Meet our Speakers
ONLINE SUMMIT: Sept. 27-29
Founder | CrossFit New England, CompTrain & Business of Excellence
Ben Bergeron trains some of the world’s fittest athletes. A former Ironman competitor, triathlete and CrossFit Games competitor, he has coached athletes to six world championships. As coach to the reigning Fittest Man and Fittest Woman on Earth, Ben is considered one of the top coaches in the sport of CrossFit.
Ben’s approach to creating the world’s fittest athletes starts with building better people. It’s the inescapable truth behind every champion, regardless of sport or discipline—better people make better athletes. Mental toughness is the hallmark of all Ben’s athletes, and the secret behind their success.
Despite what we’re led to believe, greatness is not for the elite few. The mindset of a champion is uncommonly rare, but it doesn’t have to be—every one of us is capable of it. Ben has dedicated his life to helping others become the best version of themselves. He founded CrossFit New England in 2009, where he coaches regular people on their quest to improve their fitness, health, and approach to life beyond the gym. He currently programs for thousands of competitive athletes on both CompTrain and CompTrain Masters, and shares best practices for affiliate owners and coaches through Business of Excellence.
Founder | Freestyle Connection
Carl was born in the United States and grew up in Spain where his passion for physical activity led him to delve into action sports such as snowboarding, skiing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and karate. It was his love for gymnastics that shaped his discipline for hard work, determination, and his professional career. Carl became an elite gymnast in Spain where he trained and competed on the national circuit for more than fifteen years. Throughout his gymnastics career he received numerous accolades, including a National Gold Medal for Vault. Carl also studied environmental science at Universidad Miguel Hernandez and specialized in genetic engineering and coral reef ecology.
After university, Carl returned to the U.S. to pursue a career in marine biology. Even though Carl found work that related to his studies, his mind never strayed far from his love of sport and fitness. He reentered the world of gymnastics in 2004 in San Francisco, where he lives and works as a strength and conditioning coach for his own practice in collaboration with San Francisco CrossFit and AcroSports.
In 2010 Carl launched GymnasticsWOD.com, currently the largest online resource for gymnastics movement training and conditioning for CrossFit coaches and athletes. He has coached thousands of athletes around the world through the GymnasticsWOD website and by way of his Freestyle Connection seminars. In 2011 Carl was part of the coaching team for Annie Thorisdottir, who went on to become the first two-time winner of the CrossFit Games in 2011 and 2012. In July of 2014 Carl published his first book, FREESTYLE, which went on to become a New York Times Best Seller in the Sports Category.
Founder | B3 Gym, Co-Founder | Eat the 80
Chris Marhefka is the Founder of B3 Gym and Co-Founder of Eat the 80, a healthy meal delivery service in Gainesville, FL. He is also a Business coach with 321Go, Authentic Leadership Speaker, Host of the Attain Anything Podcast, and the host of the award-winning, national cable TV show “Altar’d”.
Chris currently lives in Gainesville, FL with his wife, Carlee and two dogs, Buddy and Kona. He enjoys spending time outdoors, is a recreational pilot, amateur chef, adventure seeker, CrossFit Athlete and an Ironman Triathlete. His vision is to help a million people become the happiest, healthiest, and wealthiest versions of themselves!
Founder | Icon Athlete & CrossFit Park City
Growing up as wrestling and competing at the Division 1 level, being one of the few athletes to have attended 7 CrossFit Games as an individual, and a career in coaching and programming for over a decade he is a true ambassador for Fitness.
He lives in Park City, Utah with his wife, 2 kids, and their dogs Oakley and Avalanche.You can frequently find him on the slopes and single track in Park City putting his fitness to use.
Founder | CrossFit Invictus
C.J. Martin is a Level 2 CrossFit instructor, USAW Club Coach and former member of the CrossFit HQ training team. C.J. began coaching because he passionately believes in the life-changing benefits of functional fitness.His goal as a fitness coach is to inspire individuals to make long-term lifestyle changes, and he has found that CrossFit’s scalable intensity and commitment to functional movement makes it the perfect program for individuals of all ages and abilities.
C.J. believes that the psychology of sport and fitness training plays a vital role in the success of any program. He fosters a positive training environment to help clients overcome self-doubt or perceived limitations to achieve their full potential.
