive for seeking to live elsewhere.
When WTS offered him a position in Louisville, it seemed like a great place to land. Although he’s lived in the Middle East, Wissinger says his stateside experience is limited to western PA and suburban D.C., and he wanted to see more of his country. Louisville is perfectly located to bring together influences from many regions, being on the border between the North and the South, as well as the East and Midwest, and we have a tremendous range of things to do and sights to see within easy reach of the Metro area. Wissinger says it was the perfect opportunity to get better acquainted with a big chunk of the U.S., all in one place.
So what does Wissinger like to do, when he’s not planning and managing fitness activities, events, and facilities? Well, he’s a big basketball fan, and he loves to play. He also enjoys being outdoors, hiking, kayaking, and just soaking up nature, among other activities. Both basketball and outdoor opportunities made Louisville very attractive.
Wissinger is excited about being in Louisville, and he’s excited about stepping into the role of membership director at the JCC. He says one of his goals is to build fitness and wellness opportunities and events at the JCC so members can’t stop talking about how great it is; he’d like for the community to be excited enough to bring in others. As Tom says, “Our members are family,” and he wants members to help him grow the family with their enthusiasm about what’s going on at the JCC.
Wissinger is in his office at the JCC Monday through Friday, “A little earlier than most people,” he says. He usually arrives between 7 and 7:30 a.m., and he’s here all day most days. He invites people to stop by and say hello, introduce themselves and get acquainted. And maybe, if there’s time, shoot a few hoops!