OLC Celebrates its 60th Anniversary!

By Stuart Ohlson and Hervey Lavoie, founders of OLC

On June 15, 1961, mere years after growing up and playing on a dirt road called Colorado Boulevard, Stuart Ohlson hung up his shingle and started Stuart Ohlson and Associates. Working from an office he designed just across the street from East High School, he and his staff were soon busy with a series of residential and commercial commissions.

“All of a sudden, you’re in business, whether you know it or not!,” says Stuart Ohlson, reminiscing about those early days.

Today, that firm has grown and has become what is now called OLC | Ohlson Lavoie Corporation. Celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year, OLC is an architecture, interiors and aquatics four-office firm based in Denver with offices in Orlando, Cairo, and Tokyo. OLC now specializes in recreation, health & wellness, hospitality and aquatic projects. Over the course of those 60 years, OLC has helped change the skyline of Denver, influenced how we exercise, and has changed the lives of its employees, business associates, clients and those who live, work and play in its buildings.

In 1974, Hervey Lavoie joined Stuart, eventually becoming a co-owner in the firm renamed Ohlson Lavoie Corporation. Hervey, a recent architectural school graduate was now in his element. “I saw my new parish church being built as a 15-year-old and thought I could do that and enjoy doing that,” recalls Hervey as to why he became an architect.

A Focus on Recreation 

Early on, Stuart and Hervey managed a small group of staff whose focus was on designing buildings to suit their client’s needs. Commissions came through developing existing relationships, such as those made at Stuart’s standing tennis matches at 3 p.m. on Thursdays. Amazingly, despite the oil crisis of the 70s and early 80s that hit Denver hard, this small firm was designing big, high-rise projects. These included Park Place and Country Club towers near Speer Blvd, several residential towers off of Cheesman Park, and a half-dozen high-rises for the Writer Family at the intersection of I-25 & Colorado Blvd, five of which are still standing. OLC was a small firm with big project credibility. One of those late tennis sessions led to OLC designing its first, standalone, multi-purpose health club, now known as the Colorado Athletic Club–Inverness.

Out of the success and the relationships established with that project, OLC dove right into the fitness and recreation industry. With Hervey leading the charge, the firm has since become a specialist and expert in the fitness and recreation field. He and others have authored articles on specialized design for organizations such as IHRSA, NIRSA, the Medical Fitness Association and parks and recreation departments. OLC staff attend and regularly speak as design specialists at industry conventions and seminars.

A big change came out of that industry focus—travel. Prior to 1984, OLC had never had a design assignment of any kind outside the state of Colorado. Fortuitously, during this time, work out of state helped OLC bridge the periodic economic slowdowns that plagued Denver through the 70s and 80s, (The AIA slogan for 1975 was “stay alive in seventy-five!”). It seemed that there was always a hot development zone in some part of the country…and where the economy was hot, clubs were being built: Dallas in the early 80s; Washington, DC in the mid-80s; Atlanta in the late 80s. In 1988 OLC began traveling to and working in Japan, which became a major source of work during some lean times in the U.S. OLC’s specialized design focus thus meant a steady source of business, but also travel and lots of it.

Adapting to New Technologies

Another big change in those 60 years has been the technology employed by architects. Although every architect was expected to know the basics of hand drafting up through the early 80s, techniques and methods for architects changed drastically and seemingly overnight.

“I remember getting our first handheld calculator in 1974. Our first in-house copy machine came soon after. Then came a fax machine, a multi-line phone, a voice message system, Kroy machine, and Letraset” says Hervey of some the early technology changes. “By the mid to late 80’s, however, it became clear that the fundamental systems our profession needed to use required a different mind-frame and we needed to keep pace. We embraced a succession of technology firsts and broke new ground with overlay drafting, Master Spec, Con-doc, and eventually embraced the inevitable–CAD.”

Soon after came the juggernaut change of faster chipsets, the internet, email, and cloud systems. Today we use graphic and BIM software such as Revit, Enscape, Bluebeam, Sketchup, AutoCAD, and others to communicate, design, document and present. Often a laptop is all the design tools we use; the drafting tables, straight-edges, and rolls of prints of old just a nostalgic memory.

Notable Projects

From its locally focused projects and small staff in the 80s, OLC eventually grew its services and reach by adding offices in Orlando, Tokyo, and Cairo to service local clients. Recognizing that the unique and specific needs of our clients required specialized services we also added an aquatic design department and an interior design department along the way.