C.J. also specializes in helping athletes prepare for the CrossFit Games, coaching both teams and individuals at Invictus as well as athletes across the United States and United Kingdom through online coaching and program design.
C.J. enjoyed five years as a successful litigator at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP before dedicating his full attention to helping others achieve their fitness goals. His practice focused on securities fraud and complex commercial litigation.
He is also co-founder of Kids Helping Kids, a non-profit organization that has raised nearly $4 million for neo-natal intensive care and pediatric units throughout Oregon, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors of San Diego Youth Services.
Founder | Rigquipment
Clay Ferrer is the founder of Rigquipment Finance, a nationwide small business lender focused exclusively on the fitness industry. Since launching in late 2013, Clay and the team at Rigquipment have interacted with over 1,200 existing or prospective gym owners and have deployed $10 million of capital to help nearly 300 small business owners open or expand their facilities. At Rigquipment, everything from application through funding and collections is done in-house, creating the foundation for long term partnerships and providing unique insight into the affiliate gym and boutique fitness business model.
Prior to making the entrepreneurial jump, Clay graduated from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce and spent five years working at Milestone Advisors, an investment bank focused on advising specialty lending businesses and middle market financial services companies. During his five years at Milestone, Clay participated in completed capital raising and M&A transactions totaling more than $600 million of deal value and comprising over $45 billion of underlying assets, including his role as project manager for the sale of ~$200 million of single family residential mortgage assets on behalf of the FDIC. At the end of 2012, Milestone was acquired by Houlihan Lokey, a leading global investment banking and restructuring firm, where Clay continued with the group until resigning to start Rigquipment Finance.
Clay is also a CF-L2 Trainer, USAW-L1 Coach, and has been part of the coaching staff at Ballston CrossFit in Arlington, Virginia for the last five years. This experience laid the foundation for Rigquipment Finance and Clay’s desire to help strengthen and expand the broader community.
Founder | 321GoProject
Clay has over 24 years of brand design and marketing experience working in both corporate and startups. Having the opportunity to build a business from the ground up is a dream come true. Being able to do what you love is something to hold dear. Clay doesn’t take for granted the privilege and responsibility to provide the best services, support, and help for gyms. Behind any successful business there needs to be a creative, technical “geek,” and Clay is that guy.
Clay loves learning about new digital marketing/design trends, anything Apple, mountain biking, snowboarding, and of course, CrossFit. He has his CrossFit Level 1 Certification. Clay is married to his beautiful, bad-ass wife, Julie, and has four incredible kiddos.
Founder | CrossFit Apogee, 321Go Business Coach
Don and his wife, Tracy are the founders of CrossFit Apogee in Riverview, Florida. He is a retired Air Force officer with 23 years of service who found CrossFit in Iraq and was overwhelmed with a desire to share the methodology and community with anyone and everyone. Following his retirement, Don started his affiliate out of his garage and has never looked back.
Along his CrossFit journey, Don has developed a deep passion for helping other gym owners succeed and thrive, while avoiding the standard pitfalls and mistakes that are so common when opening a business. “Taking care of one another is the best part of this community, from fellow athlete to fellow business owner. Anything is possible with the help of others.”
In his free time, Don devotes himself to spending time with his wife and kids.
Sports, high performance and technology executive
S. Hoby Darling is a leading sports, high performance and technology executive who has spent much of his career working with leading brands, such as Nike, Converse and Skullcandy, to unlock full potential in athletes, creatives, and teams. Hoby has led teams and coaches working with Olympians, NBA and NFL athletes, special forces operators, action sports professionals, World Record setters and in partnerships with leading companies such as Red Bull, Apple, and Microsoft to help push sports, wellness and overall human capabilities.
