For some people, work is far more than just a nine-to-five shift spent in a cubicle. Those of us who have combined passion with livelihood are lucky enough to be able to express ourselves through day-to-day work. As the saying goes: “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.”
Shane Adams exemplifies this perfectly as the managing partner and CEO of the North Texas region of Orangetheory® Fitness. Mr. Adams, a lifelong entrepreneur and athlete, has been driven by a desire for his own business and a love for physical fitness.
Mr. Adams became involved with Orangetheory in 2013, after two of his colleagues, James and Cathy Webb, expressed an interest in opening a fitness franchise in the Frisco area. Mr. Adams credits them for finding their perfect candidate in Orangetheory Fitness, doing what he calls the initial leg work.
When Mr. Adams began looking for a job change in late 2012, he quickly found a new place on the team the Webbs were building. “I immediately saw the opportunity to be involved with something I could be passionate about,” he shares.
At the beginning, Mr. Adams spent his days in the fitness studio, primarily interacting with customers, helping them make strides in their workout routines and celebrating their successes. As time passed and the company grew, he found himself focusing more on his duties as a CEO. His growing team was able to handle customers while he handled the workplace.
Like a mirror image of his work with customers, Mr. Adams’ priorities shifted towards making Orangetheory the best environment for his employees. Drawing on his personal experience in the workforce, he set out to build a welcoming, open workplace. “My professional experiences gave me an understanding about the importance of people, leadership, hard work and attention to detail,” he says.
Mr. Adams credits this understanding from mentors and personal experience he obtained during his youth and early career. Born in Rochester, N.Y., Mr. Adams’ mother worked in human resources, while his father worked in construction. He recalls his parents’ lessons on dedication and commitment fondly, often hearing from them that if he wanted something, he would need to “work hard … really hard” for it. “I will always be thankful to my parents for instilling in me the things I needed to be successful in life,” Mr. Adams says.
As a child, Mr. Adams recalls feeling inspired by professions he thought of as “selfless,” like firefighting, police work or being in the armed forces. “I am not sure how I made that connection,” he says. “I think maybe I was just jealous of the cool gadgets they got to use every day!”
That connection never faded. As Mr. Adams grew, he found himself appreciating these qualities more, especially after his older brother joined the Marine Corps in 1991. “I always have, and still do, hold the deepest amount of respect and admiration for my brother and the things he has done in life,” Mr. Adams shares.
Coinciding with his brother’s enlistment, Mr. Adams’ mother was transferred to another branch of her company in 1991, this one located in Plano. Mr. Adams attended and graduated high school in the Plano ISD before enrolling at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. During his time at Texas Tech, Mr. Adams’ mother received a transfer back to Rochester. Mr. Adams opted to stay and finish out his degree in Texas. By 2000, he quickly found work as a graphic designer and, with his degree in hand, moved to Frisco with his now-wife, Amy.
However, in late 2001, Mr. Adams was laid off from his graphic design position, and was unable to find work in the industry quickly enough to make payments on his newly-purchased home. Looking for a quick re-entry to the workforce, Mr. Adams set his sights on construction. His father and grandfather worked in construction while he grew up, giving him a familiarity with the industry.
Mr. Adams began working with a residential builder and spent the next few years learning to navigate the business. Over his 12 years in the construction industry, Mr. Adams was promoted to operations management in both residential and commercial construction sectors. He credits his time in the construction industry for an important lesson: the value of great employees and a strong, open company culture. His work taught him to understand how to place people in positions that suited them and the company, and how to “lead from the front,” by treating all his employees with respect and dignity, regardless of their position.
“Over the course of my professional career, I have had the opportunity to be part of many different professional environments,” Mr. Adams says. “Some were good, some were not so good. But, I always remembered the things that made me feel valued as an employee.”
His experiences in the construction industry taught him much, but his entrepreneurial streak had him growing restless. After 12 years in construction, Mr. Adams began to look for new employment.
Not long into his search, Mr. Webb, a friend and mentor of more than 16 years, approached him with a concept for a franchised fitness studio: Orangetheory Fitness. Having learned from Mr. Webb how to build an organization filled with great people, Mr. Adams jumped at the chance to open his own business. “I tell people all the time, I have never worked harder since starting this business, but I have never been happier, either!” Mr. Adams says.
Mr. Adams used the lessons he learned in the construction industry, cultivating a company culture within Orangetheory that celebrates passion, hard work and attention to detail. He strived to provide customers with a sense of community when they stepped through the door, and to foster employees with a passion to help others. “As cheesy as it sounds, I wanted to be part of something where I felt I was making a difference,” he says.
Now, six years later, Mr. Adams’ duties as a CEO have grown enormously. With three studios and the corporate headquarters within city limits, he does not find much time to hang out in the studio anymore. He finds himself excited about the opportunity for expansion and development in the rapidly-growing city of Frisco. “The potential for success for small businesses in Frisco is immense!” he says.
Outside of his work life, Mr. Adams’ two children, Kayla and Chase, attend Frisco schools and are heavily-involved in sports. He and his wife of 17 years are currently building their third home in Frisco. He is most excited about Frisco’s overflowing opportunities for education for his children. “I feel my children will be afforded opportunities they most likely would not if we lived in other areas of North Texas,” Mr. Adams shares.
Satisfied with his work and hungry for more, Mr. Adams feels proud of the direction both his life and Orangetheory are heading. “Having a successful business and being able to provide for my family will always be important,” he says. “But, when all is said and done, I am thankful to be in a position to leave the world just a little better than the way I found it!”
Bailey Herring is a writer, dog-lover and student at the University of North Texas.