Known for his contribution in his hometown area, PF Management franchisee Dave Leon was recently honored for his involvement with his third Hall of Fame award. Trustco Bank recognized Leon as one of five Hall of Fame winners as part of its Home Town Heroes 2018 selections.
Honoring individuals who demonstrate strong community involvement and work hard to make a positive change in the community, the organization said Leon’s commitment to the Rotterdam, New York, area is visible in a number of ways. “He has built businesses that have created numerous jobs throughout the Capital Region and beyond. He has organized relief efforts for victims of natural disasters by bringing his business community together. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the City Mission of Schenectady,” read a plaque presented to Leon.
Leon, who resides in the area, built and owns the retail center in Rotterdam that houses a Trustco Bank and PF Management’s headquarters, supporting the company’s clubs in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and the country of Panama, but his recent award is not Leon’s first Hall of Fame recognition. His first was in athletics for Schenectady High School, with his second – and most cherished – being his Planet Fitness Hall of Fame selection.
“It’s very humbling when you stand side by side with the best of the best. For example, Coach Pat Riley is in the Schenectady Hall of Fame, and a soldier, who paid the ultimate price for this country while saving others in battle, is in the Trustco Hall of Fame,” Leon said. “It feels especially good knowing the award is because you helped others and not for what you did for yourself.”
Giving back is something Leon learned firsthand and continues to focus on both personally and professionally. “I grew up in a very poor neighborhood, and my mom bought us secondhand clothes at the City Mission down the street,” he said. “I now serve as a trustee and board member with that Mission, which provides more than 1,500 meals per week to the less fortunate; weekend backpacks with food for children, homeless shelters and independent living centers; and job training for those who are struggling to re-enter as productive members of the community.”
Since opening his first gym in 1988 to his PF clubs, Leon has built a total of 11 in the Capital Region, and between his construction and development teams and retail operations, he has created more than 200 jobs in the area. That does not account for the employment opportunities created by his Planet Fitness locations elsewhere in the United States and in Panama, or his plans to open 18 additional clubs in Panama and Costa Rica and 14 more in the states within the next few years.
For Leon, there’s no greater purpose than helping those in need, including within the PF family, and the Trustco Hall of Fame highlighted those efforts. “This year, a young man had his college tuition paid for because, a few years back, we, as a PF family and local region, helped him when he lost his entire family in a terrible tragedy as a 15-year-old boy,” Leon said. “Three years later, he continues to work at a Planet Fitness and has a solid foundation for the future!”
Whether it’s PF’s efforts with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America or a local initiative, Leon encourages his fellow franchisees to find ways to be involved and engaged, positive leaders in the community. “At the Mission where I serve, we have a saying – as most of those who come to us come at the very weakest moments in their life – “Let your Mess be our Mission and your Mission be your Mess.”