Currently Hoby is the Founder and President of Logi High Performance, the sports and high performance arm of Logitech. Prior to that, Hoby was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Skullcandy, Inc., which includes the Skullcandy and Astro Gaming Brands, until leading the sale of the company in late 2016. While at Skullcandy, Inc., he helped focus the company on innovation for both its music and gaming divisions, including founding The Sports & Human Potential Lab with a mission to use music to unlock human potential, which partnered with professional, college and Olympic athletes, as well as Special Operations members, and leading universities. Prior to joining Skullcandy, Hoby served as Global General Manager of Nike+ Sport with responsibility for Nike’s digital sport platform including digital innovation for footwear, apparel, hardgoods and software applications with special initiatives around pressure sensing footwear worn by the United States Gold Medal basketball team in the Olympics, a training “simulation” with Microsoft using the Kinect sensor, one of the earliest and best-selling athletic “smart” watches, and reaching tens of millions of athletes through Nike’s leading applications such as Nike+ Running, Nike+ Basketball, Nike Training Club, and Nike+ Fitness. During his tenure with Nike, he was also a member of the Nike Affiliates Global Leadership team. Prior to Nike, Hoby served as Senior Vice President, among other senior leadership positions, at Volcom, a leading action sports performance brand, from its initial public offering through its sale to PPR (Kering) to join the Gucci, Yves St. Laurent and Puma, among others, portfolio of leading global brands.
Hoby has been a contributor to media such as Fortune, CNBC, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Bloomberg, MTV, Thrive Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal on topics around sports, technology, high performance, business, workplace culture and innovation. Hoby earned graduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University in New York, and Northwestern University in Chicago, and an undergraduate degree from Western Washington University. He serves on the boards and in advisory capacities to Athletigen Sports Genetics, HALO Neuroscience, Ragnar Relays, Playground Ventures (Andy Rubin), The US Ski and Snowboard Team Branding Committee, PowerDot, Special Operations Warrior Outdoor Leadership Fund (WOLF), FITLAB Ventures, and The Thin Air Innovation Festival.
He is a passionate lifelong athlete and follower of creative culture. He began his love of high performance as a personal trainer and college athlete. He is also a certified CrossFit coach, and has competed in many road and trail marathons, ultramarathons, triathlons (including Ironman), obstacle races, military experiences (including Kokoro Hell Week) and mountain races. Each year he enjoys a crucible event to push his mind and body.
Founder | OPEX Fitness (Formerly OPT)
James thrust onto the functional fitness scene with his CrossFit.com moniker “OPT” and his 2007 CrossFit Games victory. But, at heart, James is a coach of coaches and athletes within Functional Fitness.
James is the founder of OPEX Fitness (Formerly OPT). His 20+ years of experience as a strength and technician coach mixed with his tireless practice on refining energy system training and nutritional and lifestyle balancing techniques has afforded OPEX the distinction of working directly with over 2,000 coaches through their Coaching Education Program (CCP). Along with coaching education, James and OPEX work with over 600 remote coaching clients and are building a global fitness facility licensing program. James’s and OPEX’s style is summed up as one idea: A individual coach/client relationship in a team environment
James found a passion to teach coaches fitness through consultation, assessment, program design, nutrition, lifestyle, research and more. When he’s not coaching, James loves to spend time with his family, and he loves to explore fitness in and out of the gym.
Founder | CrossFit Burke, 321Go Business Coach
Jamie owns and leads CrossFit Burke in Fairfax County Virginia. Jamie was introduced to CrossFit in 2006 while training with as a 2nd Lt. at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. The training efficacy and results convinced him to train the platoon he commanded in the CrossFit methodology. In January 2008, Jamie received his Level 1 certification from Greg Glassman and Dave Castro. Jamie’s next duty station was informative to his future career as a CrossFit gym owner. He developed and trained Marines and civilians during the noon CrossFit class he started. This experience allowed him to train athletes of all ability levels while maintaining fun, challenging environment for all. Jamie left the Marine Corps in 2011 and started his journey as a CrossFit coach and personal trainer. Jamie opened CrossFit Burke in December 2013.
As a business coach, Jamie embraces the story and challenges every gym owner faces. Jamie believes identifying best systems, strategies, and being brilliant at the basics are what makes gyms thrive. “Empathetic leadership is the most powerful and effective way to inspire your staff to live your vision.”
In Jamie’s free time he roots for his alma mater, The Ohio State University, and enjoys hanging out with his wife, Erin, and their one-eyed German Shepherd, Willie!