In the last few years OLC has designed a variety of health & wellness, hospitality, recreation, and aquatic facilities. Notable projects include:

  • Estes Valley Community Center, Estes Park, Colorado
  • Multiple Buildings for the Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  • Additions and renovations at the Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pennsylvania
  • A new Tennis & Pickleball Center Clubhouse for Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
  • The new Lake Nona Performance Club in Orlando, Florida
  • Lobby and room renovations at Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Denver
  • A wellness center for Hancock Regional Medical Center in Greenfield, Indiana
  • A Deepak Chopra wellness project
  • Several hospitality projects for a prominent theme park developer in Florida

To this day our firm is centered around our client’s needs and particularly focused on projects that keep our communities healthy—from full-service wellness centers to your neighborhood swimming pool. Our principals and staff have been privileged to work on many interesting and life-changing projects over these 60 years. For that we thank our clients, our consultants, industry experts, the contractors who built our designs and the many folks we have gotten to know along the way.

Reflecting on our past we can certainly say, as the ad goes, “We’ve learned a thing or two.”  But it also sharpens our focus on what matters in a world of continual change: relationships, stewardship, good design, and being open-minded.

Stuart Ohlson and Hervey Lavoie, FMFA are the original founders of the 60-year-old architecture firm, Ohlson Lavoie Corporation, or OLC, as it’s known today.

Click here to learn more about OLC. Note: Hervey Lavoie serves on the MFA Board of Directors.

Medical Fitness Association Welcomes Evolt as an Industry Partner

The Medical Fitness Association is pleased to welcome Evolt as an Industry Partner.

Evolt is a digital body composition analytic company. Using BIA technology, it’s the only product on the market that offers personalised calorie & macronutrient recommendations based on an individual’s true lean body-mass. This innovative technology provides a digital health tracking platform for the user as an intuitive data analytics platform.

Evolt is at the forefront of technology in the body composition space, providing the latest cloud-based Body Composition technology, to help individuals achieve their physical health and well-being goals.

This powerful high tech ecosystem gives you the insights to make data driven decisions to help your business achieve higher retention rates, increased referrals, customer engagement & additional revenue streams.
Better health is about making lifestyle adjustments and changes to daily habits.

Click here to read more on how you can ensure your customers are informed, educated and accountable about their health.

Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2021 from ACSM

2020 will go down in the books as the most memorable. ACSM has published their 15th annual survey of fitness trends for 2021. You will see that online training rose to the no. 1 trend for 2021. Check out the entire report.

Click here to read and/or download the report.

From this report, the reader should understand the following concepts:

  • Use the worldwide fitness trends in the commercial, corporate, clinical (including medical fitness), and community health fitness industry to further promote physical activity
  • Study expert opinions about identified fitness trends for 2021
  • Explain the differences between a fad and a trend

HealthWell Solutions Offers Comprehensive COVID Solutions

Introducing Gym Health Check the most comprehensive, customizable, and clinical resources to support member health and safety.

Gym Health Check can be private labeled to support current CDC Guidelines and integrates temperature readings, contact tracing, and testing results to provide immediate notification to members and real- time reporting to your facility. We support total member health and wellbeing with Nurse Triage and Telehealth services that can be offered as part of your membership benefits.

MFA Members: Try out the Gym Health Check system with a 60-day complimentary trial.

To learn more, please contact info@healthwellcorp.com.
Visit us at www.gymhealthcheck.com or www.healthwellcorp.com.

HealthWell Solutions is a population health management company that provides evidence-based solutions for the fitness industry as well as employers, benefit consultants, and healthcare organizations. We provide customized programs and technology solutions such as wellness portals, benefits apps and landing pages as well as onsite and remote health screenings, health coaching and emotional health programs.

For more info, contact HealthWell Solutions today!
Mark Mulray, MBA, M.Ed.
COO
888-935-4434, Ext. 701
info@healthwellcorp.com

HealthWell Solutions supports the Medical Fitness Association as an Industry Partner.

Nebraska Methodist College Offers Grad Degree in Wellness & Health Promotion Mgmt

Nebraska Methodist College offers an MS in Wellness & Health Promotion Management WITH a concentration in Medical Fitness Management. Want to learn more? Check out their Virtual Information Session on Wed, Oct 21 at Noon CT

Click here for more information.

