Facilities now have a new management solution. St. Louis-based Counsilman-Hunsaker has announced the launch of its operations services, including day-to-day operations and programming.
“We felt like we did some things very early with the life of a pool and all the way up to getting it open, but we had no services going past that,” said Kevin Post, principal of Counsilman-Hunsaker. For years, the firm, best known for aquatic-center design, considered branching into operations because clients often ask about management during the design process.
For this endeavor, Counsilman-Hunsaker partnered with The Sports Facilities Advisory | The Sports Facilities Management, a firm that plans, funds, opens and manages or advises on such operations for indoor and outdoor recreation facilities. SFA|SFM manages the dry areas of the facilities, and Counsilman-Hunsaker manages the pool.
For most contracts, Counsilman-Hunsaker provides a top-level manager from its firm or SFA|SFM. “We’re trying to improve safety and sustainability, and what we found is the general manager or the key leadership people really drive a lot of the success of that facility ...” Post said.
After the top manager, operations services look different as needed. For one client, Counsilman-Hunsaker is only hiring lifeguards and managing payroll. For another, the Counsilman-Hunsaker general manager will help the community transition the role to a city employee.
The firm currently has four full-time management contracts and 30 additional facilities with agreements to provide some level of operations. “Our initial push was only to reach out to existing clients, usually from the design side,” Post said. “[In many cases] we knew that they needed help and they had already reached out to us, so we went ahead and approached them.”