Founder | NC Fit & 8 Time CrossFit Games Athlete
Jason Khalipa is a champion in the fitness world; competing in 8 different CrossFit Games, finishing consistently in the Top 10, holding all the podium positions, undefeated in every Regional competition he has competed in and won the Spirit of the Games in 2009.
The attitude and AMRAP Mentality that made Jason a champion in CrossFit, he extends beyond the gym. Jason works hard everyday to be a champion in other areas of life such as fatherhood, as fitness entrepreneur and as an advocate of spreading awareness for pediatric cancer.
In 2008, Jason opened CrossFit Santa Clara a month after winning the CrossFIt Games. Using his passion for fitness, Jason expanded his business footprint and is pioneering widespread corporate fitness. He has redefined fitness in the hospitality sector and has helped to change the way people, CEOs, and athletes think about fitness.
Founder | Incite Tax
John Briggs is the founder of Incite Tax. “Incite” means “to cause to action” and they help box owners take action with their tax strategy and accounting so the box owner can grow their wealth. Incite Tax has the largest concentration of affiliate owners as clients than any other accounting business.
John and his team have a deep passion for sticking it to the IRS on a daily basis. They teach “aggressive” tax strategies, that they can defend in audits if needed, to help the box owner save thousands of tax dollars each year. No one likes bullies and the IRS is the biggest bully out there.
Incite Tax has also been a huge catalyst in introducing Profit First to the affiliate community. As Certified Mastery Level Profit First Professionals, Incite Tax has taught this cash flow management system to more than a hundred box owners and has introduced the concept to many industry leaders that now encourage the Profit First methodology.
John is snarky and sarcastic and he is teaching these two great traits to his 4 children. He lives in Utah and he loves the great Indoors. His best sales pitch was convincing his wife Cara to marry him and then subsequently suffer through being pregnant four times.
Co-Founder | EmberTribe
Josh Sturgeon is the co-founder of EmberTribe, one of the fastest growing digital agencies in United States, managing millions in ad spend across Facebook and Google.
Josh began his career as head of innovation at a leading agency in Boston. His work served organizations such as Unilever and Staples, along with a host of venture funded startups.
Josh’s work has been cited by a wide range of industry-leading publications, such as Entrepreneur, Wired, GrowthHackers and The Next Web. He has advised startups on growth from TechStars, Y Combinator and Harvard Business School.
In his free time, he enjoys surfing and stand-up paddle year round – even during the cold winter months in New England. Residing in the greater Boston area, he is happily married to Erica and they have two beautiful children – Haven and David.
4-time CrossFit Games Athlete, Pursing Health Podcast, TRAIN Program
Julie is a four-time CrossFit Games athlete, CrossFit Level 1 staff member, and current resident physician at the Cleveland Clinic. She’s consistently placed in the top 5 at the CrossFit Games including two podium finishes in 2012 (2nd place) and 2014 (3rd place).
An Achilles tendon rupture ended her final competitive season at the 2015 Central Regional, and she has now turned her focus to completing her medical training and using her knowledge of both CrossFit and medicine to empower individuals to access their full potential. She hosts a biweekly podcast called Pursuing Health, and runs the TRAIN program which provides online training for busy individuals who want to make the most out of their hour in the gym.
Founder | GSD Entrepreneur, A Salty Rim, 321Go's Leadership Team
Julie’s diverse background includes being a cake designer, coaching basketball, traveling to 13 different developing countries to do volunteer work on a year long trip, working in the not-for-profit world for 10 years, starting two businesses, working as a People & Change consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, taking a product to market (and “failing”, only to get back up and do it a second time), and working as a business coach/consultant to small businesses. In her consulting experience, she has had the opportunity to work with large companies such as CocaCola, ADT, Travelers Insurance, Duke Energy, and Lance, as well as small Mom & Pop type family-run organizations. Her take-away was that it’s always about the people no matter if the company is large or small.
Julie has found home in beautiful Charleston, SC. She gets super fired up when helping individuals and small businesses take their success to the next level, and when she gets to hear people’s stories. In her free time, she can be found in the boat or on the beach, dreaming up another business idea with her partner, Stacey, interviewing someone for her podcast GSD Entrepreneur, or taste testing a new craft cocktail.