MFA Statement on COVID-19

As the new coronavirus spreads throughout the US, it is disrupting many medical association meetings and conferences. After much thought and discussion, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the MFA Regional Conferences in Elkhart, IN (April 15-17) and Jackson, TN (May 20-22) and we will not be planning a Northeast Regional Conference for June. With many of our MFA member facilities facing travel bans and increased pressure on their time as this health crisis is changing so rapidly, we felt it would be irresponsible to hold an event at this time for our members and sponsors. If you had registered for either Conference, we are currently processing full refunds this week. If you paid via credit card, we will refund the card. If you paid via check, we will issue you a refund check.

We will hold our online Regional Conference on Thursday, March 26, with four webinars that day. Everyone is welcome! We are also reaching out to our Regional Conference speakers to see if they would be interested in sharing their knowledge in a future MFA webinar. We currently have two more webinars scheduled for March 18 and 25. Stay tuned to our website and email for a webinar update. As your Medical Fitness Association, we are doing everything we can to offer you multiple opportunities for your continuing education!

At this time, our Annual Conference, to be held in Baltimore, MD on Nov 3-5, is still on. We will continue to diligently monitor this situation through the CDC. If anything changes, we will let you know immediately. In light of this unknown, we are pleased to offer a 100% risk-free cancellation policy for our 2020 Annual Conference. If the Annual Conference needs to be cancelled, you will receive a 100% refund of your registration fee. We will endeavor to make that decision by October 2nd. At this point, we have a robust agenda and look forward to some great networking!

While member facilities have increased their outreach to their own members, we encourage you to work with your facility’s or hospital’s marketing/public relations department. This is an opportunity to support your local community by reassuring them on how you are handling the coronavirus and to support your members who are putting their memberships on hold by providing them with ideas for exercising at home. It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness in your community as a medical fitness thought leader. Here are a couple examples:

Article on a fitness facility in CT: CLICK HERE

ACE’s article on “Top 25 At-Home Exercises”: CLICK HERE

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in our COVID-19 Response Survey. There is still time to participate in the survey. We will be sending out the preliminary results today. The full report will be sent out by this Friday, 3/20. One of the many benefits of being a Medical Fitness Association member is that you have the opportunity to learn what other medical fitness facilities are doing without handling the legwork yourself!

Brain Health Matters Podcast – Enhancing Brain Capacity

Check out the latest podcast from MFA Strategic Partner, the Academy for Brain Health and Performance.

This month’s podcast features Dr. Evian Gordon, as he shares a framework of how the brain works as a system, as well as a practical step in making your brain’s capacity more effective, no matter your age.

Dr. Evian Gordon is an integrative neuroscientist and medical doctor as well as the Founder, Executive Chairman and Chief Medical Officer of Total Brain. 

Beacon Health

Fully Integrated: Beacon Health and Fitness

Check out the February 2020 edition of Club Solutions Magazine for the cover article about MFA member Beacon Health & Fitness. According to the article, “Medical fitness is profoundly changing the relationship between fitness and healthcare.” Read about how Alan Loyd, FACHE, FMFA, has transformed Beacon Health System’s fitness facilities from a loss leader to a profitable, self-sustaining operation.

Note: Alan Loyd was the 2019 recipient of the Hank Boerner Pioneer Award…now you can see why!

CLICK HERE to read the article.

 

Brain Health Matters Podcast – Sleep Matters

Check out the latest podcast from the Academy for Brain Health and Performance. This month’s podcast features Dr. Elizabeth Frates sharing an overview of the field of lifestyle medicine and how key factors, like nutrition and physical activity, can have an impact on brain health.

Elizabeth Frates, MD is a trained physiatrist, health and wellness coach, and Director of Medical Student Education at the Institute for Lifestyle Medicine.

What You Gain with Medical Fitness Credentials

One of the newest programs developed by Nebraska Methodist College (NMC) is a Master of Science in Wellness and Health Promotion Management (WHPM) with a concentration in Medical Fitness Management. This is the first course of its kind in the country. The curriculum was built with input from practitioners in the field, including the Medical Fitness Association (MFA). NMC is one of the four initial charter student chapters of the MFA.

Check out this blog, on the Nebraska Methodist College website, by MFA President & CEO, Bob Boone!