Industry Athletics

Industry Athletics
Images courtesy of Industry Athletics

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Industry Athletics’ two locations, CrossFit Federal Hill and CrossFit Harbor East, are owned by Geo Rockwell. He Affiliated in 2012.

Business Breakdown

  • 400 members between both locations 
  • 10,000 square feet at CrossFit Federal Hill and 8,000 square feet at CrossFit Harbor East
  • Average cost of membership is $175
  • 18 staff members – two full time and 16 part time 

Rockwell shares more about his Box below:

Box Pro: Describe your business. What makes your Box unique/stand out from the rest? 

GR: Industry Athletics is my passion and full time job. CrossFit Federal Hill and CrossFit Harbor East are the official Affiliate names, but to bring our community together we operate under Industry Athletics. I opened Federal Hill in 2012 and took over the Harbor East location in 2017. Running two locations has challenges, but the gyms are only two miles apart which gives our members flexibility as they can float back and fourth between both locations. 

We stand out from other Affiliates by the size of our space, knowledge of our Coaches and structure of class. We have two facilities that are both over 8,000 square feet, meaning plenty of room for activities. We have Coaches on staff who have competed in olympic lifting meets and others who compete in CrossFit. We constantly work to improve our craft as Coaches so we can have a bigger impact on our athletes. Every class has a structured warm up that Coaches deliver to the athletes. The structure is full of personality, fun, community building, and most importantly, knowledge and guidance in providing athletes with the best hour of their day. 

Box Pro: How did you get involved in CrossFit? What were your greatest challenges in opening your Box? 

GR: I got involved with CrossFit in 2009 in San Diego. I was a personal trainer and physical education teacher who was looking for something new.  I had a co-worker that raved about the Level 1 seminar. I signed up the next weekend and was hooked. A few months later, I opened my first Affiliate in San Diego. Ten years later, I have opened three other gyms and bought one.  

Starting each gym had one major challenge, the real estate. It is hard to secure the right building in a good location that will allow fitness and is affordable to rent. Once the building is secure, getting started is the fun part. Buying equipment and building the buzz is exciting and very rewarding.  The hard work starts a few years in when you have to keep athletes satisfied, deal with turn over, replace equipment, re-new leases, and most importantly, keep your staff engaged and performing at the tip of the sphere. 

Box Pro: How would you describe yourself as an Affiliate? What makes you as a person unique?

GR: As an Affiliate, our best classes are big, full of energy and barbells.  Throwing weights around with 20 other adults with the music up and the sweat rolling is an amazing feeling. Life changing things are happening on the Affiliate level every single day.  From weight loss to gaining confidence, being part of that change is an incredible feeling.  

As a person I am big on learning. I read and listen to every podcast and book that I have time for. I have also taken a cold shower every day since January 2018. I intend to keep my streak going. It is not about the health benefits, but all about the mental fortitude to do something hard every single day. 

Box Pro: Who or what do you contribute your success to? 

GR: My wife is a huge reason for my success. I enjoy talking things out, going over situations and working to push things forward every day. It has been amazing to have someone who believes in the vision, but also tells me when I need to step it up. 

The other factor is a combination of luck and hard work. The success of every Affiliate is built on hard work – from listening to feedback to coaching classes to working early mornings and late evenings. It is a rewarding job that is never on auto pilot. It is an ecosystem that must be maintained, nurtured and cared for as it grows and evolves. 

Then there is luck. I found CrossFit in San Diego when it was in its infancy.  We grew with “The Sport of Fitness,” the underground movement that CrossFit was back in 2008. When I moved back home to Baltimore, it was the right time to secure our current location which has been amazing for our community. 

Box Pro: What is one lesson you have learned that other Affiliates would find beneficial? 

GR: Evaluate and follow up with your staff. The more I watch class, give feedback and take class, the better the staff becomes. In turn, the better athletes become. The beauty of the CrossFit model is the autonomy each Affiliate owner gets. That comes with the responsibility to put people in place that will represent your brand and your gym with their best foot forward. Feedback can be hard to give and receive, but if it is part of the coaching processes, your gym will become exponentially better. 

Box Pro: What is one program you do exceptionally well? Why?

We are a CrossFit gym and I love that methodology. But, I want Industry Athletics to be a place where athletes can grow. We run a capacity class, an Olympic Lifting class and have run various strength courses. Our goal will be to do CrossFit really well, but when we acquire a Coach with a specialty and a passion, I will let that Coach run with their program. To have someone on staff who is passionate about running or lifting can give athletes a deeper dive in certain disciplines.   

If able, please list the companies that you work closest with in the following areas:

  • Equipment: I get most of our equipment from Rogue. Super dependable.
  • Software: Zen Planner.
  • Profit centers: FITAID, Fuel for Fire and Perfect Bar.
  • Website resources: Google 

Heather Hartmann
Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.

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