Founder | CrossFit Memorial Hill, 321Go's Leadership Team, Tonos Radio
Matt owns and operates CrossFit Memorial Hill in Kansas City, Missouri.
Prior to opening his affiliate in 2012 Matt worked in healthcare management, developing one of the first public/private long-term healthcare initiatives in state history. It was through this experience coupled with his wife, Maggie’s, extensive athletic training background that pushed them to open their gym.
As a business coach, Matt thrives in helping other gym owners reach their potential. He loves hearing gym owners tell their story & helping them share that story with others. “I love our community. I love being around other like-minded gym owners working together to bake a bigger pie.”
In his free time you can find Matt playing music, mountain biking, or cheering on his Kansas City Royals.
Co-Founder & President | Mobius Media Solutions
Patch Baker has been an entrepreneur since his early 20’s. He has built and sold 5 companies with a talent for expanding and diversifying client sourcing and revenue streams throughout his career. His true passion has always been in the “build” and the “chase” of the next major milestone of growth.
Patch was first introduced to the world of “CrossFit” by way of the US Marine Corps in the mid ’90s, you know, back when the Marines just called it “hazing”. When CrossFit was born as a commercial “box” for affiliates, the pull was more of a norm than a new concept of exercise. In 2008, Patch bought a failing Karate studio and transformed it into a successful MMA gym with nearly 500 members in less than 12 months. Most of his original growth was through grassroots and gorilla marketing techniques with a huge emphasis on word of mouth and community events. It was then, Patch realized the strategy works, but there had to be a better way to reach beyond the people he already knew.
FastForward to 2015. Patch Co-Founded a Digital Marketing Company with the expressed purpose of helping other businesses grow. And as always, there was a bit of a twist. Teaming up with Matt Johnson, Ryan Holbrook, and Chris Houghton, they introduced high quality video in ways which allowed regular small businesses to afford the media necessity. The filming and video production agencies have always been focused on the “Household Name Brands” of giant companies with seemingly endless marketing budgets, and because of that, the Mobius crew knew there had to be a way to break down the cost barrier for the small to medium sized business owner.
Mobius Media Solutions was formed with the expressed purpose of growing businesses which enhance lives. The Mobius Team now works with gyms around the world on lead generation through video marketing, re-marketing and implementation. Their automated systems allow for enhanced market reach, forecasted growth modeling and sustainable higher conversion rates.
Founder | Warmup & Workout
Pat’s CrossFit journey began at 18 in high school when he was introduced to the program by Tony Budding and Nicole Carrol. Later he got hired to work for CrossFit.com filming and editing video. He would soon make his way from behind the camera to in front of it, as he coached and trained in many of the early CrossFit.com videos. After competing in 6 CrossFit games as both an individual and team member he has found another passion which is helping coaches become better. His philosophy is good coaches = good gyms = more people training = better world. Currently he owns and runs Warmup & Workout with his unbelievably talented wife, Tamaryn Barber. At Warmup & Workout they provide programming, lesson plans and coaching tools to gyms around the world.
He is also a husband and father who loves surfing. Magic to him equals The Gathering, potato chips and hanging with his boy in his Batman fort.
Founder | CrossFit Tigard | Registered Dietitian
PJ is the founder of CrossFit Tigard in Tigard Oregon. He is also a Registered Dietitian who has held a Board Certification as a Specialist in Sports Nutrition and formerly served as Nutrition Programs Manager at Ramstein Airbase and Chief of Clinical Dietetics at Eglin AFB Regional Hospital while an Officer in the Air Force.
Just like a smart stock portfolio, PJ believes that your should diversify your business. Your income should come from various profit centers. And your pro shop should offer a diversity of products. PJ has used pre-orders and reinvestment of profits to slowly expand his retail operations into a notable revenue stream that provides both convenience and better outcomes for his members. He believes that his investor mindset coupled with a thorough understanding of the safety, effectiveness, and indications for use of the various supplements and tools on the market has been vital to CrossFit Tigard’s retail success.
VP of Operations | Duct Tape Marketing
Duct Tape Marketing is known as the world’s most practical small business experts for consistently delivering real-world, proven small business marketing ideas and strategies.
Just as any handyman will tell you that a roll of Duct Tape is the single most useful tool in their toolbox – one they would never be without – that is exactly how Duct Tape Marketing approaches working with clients. Marketing must be simple, affordable, always-at-the-ready, and effective at solving any of a host of problems.
Sara has been a key member of the Duct Tape Marketing team since 2010 and oversees the day-to-day operations to support the growth within the company. She loves going to work every single day because of her strong passion to help business owners reach their goals.
Sara currently lives in Denver, Colorado and trains at CrossFit Omnia. In her free time, you can find Sara enjoying anything that has to do with the outdoors – hiking, skiing, camping, or climbing.
Founder | Urban MVMNT, WTF GymTalk
Stuart Brauer is a 15-year student of the fitness industry and was fortunate to find CrossFit in 2006. Since then he’s dedicated his life to building a fitness business simply based on the pursuit of excellence.
From humble beginnings running park workouts & making three figures to owning a million dollar gym (Urban MVMNT), he’s now ventured into business coaching for gym owners looking to chase their dream. In addition, he’s is an author for Box Pro Magazine and is currently collaborating with innovative companies like Fitbot and Gymbuildr to help gym owners maximize efficiency in their business. You can find his content on Facebook and Instagram @wtfgymtalk.
Founder | Affiliate Guard
Vaughn Vernon is the owner of Affiliate Guard (and he also works the phones.) Staying connected to customers is his signature, and knowing affiliate owners by name is his definition of success. Vaughn is all about same-day service and customizing every policy in the Affiliate Guard portfolio. He has been in the insurance business for nearly two decades and offers complete coverage for affiliates including his newest offering: Affiliate Share, a healthcare sharing program for members of the CrossFit community.
Vaughn uses CrossFit training to power his passions including dirt biking, jiu-jitsu and rugby. Like many others, he doesn’t miss deadlift day and cherry picks dubs.
Vaughn was born and raised in Utah where he lives with (just one) wife Jessica and their adorable supervisors Jon, 11 and Mia, 8. Vaughn never turns down meat, ever.
Founder | Max Effort Fitness
In addition to being Owner, Director of Culture, and Head Coach of Max Effort Fitness Zach Forrest is a former Navy SEAL, three-time CrossFit Games Individual Competitor, and currently serves as a Head Trainer for CrossFit HQ’s Seminar Staff. He has also been involved in opening four separate CrossFit Affiliates in Las Vegas.
Zach loves being a part of his members’ journey toward more self-awareness and confidence as a result of training. “On a daily basis, I get to witness my members overcome and break through preconceived limitations…both physical and emotional,” he says. “It keeps me motivated to make sure they have the best experience possible while at Max Effort.”
Zach’s passion lies in developing his Affiliates into places where his passionate trainers can earn a professional wage and make a career out of coaching.
Founder, CEO | Barbell for Boobs
Zionna Hanson, or “Z” as she is more commonly known, is the Founder and CEO of Barbells for Boobs®.
In 2009, Z’s world changed. After opening her own CrossFit gym, she received the news that her best friend Cecy was diagnosed with breast cancer at 26 years old. Although she had insurance and a referral from her physician, Cecy was initially denied screening services and advised by medical professionals to simply come back when she turned 40. Not satisfied with this answer, Cecy insisted on being screened and was diagnosed with stage 0 DCIS breast cancer. The shock of her diagnosis at this young age and frustration towards the dismissive medical community fueled Z’s fire to take action. Not knowing how else to help, she did what she does best. She lifted a barbell in her honor. 30 times. Joined by 60 loyal friends and supporters of her passion in a small parking lot, she raised $4,000 and Barbells for Boobs was born.
Aside from being a mom, wife, and competitive weightlifter; in just 7 short years Z has grown Barbells for Boobs into a multi-million dollar organization that drives social change. She tells her story to as many people as possible, connecting with athletes and supporters by visiting gyms and sending personal handwritten thank you notes with her “Z” signature to make sure people know it’s directly from her. “Staying small while we grow is so important. I’ll never be too busy that I wouldn’t have time to throw down in a workout with the people that have done the same for Barbells for Boobs.”
No need to travel, book a hotel, or take time off.
This Business Summit, Sept. 27-29, is completely online with some of the brightest minds in our fitness industry.